Names . . .

Chris Durden drdn at
Thu Jun 10 15:49:33 EDT 1999

>Date: Wed, 09 Jun 1999 16:52:57 -0500
>To: gochfeld at EOHSI.RUTGERS.EDU
>From: Chris Durden <drdn at>
>Subject: Re: Names . . .
>In-Reply-To: <Chameleon.928946073.gochfeld at>
>References: <1236E0D3F7D at> 
>At 12:25 PM 1999:06:09 -0500, you wrote:
>> I can agree with James Adams' point that "Learning scientific names can
be fun, but doesn't automatically put you above your common-name using 
>>public, and knowing common names doesn't make you any less scientific."  
>>And scientific names may or may not reflect something descriptive about
the butterfly. Paul Opler provided a very useful etymology section in his
big book. And Harry Zirlin has a series of articles on the meaning of
butterfly names in AMERICAN BUTTERFLIES. In birds I'm used to descriptive
names----atricapillus meaning black capped or Egretta alba meaning white
egret, or even an occasional rufinucha, although why our American Crow is
named brachyrhynchos I guess is in comparison to the larger-billed Raven
(note that is not Large-billed Raven). . 
>>I would guess that fewer butterfly scientific names are descriptive than
bird names. 
>>Just another bird-aside.  Gene Eisenmann was also aggressive about
rooting out patronymics.  Thus no Henry's Elfin for him, Callophrys henrici
(or Incisalia henrici if you prefer) would need a new name. In NJ we might
have named it the Holly Elfin (except that many populations elsewhere don't
feed on Holly), 
>>M. Gochfeld
>  I seem to recall from the original description that *Incisalia henrici*
was named after the collector, a certain Mr. Henric (not Henry). I think he
was a member of the Brooklyn Entomological Club of that day. If my
recollection is correct, this shows how careless has been the process of
coining vernacular/vulgar/common/English names.
>............Chris Durden

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