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Amazilia tobaci

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Old Tuesday 3rd January 2012, 01:30   #1
Susan Manchester
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Amazilia tobaci

I can't find anything to indicate whether the specific epithet in this scientific name is honoring a person, or if it is for its location in Tobago. Does anyone know where I could find something on this?
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Old Tuesday 3rd January 2012, 03:32   #2
Paul Clapham
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I went to www.zoonomen.net to find the original citation (Gmelin 1788), in a document named "Syst.Nat 1 pt1" on page 498.

Then the Wikipedia page about Gmelin (Johann Friedrich) had a link to the Internet Archive, which has copies of Gmelin's work. The document in question was the third one, "Systema naturae per regna tria naturae... Volume 1 pt 1". You can read a scanned version of the actual document in the browser. (It's in Latin, as they usually were back then.)

And on page 498 it refers to "Tobaci" and gives its English name as "Tobago Humming-bird" and goes on to say that its habitat is the island of Tobago.

That doesn't definitively answer your question, but I would say that "Tobaci" is a latinized version of "Tobago". And scanning through Gmelin's document it doesn't appear to me that he was in the habit of naming species after other people; I had to go back about 16 pages before I found an example of that.
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Old Tuesday 3rd January 2012, 08:01   #3
Richard Klim
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Also, Jobling 2010 (Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names):
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tobaci Tobago. ● Type locality Tobago; ► "Tobago Humming Bird" of Latham (1782) (Saucerottia).
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Old Wednesday 4th January 2012, 04:40   #4
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I've always said that a good way to learn about a topic is to answer questions in a forum about that topic. And so it seems to be in this forum too.
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Old Monday 9th January 2012, 00:14   #5
Susan Manchester
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Thank you so much, Paul and Richard, for your thoughtful replies to my inquiry! I had come to the same conclusion, Paul, but I really appreciated the backup documentation. I will save that to my favorites for future use.
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