Standardized Butterfly Names

Anne Kilmer viceroy at
Fri Mar 27 20:27:13 EST 1998

Kenelm Philip wrote:

>         Wanda Dameron has created an interesting situation with regard to
> any older lepidopterists who prefer to use scientific names--they are
> apparently, as soon as they open their mouths on the subject, members
> of a private little club of snobs. Was such an _ad hominem_ approach
> really needed?

  major snippage

Some time ago, we of the Leps list kicked this around, and agreed that the
polite thing to do was to use scientific names. The common name is an
agreeable additional courtesy. Common names vary, from place to place, as Ken
points out.
I keep my bug book next to my desk, and look up the Latin for first reference.
Doesn't hurt a bit. But I do appreciate the inclusion of the common name, so
that I don't have to go to that trouble when reading. In English, or with an
English translation.
As for squabbles over whose book of American names is definitive, neither
tries to be. NABA suggest that we all get together and call our bugs the same
thing. The other book  tries to tell us what each butterfly is commonly
called, in various places. Two useful functions; no conflict.
Anyone leaping, new-fledged, into a new study is going to find the mass of
information daunting, and resent the necessity for learning a new vocabulary.
Leps-L provides gentle help to the neophyte. No conflict.

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