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Caixana (1 Viewer)


laurent raty
Thanks James. I will stay with my opinion, I think, though.

There are literally hundreds of adjectives and participles that are made to agree in gender with generic names in this volume and, if I discard caixana and jumana, I see no evidence anywhere that Spix had any tendency to be inconsistent in gender agreement. All the adjectives and participles that qualify the genus Aratinga (or species that are part of this genus) are given a masculine ending. I think this is an extremely strong indication that he understood the name as a noun in apposition, and that we are erring when trying to turn caixana into anything followed by the Latin adjectival suffix -ana.
Also, to me, the fact that no other 'caixana' was ever introduced for a bird would make it really extraordinary that the two that occur in this single volume have completely distinct meanings.
(Not to mention that, to accept Hellmayr's suggestion, I would also have to accept that the name was formed from a word that has a stem that differs in spelling from that of the claimed adjective. I am not against this type of interpretation per se, but I think this would require some kind of supportive evidence. I see none here.)

PS - I've attached a copy of Spix's Aratinga descriptions, in which I have highlighted in blue the adjectives/participles that agree in gender with the generic name, and are gender-indicative. One or two (but not much more) may admittedly be a bit disputable: when he cites, by an adjectival species-group name only, a species that he places in Aratinga, but that was described by someone else in Psittacus, it's not always possible to tell if the adjective is intended to qualify Aratinga or Psittacus. I counted 29: 27 in the nominative and definitely masculine, 2 in the ablative and that could arguably also be neuter, but not feminine. (In feminine genera, all the adjectives/participles that are used in equivalent positions are feminine--check Aquila, for example.)


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James Jobling

Well-known member
Laurent, I agree entirely with your reasoning. For von Spix to use the name twice in the same publication, but with different meanings, would be odd indeed. The only fly in the ointment is the disjunct ranges of these two birds; the cuckoo within the territories of the Caixana people, the parrot far removed. Perhaps von Spix used the name to embrace Amazonia (i.e. tropical Brazil)? However, in the absence of an original explanation, and to highlight the different ranges of the birds, in the Key I have (perhaps only temporarily) adopted Björn's later suggestion (#18) for the parrot.


laurent raty
Perhaps von Spix used the name to embrace Amazonia (i.e. tropical Brazil)? However, in the absence of an original explanation, [...]
I certainly agree that, in the absence of explanation, it's very hard to be sure what Spix actually had in mind.

Another potential issue, in this context, may be that, according to Hellmayr, the bird was clearly a cage bird, with clipped wings and tail and a partly albinistic (Hellmayr 1906) / xanthochroistic (Hellmayr 1929) plumage.
This muddles the question of the geographical origin of the specimen, because it may not be safe to assume that a pet bird would necessarily have been obtained in an area where the species occurs in the wild. Additionally, if Spix received the bird from locals, it is also reasonably likely that he would have asked about its origin, and God only knows the answer he would have received.
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Björn Bergenholtz

... earlier a k a "Calalp"
James and Laurent, note that I know nothing of the true origin of caixana (on neither one of them), more than what´s been written in this thread (nor do I understand anything of Latin grammar) I only found and suggested a possible alternative interpretation for the parrot, as I happened to find a place that would, could fit in. I´ve seen no proof where von Spix actually visited or even mentioned the Rio da Caixa. Maybe he did ... maybe he didn´t.

This one is all up to you.

In my mind, like Laurent suggests, the caged parrot could as well been obtained elsewhere, far from its natural habitat.


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