A Puma by any other name

Michael Gochfeld gochfeld at eohsi.rutgers.edu
Wed Apr 3 07:31:59 EST 2002

I'm not sure where I've been, but I'm pretty sure that there is NO situation among
butterflies that rivals the Puma/Cougar/Panther, Mountain Lion example.  With the
exception of Painter which is a local modification of Panther, these four names
are currently used names among mammalogists in various places in North America and
appear in print.

Painted Lady and Cosmopolitan represent two names that may come close because, both
were widely used, and I still refer to it as "Cosmo" in my field notes, but don't
object to Painted Lady in conversations.

Mourning Cloak and Camberwell Beauty are both well established and virtually
uniformly accepted English names on opposite sides of the Atlantic. Much more
continental than the regional variation for the cat.
I have almost never heard anyone refer to the Monarch as a Wanderer, although it is
a poetic (and inappropriate name, it migrates but doesn't wander any more than a
lot of species), and I have only rarely seen it in print.  Is it used in any modern

Mike Gochfeld
"Dr. James Adams" wrote:

> Mike Gochfield wrote:
> >But this species [the Puma, Cougar, etc.] is the example that comes to
> >mind whenever I talk about a
> >species that is called many different things in different parts of its
> >range. I
> >doubt that there are any butterflies that share this nomenclatorial fate.
> Mike, where have you been?  This is exactly what we've been talking
> about.  There are lots of butterflies that have been given multiple common
> names.  I would suggest that multiple "common" names for a single species
> is probably the rule rather than the exception for species that are widespread.
> For instance:
>          Monarch, Wanderer
>          Painted Lady, Cosmopolitan
>          Mourning Cloak, Camberwell Beauty
> And don't forget one of the main points that many simply choose to ignore
> -- all the common names that these same bugs have in different
> languages.  Anybody even know what butterflies Ken was talking about the
> other day when he used the common names 'traurnitsa' , which he pointed out
> was the same as 'suruvaippa'?
> Mike did correctly point out that the discussion is "about "official
> >English names" or maybe even "official American-English names",
> >recognizing that
> >speakers of other languages aren't going to use our English names. That
> >gets us
> >out of the bind of what names are "commonly" used.
> James
> James K. Adams
> Phone: (706)272-4427
> FAX:  (706)272-2235
> Visit the Georgia Lepidoptera Website:
>     www.daltonstate.edu/galeps/
> Also check out the Southern Lepidopterists' Society new Website:
>     www.southernlepsoc.org/
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