Proposal (279) to South American Classification Committee


Change spelling of Phylloscartes paulistus to Phylloscartes paulista


Phylloscartes paulista Ihering & Ihering 1907 (As aves do Brazil. Cat‡log. da Fauna Braz., Vol.1., p. 272)


Hellmayr (1927, Catalogue of birds of the Americas) changed Phylloscartes paulista to Phylloscartes paulistus, and the latter spelling has been used ever since by most if not all subsequent authors. However, Straube, F.C. & Pacheco, J.F. (2002. Phylloscartes paulista: uma grafia correta para Phylloscartes paulistus. Ararajuba 10(1): 83-84) showed that the name paulista is a Portuguese word (a noun as well as an adjective) and concluded that it is invariable. They are absolutely right. It is clear that paulista - whether a noun or an adjective in Portuguese - has to be treated as indeclinable under art. 31.2.3 (ICZN 1999), and that there is no need to invoke art. 31.2.2. (noun or adjective) to justify invariability.


There are many other cases analogous to paulista Ihering & Ihering 1907. One is Ornismyia lumachella Lesson, 1838. When Gould 1849 established Augastes, he used the combinations Augastes scutatus and Augastes "lumachellus", which was used until HBW 5 advocated A. lumachella (see also my BBOC paper 122: 40). Another is Myrmornis arada Hermann, 1783, now Cyphorhinus arada, but which was "often wrongly made to agree in gender" (Jobling, 1991; see also BBOC 122: 40)


When Hellmayr (1927) changed Phylloscartes paulista to Phylloscartes "paulistus", he introduced a "subsequent spelling" (art. 33.1). His action, changing the gender ending of paulista to agree in gender with the generic name, that Hellmayr thought was required because Phylloscartes is masculine, has to be viewed as a change of ending contrary to 31.2.3 and 34.2.1. Under 33.1, "paulistus" is not an emendation or an incorrect subsequent spelling, and "prevailing usage" (, 33.3.1) cannot be invoked to maintain it. I still consider that seeking to preserve Phylloscartes "paulistus" would create a very undesirable precedent. Anyone advocating that Phylloscartes "paulistus" should be maintained must also advocate "Augastes lumachellus", and the preservation of many if not all of the incorrect gender endings that were addressed in David & Gosselin's BBOC papers.


I thereby propose that Phylloscartes paulista Ihering & Ihering 1907 must be spelled Phylloscartes paulista.


Normand David, May 2007


Additional comments from Edward C. Dickinson: "I agree with the conclusions that Normand reaches in both cases and it is essential, I think, that his submission on paulista include the suffixed note about paulistus. I fear there are too many of us around who think that an invariable name must have just the one fixed spelling! By means of this suffix Normand makes the point that if first used as paulista it must remain paulista and if first used as paulistus it must remain so."




Comments from Stiles: "YES.  I will go with the experts here, having neither the expertise nor the experience to advocate otherwise!"


Comments from Robbins: "YES, a well-supported change."


Comments from Nores: "YES, pero con la aclaraci—n de que paulistus no significa necesariamente adaptar la palabra al masculino, sino tambiŽn puede ser latinizarla, o sea que tambiŽn es v‡lida. Como esta especie fue descripta por Ihering y Ihering como Phylloscartes paulista, deber’a mantener dicho nombre, pero Hemitriccus nidipendulus paulistus, que as’ fue originalmente descripto por Hellmayr, deber’a mantener esta denominaci—n. Un caso similar es el de varias plantas y animales que el nombre proviene de Buenos Aires, raz—n por la cual se los ha denominado bonariense, independientemente de que sean masculinos o femeninos. Ejemplos: Solanum bonariense, Synanchum bonariense, Verbena bonariense. No obstante, existe la posibilidad de latinizar el nombre y as’ tenemos Molothrus bonariensis, Thraupis bonariensis, Acacia bonariensis, etc. En ambos casos, la denominaci—n es correcta. Otro caso es el nombre versicolor, que significa de varios colores y que se usa de la misma manera en el masculino o femenino. Ejemplos: Anas versicolor, Pachyramphus versicolor. No obstante, puede usarse versicolorus o versicolurus. Ejemplos: Brotogeris versicolurus, Zelatractodes versicolorus (Diptera)."


Comments from Jaramillo: "YES - I must admit lacking a solid enough background here to deeply understand the concepts, but I am clever enough to agree with those that know more about this than I do!"


Comments from Pacheco: "YES. Como coautor da nota original reitero o meu voto sim."