Names don't have to mean a thing!

John Acorn janature at
Tue Jun 15 09:06:46 EDT 1999

Fellow Lepidopterophiles,

I too thought Anne Kilmers image of "Linnaeus and a few of his buddies
sitting round a table, in comfy chairs, a good mug of ale in hand" was a
major literary contribution to this list.  I also think it helped put the
naming thing back in a human perspective.

I wanted to add something that I think has been missed in this discussion. 
Names, scientific or not, do not have to mean a thing, etymologically.  They
are simply words that correspond to species.  The Code even allows for
random combinations of letters, and anagrams.  I personally think this is
very wise-- it keeps the focus on the biological situation rather than the
construction of words.  It would be nice if names could also encapsulate
some distinctive description of the animal in question, but their main
function is still to refer to species, and in order to acheive that they can
take any number of forms, including patronyms or gibberish.  My personal
preference with scientific names is that they be short and euphonic.  Funny
ones are a bonus, but I guess it's tough to get those past the reviewers.

John Acorn

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