NABA Checklist

Chris Durden drdn at
Fri Jun 18 10:31:09 EDT 1999

  Thanks for a clear posting about how the NABA Checklist was prepared.
This was news to me and pobably a lot of other non-NBA folk. It clears the
air a bit. Maybe wih a little more input fom non-Naba people we can
generate a list of vernacular names that is more acceptable to all.
..........Chris Durden

At 05:33 AM 1999:06:18 -0400, you wrote:
>I tend to agree with Mike Quinn regarding the NABA Checklist as a 
>standard for North American butterflies.  I don't agree with every 
>choice, but most are satisfactory (or at least inoffensive).  (I need to 
>make a disclaimer. I am a former NABA chapter president and also a 
>former systematist (avian). 
>It might help if people realized that the NABA Checklist Committee was: 
>Brian Cassie, Jeffrey Glassberg, Paul Opler, Robert Robbins, and Guy 
>Tudor. Paul was (I believe) president of the Lep Soc at the time he 
>served on the committee. Rob Robbins is the Lep curator at the 
>Smithsonian.  I know from personal conversations that the others are 
>well-versed in the scientific names of the butterflies and are 
>professionals in popularizing natural history. 
>The NABA Checklist outlines in some details the methodology used to 
>arrive at the names, and for many taxa there is a whole paragraph on 
>why one name was chosen over others. Their negotiated approach is 
>similar to the approach used by the American Birding Association AND the 
>American Ornithologists' Union to standardize bird names. 
>The checklist was a reasonable sequel to Miller's fascinating compendium 
>of the Common Names of Butterflies (up to 10 for some species) gleaned 
>from an extensive review of publications. 
>We opted to use the NABA names in our book on Butteflies of New Jersey, 
>although we balked at the SOUTHERN HAIRSTREAK a consequence of lumping 
>Satyrium ontario (formerly called the Northern Hairstreak) which DOES 
>occur in NJ with S. favonius (Southern Hairstreak) which does NOT occur 
>here.  (By the way these are probably better known as Fixsenia spp). 
>Although the scientific name favonius had precedence, the precedence 
>criterion does not apply to vernacular names. S.ontario has a much more 
>extensive range so more people were familiar with the Northern than the 
>Southern (hence more people inconvenienced by the name change).  I found 
>it particularly difficult to accept the name Southern Hairstreak after 
>rejecting records of favonius from NJ.  However, I confess to being 
>unable to find a more suitable vernacular name.  Since favonius is named 
>after "western spring wind" I wonder if Spring Wind Hairstreak might be 
>more appropriate (or maybe Breezy Hairstreak??). 
>	We compromised and listed it as "Southern or Northern 
>Hairstreak".  Compromises usually leave no one happy. 
>	We also grudglingly acceeded to standardization by adopting 
>Juniper Hairstreak for Callophrys (formerly Mitroura) gryneus when the 
>various western relatives (Callophrys siva) were lumped with it. If 
>gryneus remains the species name, why not retain Olive as the vernacular 
>name (as was done with the Southern/Northern). It was explained to me 
>that although "Olive" is widely used in the East,  Siva and Juniper are 
>widely used for different populations of C. siva. In this case, all of 
>the forms feed on Juniper, but not all are olive or greenish, hence 
>Juniper was a better discriptor of the lumped taxon.  That seemed 
>sensible if not entirely palatable, and we followed it reluctantly in 
>our book---if you're going to have a standard you have to HAVE a 
>standard. However, in common New Jersey field parlance, most people 
>still call it Olive Hairstreak.   
>	A good feature of the checklist is that recently lumped or 
>well-marked forms, are listed. This is a reasonable anticipation that 
>they may be split in the future. On the other hand, this could have been 
>carried to an extreme considering the extensive lumping that has gone on 
>in some groups (e.g., fritillaries). 
>Mike Gochfeld

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