standardizing common names

James Kruse fnjjk1 at
Tue Apr 2 12:54:58 EST 2002

My last (cross) post. How did this get on two lists? I will make a plea to
keep arguments on whatever list they originated as many of us are subscribed
to both lists!!

> The only Felis concolor I ever saw was a small form (probably a subspecies)
> crossing the road on the Venezuelan llanos, a far cry from montane habitat.

I've never actually seen one myself, but the scream is not soon forgotten.
Sorry for the detour, but it was the best example I could think of where
there were multiple common names for a single species. Incidentally,
Wisconsin used to host two 'forms' of F. concolor. A standard tawny cat and
a melanic form. One was called a cougar and the other a panther. So names
can be pinned on anything regardless of taxonomic status. This is a fact. I
am not poking fun, just using a single best example to illustrate multiple

> But, and this is where James and I may differ.  There isn't likely to be any
> confusion over what is intended by the term Panther in Florida, Mountain Lion
> in Colorado, or Puma or Cougar.  But if Alaskans talk about Monarchs that
> would certainly confuse me. I agree that the issue of adopting a list of
> standardized English names should take into account usage, and could even
> agree that more than one name is acceptable in different regions.

All I was asking for was a list of the (multiple) names associated with an
area of usage. I grew up with 'banded purples' and 'commas'. I have heard
others call the same species 'white admirals' and 'hop merchants'. I think
that would be infinitely more interesting than another 'standardized' list.
I'm not sure how this makes me (or Felix) threatened by boogie men, Barb.

> encouraging people to adopt a standard English name seems like a desirable
> goal.

If that is a stated goal of Ron's list, I will shut up. Okay, I will shut up
regardless. I guess I was under the impression that this list was something
different since Ron was interested in and soliciting multiple names from all
over the U.S. and Canada.



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