Proposal (691x) to South American Classification Committee


Change spelling of Pteroglossus beauharnaesii to Pteroglossus beauharnaisii (2)


New information


David et. al (2020) has demonstrated that beauharnaesii Wagler, 1832 is NOT in prevailing usage because it fails to meet the second requirement of art. 33.3.1: beauharnaesii was never attributed to the original 1831 publication in Das Ausland, even by Bock & Schodde (2016), who advocated beauharnaesii 1832 [sic].


Moreover, beauharnaisii, the original spelling, has been used as the correct name after 1899, contra Bock & Schodde (2016). However, the reversal of precedence rule (article 23.9) is not applicable here as Bock & Schodde (2016) stated unambiguously that beauharnaesii is ''an incorrect subsequent spelling'' (in Abstract).


In addition, the recently uploaded IOC 10.2 list uses beauharnaisii and stated:


Pteroglossus beauharnaisii Wagler, 1831 is regarded as the original spelling and Pteroglossus beauharnaesii Wagler, 1832 is treated as an ISS (Wright 2015; David et al. 2020; Schodde pers. comm.), contra Bock & Schodde (2016).


Note the underlined phrase.


We thus reaffirm the conclusion of Wright (2015): the correct spelling and citation for this taxon must be Pteroglossus beauharnaisii Wagler, 1831.


Literature Cited:

Bock WJ, Schodde R (2016) The valid name of the Curl-crested Aracari (Pteroglossus beauharnaesii). The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 128 (3): 678–680.

David, N., R. Wright, A. Elliott, T. V. V. Costa. 2020. Reasserting the valid name of the Curl-crested Aracari (Aves, Ramphastidae): Pteroglossus beauharnaisii Wagler, 1831

Wright, R. 2015. The correct name of the Curl-crested Aracari (Pteroglossus beauharnaisii) and the date of Its publication. Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 127:547-549


Normand David (and co-authors), 24 July 2020



Note from Remsen: With their permissions, I am here posting an email exchange between Normand and Santiago that may be useful:




Claramunt: “After reading the papers I’m still undecided regarding the case for beauharnaisii.


“First, it is not completely true that "beauharnaesii”  was never attributed to the original 1831 publication in Das Ausland” as the proposal and the papers assert, since Wagler itself in the 1832 description of beauharnaesii indicated: “I had already given a brief account of it in the entertainment periodical "Das Ausland”...” ( 


“Then it becomes a matter of how to apply “the second requirement” of article 33.3.1. My interpretation was that we should simply use P. beauharnaesii Wagler 1831 from now on, and that would do it. But I sense that an alternative interpretation could be that authors that used P. beauharnaesii Wagler 1832 would not count towards “prevailing usage.”


“Any thoughts on this?”


David: “In answer to Santiago:


“1: Wagler (1832) did not attribute the spelling beauharnaesii to Das Ausland 1831. He mentioned Das Ausland 1830 [sic], which contains no article by Wagler in no. 118. He stated that he had already given a brief description of the bird there, not the spelling.


“2. There is no ambiguity of the second condition of 33.3.1. The spelling must be currently (in its hypothetical or claimed PU) attributed to the OD (= Wagler, 1831). This is not the case.


“It is clear that ‘beauharnaesii Wagler, 1831’ was not used even once (and anyway, even a few uses would not remotely meet the requirement). An incidental advantage is that the original spelling beauharnaisii reflects the correct spelling of the surname of the honoured person.


Claramunt: “Thanks Normand! I see the point, now. 


“Although the second condition of 33.3.1 remains a bit mysterious to me. What would be the function of that second requirement?


David: “A short answer is: To maintain use of a subsequent spelling that is in PU and that differs from the original spelling, provided that the subsequent spelling is attributed to the author and date of the original spelling.


“I illustrate this with a fictitious example:


Smith (2001) established the the combination Xus davidi  with no etymology

Jones (2002) used Xus davidianus Jones, 2001 with no explanation

Down to 2020, All subsequent authors used davidianus Jones, 2001

The spelling davidianus is thus attributed to the publication of the original spelling (Jones, 2001). As a result, the subsequent spelling and attribution are to be preserved and davidianus Jones, 2001, is deemed to be a correct original spelling (art. 33.3.1).


Claramunt: “I do understand what the rule says. What is not explicit is the reason for that clause. This first clause, prevailing usage, has a clear function: preserving stability. The reason for that second requirement is not clear to me, aside from a general requirement of citing the original publication (and not the publication that introduced the ISS) after the name. If this is the reason, then just switching to Pteroglossus beauharnaesii Wagler, 1831 would solve the problem.”


David: “I think a short addition to my message [above] is needed. In order to likely give an even shorter answer to Santiago’s question (What would be the function of that second requirement?)


“An even shorter answer is:  The second requirement is included so as to limit considerably abuse of PU.


“Stability has exceptions, and this case is one of them.”




Comments from Piacentini: “YES.  I fully endorse Normand’s view on this. In fact, I must confess that I’ve never understood the reply by Bock and Schodde (2016,) as Wright (2015) had explicitly explained the reasons why PU could never be advocated.”


Comments from Paul Smith: “YES. I can’t find any reason to disagree with Normand’s conclusion.”


Comments from Pacheco: “YES. I fully agree with Wright's arguments and, of course, with the more recent endorsement of David and colleagues about the case.”


Comments from Claramunt: “YES. The arguments are persuasive; the second requirement of Art. 33.3.1 is seems fulfilled in this case.”


Comments from Areta: “YES. All this fuzz for a single letter change! As we have discussed at length before, prevailing usage can be tricky to use, and from my perspective, it should be used in just a handful of exceptional situations (,,,


"33.3.1. when an incorrect subsequent spelling is in prevailing usage and is attributed to the publication of the original spelling, the subsequent spelling and attribution are to be preserved and the spelling is deemed to be a correct original spelling."


“Because Wagler described Pteroglossus beauharnaisii in 1831 and used Pteroglossus beauharnaesii in 1832, it seems quite inconsequential that other people using beauharnaesii referred to the name of 1832: it is clear anyway that both refer to one and the same bird species. When one has to use the code to justify this kind of things, it looks like taking advantage of a small accident to justify a decision. If half of the globe used Pteroglossus beauharnaisii and the other half Pteroglossus beauharnaesi, nothing would change much. This is the kind of innocuous taxonomic decision that does not really alter the communication role of the names, and in which going either way might be considered justified, depending on how much "blindly legal" arguments one is willing to employ. As I prefer to use original spellings whenever possible, I am voting yes (this is code compliant AND [although devoid of legal backup] is how the surname should be written).”


Comments from Luís Fábio Silveira: “YES. After reading again all the original literature and the relevant section of ICZN I am convinced by the use of beauharnaisii instead of beauharnaesii. The additional explanations from Normand David were useful and, although stability is a fundamental principle, as he said "Stability has exceptions, and this case is one of them".






Proposal (691) to South American Classification Committee


NOTE: Bock & Schodde (2016; Wilson J. Ornithology) takes a different view, so let’s put this proposal on hold until that paper is incorporated into the proposal).



Change spelling of Pteroglossus beauharnaesii to Pteroglossus beauharnaisii



Effect on South American CL: This proposal would change the spelling of scientific name of the Curl-crested Aracari from Pteroglossus beauharnaesii to Pteroglossus beauharnaisii.


Background: The misspelled beauharnaesii as species name of Curl-crested Aracari is perpetuated in all of the important world and regional checklists and relevant monographs.


Pteroglossus beauharnaesii was described by Johann Georg Wagler in honor to Prince August Karl Eugen Napoleon Beauharnais (1810-1835), duke of Leuchtenberg. Prince Beauharnais was brother of Amélie August E. N. Beauharnais, princess of Leuchtenberg and empress of Brazil as wife of Dom Pedro I, founder of the Brazilian Empire.  In November 1829, Prince August escorted his sister Amélie to Brazil for her marriage to Dom Pedro I and, with a noticeable interest in natural sciences and ethnology, Prince August returned in 1830 to Eichstädt, Germany, with many Brazilian bird skins and ethnographic works, including a specimen of Curl-crested Aracari, which would be formally described by Wagler in the subsequent years (Stresemann 1948, Pacheco 2003).


Wright (2015) presented evidence that the Curl-crested Aracari was described by Wagler (1831), thus one year earlier than indicated in the sources (Wagler, 1832) and that in the earlier description, he twice spelled the bird’s species epithet “Beauharnaisii” (in agreement with the exact spelling of the Prince´s family). The currently accepted “beauharnaesii” is thus an incorrect subsequent spelling (see ICZN 1999).


Literature Cited:


ICZN. 1999. International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. Fourth Edition. London: The International Trust for Zoological Nomenclature.

Pacheco, J. F. 2003 A viuvez de Dom Pedro I e a descoberta do Araçari-mulato, Pteroglossus beauharnaesii. Atualidades Ornitológicas, 112, 3-4.

Stresemann, E. 1948. Der Naturforscher Friedrich Sellow (1831) und sein Beitrag zur Kenntnis Brasiliens. Zoologische Jahrbücher, 87, 401-425.

Wagler, J. 1831. Einiges über die von Sr. Durchlaucht dem Hrn. Herzoge August von Leuchtenberg aus Brasilien zurückgebrachte, in Eichstädt aufgestellte  Naturaliensammlung (Schluß). Ausland 4:458–459; 4:469–471

Wagler, J. 1832. Mittheilungen über einige merkwürdige Thiere von Wagler. Isis, 1832, Heft 3, 275-282.

Wright, R. 2015. The correct name of the Curl-crested Aracari (Pteroglossus beauharnaisii) and the date of Its publication. Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 127:547-549


J F Pacheco, November 2015