• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
Feel the intensity, not your equipment. Maximum image quality. Minimum weight. The new ZEISS SFL, up to 30% less weight than comparable competitors.

Re. the dedicatee in Clarkona MATHEWS 1917 (1 Viewer)

Björn Bergenholtz

(former alias "Calalp")
Here's some (contradictory) info regarding ...

• the (today invalid*) Parrot generic (alt. 'subgeneric') name Clarkona MATHEWS 1917 (here, in text):
In order to draw attention to this matter I propose to introduce the new subgeneric name CLARKONA for Psephotus varius Clark.

Regarding this name I think (fear) we've once again been led astray by Beolens et al. and their Eponym Dictionary of Birds (2014), who claimed it was aimed at:
Matthew Symonds Clark (1839-1920) was an aviculturist and ornithologist who ...

An explanation also told (echoed?) in today's Key to Scientific names:
(Psittacidae; syn. Psephotellus Ϯ Mulga Parrot P. varius) Matthew Symonds Clark (1839-1920) English aviculturalist, ornithologist, emigrated to Australia in 1850, founder member of SAOA; L. suffix -ona relating to; "PSEPHOTUS Gould ... In this genus I also include Psephotus varius Clark, but there are some slight differences as follows: the bill is more projecting with the tip sharper: the wing has a similar formula, but the differences in length are noticeable, thus the second, third and fourth are almost equal, while the first is very little longer than the fifth. The tail is proportionately longer, well exceeding the length of the wing. The style of coloration is different and I suggest that osteological examination will cause the generic separation of these two species. In order to draw attention to this matter I propose to introduce the new subgeneric name CLARKONA for Psephotus varius Clark." (Mathews 1917); "Clarkona Mathews, Birds Austr. vol. vi. p. 391, Sept. 11th, 1917. Type (by monotypy): Psephotus varius Clark." (Mathews, 1927, Syst. Av. Austral., I, p. 344).

But ... "Psephotus varius" was coined (in 1910) by "AUSTIN H. CLARK" !?!

See The Auk, Vol 27 [XXVII], p.80 (here, alt. here).

Thus, to me, it looks like Mathews's Clarkona was intended to commemorate Austin Hobart Clark (1880–1954), i.e. this guy (in Wikipedia).

He's also mentioned on p.357–358 in the same vol. of The Auk (of 1910, here), as: "Austin Hobart Clark, Assistant Curator, Division of Marine Invertebrates, U. S. National Museum" (in footnote).

As well as, in: Gregory M. Mathews. 1925. Birds of Australia – Bibliography of the Birds of Australia / Book used in the preparation of this Work with a few Bibliographical details of Authors and Collectors. H. F. & G. Witherby. London. [Supplement 5], where we find the following entry for him:

... though (re. what's told in the latter piece by Mathews), I have no idea (what-so-ever) on neither when, nor where (not even if) Mr Mathews ever published a Generic (or subgeneric) "Clarkia" (on/for any Birds) ... !?! Searching for it simply drowns in a flood of Clarkia Flowers (and seeds) [i.e. by Pursh].

Either way, see Whittell (1954), here, and Schodde (1977) here.

[And, also note that the name Clarkia isn't included in today's Key. If it does exist (if not just a typo/error, alt. a subsequent spelling, by Mathews, of course) I'd say it ought to be aimed at the same Austin Hobart Clark ... ;)].

Stay safe!


PS. If of any use (?), the Richmond Card for the Generic name Psephotus (here):
Type: Psephotus varius Clark.
(original designation and monotypy)

*today in Psephotus alt. Psephotellus (in Psittacidae)
Last edited:

James Jobling

Well-known member
Thanks, Björn. Your findings re Clarkona are correct; I didn't check the identity of the describer of Psephotus varius, which reveals all. I am treating Clarkia as a Mathews moment! The Key is amended.

Users who are viewing this thread