Musculium securis* (Prime, 1852) Pond Fingernailclam

Musculium securis (Prime, 1852) Pond Fingernailclam

Musculium securis (Prime, 1852) Pond Fingernailclam

Dredged from small drainage ditch adjacent to the U. S. Post Office at 11700 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida by Patrick Baker (University of Florida/IFAS) on 1/10/2007. The largest specimen illustrated measures 8.5 mm.

*All of several authorities consulted render this "securis" vs. "secure." Temple Prime's original description is not in my reach, but I suspect he named his Fingernailclam Cyclas securis. Cyclas Lamarck 1798 is considered a junior synonym of Sphaerium Scopoli, 1777. The generic epithet employed by Lamarck is a feminine noun in Latin (derived from the Greek "Kyklas," diminutive of "Kyklos," the latter a masculine noun), and was thus treated by Lamarck, Say (e.g., 1929: Cyclas transversa) and others. When Musculium Link, 1807 resurfaced, the adjectival species-level epithets of taxa assigned to it had to conform to its neuter gender. Until I looked the word "securis" up, I thought I had a grammatical "gotcha" for the "authorities" as I presumed securis was a third declension adjective (neuter: secure) and "they" forgot to change its gender when the species moved from Cyclas to Musculium. Now that I've "read the directions" (in a Latin dictionary), I know that "securis" is not an adjective but a noun (Eng.: "hatchet"), and an apt cognomen for the illustrated shells. Thus it seems almost certain that Mr. Prime applied the epithet "securis" as an noun-in-apposition, which grammatical status exempts it from gender-agreement with its genus name. The Latin adjective securus -a, -um (Eng.: "free from care") is clearly a different word with different spellings and not at all likely Prime's target. [Harry G. Lee]