Journal article Open Access

Historical and Current Misuse of Gender Agreement in the Names of South African Lizard Species

Raw, Lynn R G

Some South African lizard species have been given the incorrect adjectival endings to their species names when transferring species from genera of one gender to that of another gender over the past 120 years. Three instances are discussed: the first uses an incorrect subsequent spelling of the species name (anguineus instead of anguinus) declined in the correct gender; the second (mirus) is currently used in the correct form while the third (caffer) is currently still using the original masculine gender although now combined with a generic name of another gender. Examples of the use of the adjectives afer, afra, afrum and caffer, caffra, caffrum in both botany and zoology are provided. It concludes that the correct spellings of these names should be amended to agree in gender with that of whatever genus they are currently assigned.

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