Patti Ensor pensor at
Mon Mar 30 13:09:07 EST 1998

When I first became interested in Lepidoptera, learning the local
common/vernacular names was a big job. Once I learned those, I found out
that different books used different common names and that to be accurate I
needed to learn the scientific names. When I mastered many of those I
realized that I could correspond with people but that I felt uncomfortable
discussing specific Lepidoptera because I didn't know how to pronounce them.
Since then I have searched for pronounciation guides and haven't found any.
That's why when Anne Kilmer wrote (28 March), "What's worse, (people)
pronounce the stuff differently..." . No one else seems to have commented on

I, for one, would be delighted to find and purchase a book that included a
pronunciation guide of the scientific names of Lepidoptera. 

Plants with Greek-based names are pronounced differently than those with
Latin-based names, at least according to my high school teacher. Then many
of us in the US tend to Americanize the pronounciation, especially where to
break the syllables. I have yet to hear 2 entomologists using exactly the
same pronounciation unless they communicate together with each other often.

The explanation I have received for these differences is that even the
scientific community doesn't always use the same pronounciation.

Is there a definitive pronounciation guide for the scientific names
anywhere? I'm sure I am not the only one who would like to know.

Patti Ensor
eastern Washington (the state!)
ensor at

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