The Black-necked Grebe


I OWE thanks to the Writer of the Note on the black-necked grebe for correcting my error in naming Linnæus instead of Latham as responsible for the generic title of the grebes (NATURE, Feb. 7, p. 201); but when he goes on to say that the “name is a label and need have no meaning in itself”, I must ask how a label can be justified that conveys a false meaning, as Podiceps does. Are misprints in scientific nomenclature to be reckoned indelible? That has not been the opinion of such ornithologists as Seebohm, A. H. Evans in the "Cambridge Natural History”, and Prof. Alfred Newton, who all write Podicipes. In his “Dictionary of Birds”, Newton notes about Podicipedidæ—“often, but erroneously, written Podicipidæ. The word Podiceps, as commonly spelt, being a contracted form of the original Podicipes (cf. Gloger, Journal für Ornithologie, 1854, p. 430, note), a combination of podex, podicis, and pes, pedis, its further compounds must be in accordance with its derivation”.

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MAXWELL, H. The Black-necked Grebe. Nature 127, 274 (1931).

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