A Puma by any other name

James Kruse fnjjk1 at uaf.edu
Mon Apr 1 21:01:08 EST 2002

on 4/1/02 4:15 PM, Michael Gochfeld at gochfeld at eohsi.rutgers.edu wrote:

> Fortunately this is a butterfly list. So we can finesse the issue of Mountain
> Lion.   
> I doubt that there are any butterflies that share this nomenclatorial fate.

I guess I was too obtuse and we have apparently 'spoken' past each other. I
am glad you came up with Puma. The use of Mountain Lion helped me illustrate
2 points. I will now combine with butterfly examples.

1. The same common name can be bestowed on different species/subspecies.
E.g., panther for F. concolor AND Florida black 'cougars' AND black leopards
in Africa. "Monarch" is a yellow butterfly with black stripes in Alaska (P.
canadensis) (sorry if that freaks anyone out) and the "monarch" is an orange
migratory butterfly in the lower 48 and S. Canada and into Mexico (D.
plexippus). I guess I should have used pigeon and rock dove, since so many
people get away with the passenger pigeon example for collecting without any
"foul". Shame on me.

2. A common name appropriate to one region may not be appropriate to
another. Mountain lions in areas where there are no mountains; Canadian
Tiger Swallowtail in Alaska (and hence a preference to keep Monarch over
adopting that name).



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