Standardized Butterfly Names

Bart Vanholder bvholder at
Sat Mar 28 20:29:18 EST 1998

At 11:40 28/03/98 -0800, Wanda Dameron wrote:
>> whatever it's worth, in something written by either Pyle or Opler, it
>> was noted that a Monarch has always been a Monarch, but has had over 70
>> scientific names.......

So let's synonimize all what's within the whole genus Danaus !...would be
much easier as they are all Monarchs...No one will care anymore if here or
there should disappear a member with a weard scientific name (e.g. by
destruction of their habitat). There are Monarchs enough in the world !

Think about that by the use of scientific names you have at least an idea
about the species that are close related to each other by monophyletic
characters. You can have an idea about what a chinese is talking about when
calling it Danaus, you know what to expect and how the relation is within
taxonomy. This is more difficult (and leading to many wrong ideas) with
vernacular names...
Common names are good if you are not interested in the Linnaeus division of
the animals or if you simply stay in your own garden. What if everybody
starts his own business in 'common names '? I was used to give the
butterflies I noticed  a self chosen name when I was a child (and had no
access to butterfly books). Later I learned that when talking about
Lepidoptera to other persons in the same country you had to follow some
names. Well If you like to talk to people from a different country certain
names are usefull. 

>	Strongly agree that would love to see  a representative group of the
>world lepodopterists set up standard scientific names and rather imagine
>they will in time. 

Well, this systematic scientific nomenclature EXISTS and is accepted by the
whole scientific community ! Apparently this has not yet been come through
if you use only common names. Allthough you feel the urge for such uniform
names. This standard scientific names is simply what taxonomist are doing
while giving Latin names according to the priority rules. Use it it has
been made for this purpose.
I'm afraid common names would mess up the whole taxonomy (and maybe you
should first consider chinese names as there are most chinese people in the

Bart Vanholder
Belgian Migrant Lepidoptera Survey
Droeskouter 33
B-9450 Haaltert
e-mail: bvholder at 
homepage Migrant Leps
homepage Sesiidae

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