Common Names please?

Mike Soukup mikayak at
Sun Oct 4 21:25:34 EDT 1998

Hi y'all,

	Just got back from vacation and thought I'd put in my 2¢ worth.  I
don't know when this thread started or what was said in it.  But, too
Here's the story.  I'm a nobody.  A computer programmer who, at a very
young age, took a liking to all things in nature.  Growing up, I learned
the names of every plant, shrub, bug, lizard, snake, get the
picture.  I came across the "name problem" a LONG time ago....while
fishing in WV.  In rural WV, I found there were only 2 fish...Trout and
Panfish.  The only problem was, what they called trout were REALLY
Smallmouth bass.  And, what they called "panfish" was "any fish that you
cook in the pan".  I realized, at that tender age, that the ONLY real
name is the latin name.  LEarning any other name, while usefull and
"good", was really learning a nickname.  Take me for example.  My NAme
is Michael Eugene Soukup...a goofy name for a goofy guy.  Now, I also
have nicknakes of "Souky", "Mike Kayak", and, of course, the ever
present "dorkhead".  There are people who know me as only "Mike
Kayak"....but that is NOT my name.  In the same way, Nymphalis antiopa
is known in some circles as Camberwell's beauty, in others as "The
Mourning Cloak".  BUT, it's NAME is always Nymphalis antiopa.  Now, as
with the people who call me "Mike Kayak", you can choose to hold onto
the nickname....and never know the real ones, or you choose to inform
yourself on the proper names.  Expecting everyone to use common names is
the equivalent of asking me to put all of my nicknames on all of my folks who don't know my real name will know who I
am.  Well, no offense intended but...too bad.  It ain't gonna happen!

I know it can be "difficult" to learn the proper names.  And,
pronouncing them is a mystery to almost everyone (even many of the
experts on this list!).  But, it gets worse.  I bought my first copy of
WJ Holland's "The Moth Book" around 1970 and literally memorized page
after page.  This was my bible.  In my 20' my interest in leps was
put on hold for about 10 years as I began my "adult life".  When I
returned to leps around 1990, imagine my surprise to find that MANY OF
THE NAMES HAD CHANGED!!!  No more Telea was now
Antheraea.  Basilona Eacles.  And, I think ALL of the
Sphingiids changed.  So, I started re-learning them.  I'm still catching
up and I still occasionally pull out some "old" name.  But, I have found
that, even an outdated latin name is much more useful than a "nickname". 
I think the biggest problem is that it is  called a "common name"....a
misnomer.  Things such as "Painted Lady" should, more rightly, be called
"nicknames".  At least the connotation of that word implies that it is
NOT the correct name.

Hope I didn't P.O. anybody too much.  And, although it is mostly drivel,
I hope there is SOMETHING new in here.......
Mike Soukup
mikayak at
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