To: chatline <>
Subject: malurus
From: John Harris <>
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2018 04:31:44 +0000

The problem with deciphering taxonomic names is that if they are abbreviated, you have to know the intent of the original person who coined the name. Malurus is a perfect example. It would certainly appear at first sight to be derived from malus – bad etc and ourus – tail. Hence Geoffrey’s clever ‘bad tail’ cartoons.  But if Mr Vieilot was abbreviating malacus – delicate, supple, pliant etc, then malurus becomes  flexible tail or delicate tail. Do we actually KNOW Vieilot’s intention? The learned will no doubt inform me.  If we do not, there is a wider field pf possibilities again. Apple tail?  



From: "" <>
Date: Friday, 12 October 2018 at 1:50 pm
To: Geoffrey Dabb <>
Cc: chatline <>
Subject: Re: FW: FW: [canberrabirds] See me after the talk 2


Tsk tsk tsk.  I unfortunately missed the talk at the last meeting which I am sure explained that later taxonomic information overrides the old stuff (in some taxa this can happen several times in the blinking of a grant application).  Thus Jobling from the dark mists of 1991 gets jobbed indeed, and is over-ridden by Fraser and Gray (F and G) from 2013. 


If one wished to pay greater respect to age - with which I like, you am, in a position to appreciate -  Mr Jobling is bracketed as F and G note that the original designation was by M. Vieilot in 1816 and meant soft, delicate.





On Fri, 12 Oct 2018 at 13:03, Geoffrey Dabb <> wrote:

Ha, well, yes, good to see some life out there.  Malurus if you prefer.  But we know whom Maurice Blackburn will not be calling as witnesses for the plaintiffs on this occasion: M Butterfield, Jeannie Gray and Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot.  The claimants point to HANZAB (2001) following Jobling (1991): ‘malos’ meaning ‘soft, WEAK’.     


From: Martin Butterfield <>
Sent: Friday, 12 October 2018 10:40 AM
To: Geoffrey Dabb <>
Subject: Re: FW: [canberrabirds] See me after the talk 2


Unless the forces of evil have snuck something past me, nice try no cigar. Its Malurus which Fraser and Gray define as "delicate tail" 

( I had to do delete the image to reply within the size constraint). 


On Fri, 12 Oct 2018 at 10:13, Geoffrey Dabb <> wrote:


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