Latin and neo-Latin adjectives or participle adjectives used as specific or subspecific epithets:
See the following files:
A specific epithet or a subspecific epithet may be a Latin or a neo-Latin adjective that must agree in gender which the genus names (Rules 12c and 13b).
Latin adjectives belong to the first, second or third declension.
- Adjectives of the first and second declension have different endings in the three genders (i.e. -us or -er, -a, -um).
- Adjectives of the third declension classified as follows: (i) adjectives with three endings in the nominative singular, one for each gender; (ii) adjectives with two endings, masculine and feminine being the same; and (iii) adjectives with one ending, the same for all three genders.
- Participles are treated as if they are adjectives. Perfect participles change their endings with gender and are handled like adjectives of the first and second declension, but infinitive (present) participles do not change with gender.
- For more information, see Allen and Greenough's New Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges (eds. J. B. Greenough, G. L. Kittredge, A. A. Howard, Benj. L. D'Ooge) in Perseus Digital Library.
If an epithet is an adjective or a participle is treated as an adjective, it is necessary to know its declension and it often necessary to change the ending in order to propose the correct name of a new combination (i.e. a species or subspecies transferred to another genus).
Wade et al. 1999, for example, proposed to transfer Eubacterium lentum to the new genus Eggerthella. The genus Eubacterium is neuter and the genus Eggerthella is feminine. The epithet lentum is an adjective of the first and second declension. Consequently, it was necessary to change the ending of the epithet and Wade et al. 1999 proposed the proper new combination Eggerthella lenta.
The goal of this file is to provide the correct endings (in the masculine, feminine or neuter gender) of adjectival epithets which have been used in prokaryotic nomenclature. Please, note that the genders of generic names are provided in the file Genders of generic names.
Stems are also provided. Stems of adjectives are important to propose modern compounds. In modern compounds, only the word stems are to be used except for the last word element.
If, for example, an author wants to propose an epithet meaning the "beautiful thread" then it can use the Latin adjective pulcher -chra -chrum (beautiful), and the Latin noun filum (thread). An author can suggest pulchrifilum (nominative in apposition): pulchr- (stem of the Latin adjective pulcher) + -i- (connecting vowel) + filum (second compound).
1) Some adjectives are solecisms or barbarisms!
(i) the neo-Latin adjective aesta (in the new combination Deleya aesta) in place of the Latin genitive noun aestus (as in the basonym Alcaligenes aestus);
(ii) the epithet lipocalidus (in Syntrophothermus lipocalidus, fatty-acid-specific, i.e. specifically utilizing fatty acids) in place of lipocallidus (in Latin, calidus means "warm, hot");
(iii) the epithet litoralum (in Prosthecomicrobium litoralum) in place of litorale;
(iv) the epithet recurrentis (in Borrelia recurrentis) in place of recurrens;
The solecisms and barbarisms are listed in the files "List A-C", "List "D-L", "List M-R", and "List S-Z". This means that these files cannot be considered as lists of correctly formed adjectives or neo-Latin adjectives.
2) Some etymologies are very strange and it is not always easy to know if the authors propose a noun or an adjective!
(i) the epithet actinosclerus in Hymenobacter actinosclerus whose the etymology is provided as "Gr. n. actis, actinos ray, beam; Gr. adj. scleros hard; M.L. masc. n. actinoscleros hard against rays, pertaining to the organism's radiation resistance";
(ii) the epithet anisa whose the etymology is provided as "M.L. gen. n. anisa from Gr. adj. anisos unequal";
(iii) the epithet ichthiosmia whose the etymology is provided as "Gr. n. ichthis fish, Gr. n. osme odor M.L. ichthiosmia fishy smelling";
(iv) the epithet succinus whose the eytmology is provided as "L. gen. n. succinum of amber";
The epithets actinosclerus, anisa, ichthiosmia and succinus are listed below because (i) according to the etymology, actinosclerus is obviously an adjective; (ii) anisa cannot be a Latin genitive; (iii) the ending "-ia" in ichthiosmia suggests an adjective; and (iv) the Latin adjective succinus (of amber) exists.
3) The feminine adjectival epithet sukuome (Promicromonospora sukumoe) was proposed by Takahashi et al. 1987. The etymology provided by the authors is the following: M. L. ferm. (sic) adj. sukuome Sukumo City, Kochi Prefecture in Japan, where the soil sample was collected from which strain SK-2049 was isolated.
According to rules of Latin and latinization, sukuome cannot be a neo-Latin feminine adjective (the correct epithet should be sukumonensis), and it is impossible to suggest a correct masculine or neuter gender. Consequently, the epithet sukumoe is not cited below.
4) The authors cannot guarantee that all adjectival epithets used in prokaryotic nomenclature are listed below.
5) It is very difficult to avoid unintentional errors and the authors would greatly appreciate factual information concerning any errors or corrections for this list.
See the following files: