Michael Gochfeld gochfeld at eohsi.rutgers.edu
Sat Apr 27 22:04:33 EDT 2002


Your frustration is apparent, but.....

As a chemist you might have to deal with conflicting nomenclature all the time.

(Of course there are many different kinds of chemists so maybe this problem
doesn't affect you.)

Many of our commonly used chemicals have multiple names, IUPAC notwithstanding.

The US and European nomenclature is often difficult, and many books contain long
synonymies for chemicals.

Of course we could always refer to chemicals by the CAS number.  There was a
time when taxonomists suggested that we could refer to organisms just by a
unique number.

I am not a chemist but I teach environmental toxicology and we have to grapple
with common names like Perc and ambiguous abbreviations like TCE.  Why are PCBs
called bi-"phenyls" but PCDDs call "dibenzos"???

I certainly agree with you that losing data due to misguided (or even correct)
lumping is unfortunate. Perhaps that's why I'm a splitter.  If you'll excuse my
East-coast centrism,  we'll never know when the Ipswich Sparrow disappears
because it isn't a species anymore and no one looks for it or cares (except a
few of us over 50 folk).

Anyway, I can well understand your frustration with the 4JC process.  As a
compiler of three counts, I've had some of my own.
Perhaps if it doesn't work for you, you can make it better.  I don't see why one
couldn't take a checklist and modify it for a local region (a province, or even
a count area) and disseminate it widely to all the relevant people in the area
(including NABA members or LEP SOC members etc).  Moreover, as the compiler you
could keep your own data base with all of the breakdowns that seem relevant at
the time.
With emails and list serves it should be easy.

Regards and good luck.

PS:  Is Hinton Alberta a person or place.

PS2: If you think you have a problem,  I tried some years ago to suggest an
alternative censusing format to the 4JC which is a one day/year snapshot of
My suggestions were not well received.

Barb Beck wrote:

> Michael,
> The bottom line is that the NABA list does not work for amateurs in this
> part of the country.  Because they lump many of our species and do not
> recognize subspecies in their database they lost lot of our data.  Lumped
> data where species overlap cannot be retrieved.
> They declared that Hinton Alberta found the first records of the Christina
> Sulphur for the counts.  This is absolutely false - I have been turning in
> the Christina under their stupidly lumped name with the proper "subspecies"
> designation for years.  All of that is lost on them
> The names are put together apparently by a group of people from the NE who
> have very little appreciation of what is west of the middle of the
> continent.  They do not even have a taxonomist on the naming committee.  It
> is a fiasco.
> We want to properly be able to keep track of the butterflies we identify.
> We cannot do that with their current list.  It might work well for the Mass
> Leps group but does not for us.
> I am NOT a professional - I am a chemist by training who got into computing
> science for a while.  I am strictly an amateur and a novice at butterflies
> at that.
> I am not happy calling every Azure in this province a Spring Azure any more
> than I would be calling every Epidonax Flycatcher in the province a Least
> Flycatcher!  (We have Hammonds, Dusky, Least, Yellow-bellied, Western
> (Pacific Slope and Cordilleran).  At certain times we cannot definitely id
> them then they go down as Epidonax FC.  The Pacific Slope and Cordilleran
> integrate in the province and so if their voice is intermediate it goes down
> as a Western.  No big deal.  We id to the limits of our ability.
> The Boreal Spring Azure, Western Spring Azure and Summer Azure that we have
> in the province are not that big of an id problem to separate.  We do not
> even have what you guys call a Spring Azure here!!
> We have the NABA lumping data for the Northwestern and Atlantis Fritillaries
> (even though they admit they are distinct species!!!! - read their
> justification) losing any of our historical range information because the
> ranges overlap significantly.
> Beginning bird books do not use such a dumbed down approach to birds as
> Glassberg does to butterflies.
> It is high time that some people in the Eastern US learn that there is a
> little more to North America than simply the New England States.
> I bust my butt to get count information in from this area so we have a
> recored of what we have.  We have NOTHING from the area of California I was
> raised in and I realize that what I saw there as a kid is lost forever.  If
> the NABA wants to just have butterfly outings or nature walks where things
> are not properly identified or recorded why the heqq do they present the
> stuff as official counts.
> Incidentally I am one of the regional co-editors for the NABA region which
> Barb Beck
> Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Michael Gochfeld [mailto:gochfeld at eohsi.rutgers.edu]
> Sent: April 27, 2002 7:06 PM
> To: Barb Beck
> Cc: TILS-leps-talk at yahoogroups. com; leps-l at lists.yale.edu
> Subject: What's in a name: Red-spotted Purple/White Admiral and their
> kin
> Dear Barb,
> The Northeast is indeed a land of confusion. When I was 11 I first went to
> Boy
> Scout camp in the Adriondacks, and collected some butterflies. The commonest
> (or at least the most conspicuous butterfly) was called the White Admiral by
> local naturalists who introduced me to many different aspects of unfamiliar
> flora and fauna. .  I was very disturbed to find that my little Golden Guide
> referred to it as the Banded Purple, and it took some time (years) to
> reconcile
> the discrepancy.
> White Admiral it has always been, for me, and in our book the species entry
> is
> given as "Red Spotted Purple and White Admiral" , even though the latter may
> not truly occur. .
> It would be far better for all of us if these two butterflies would simply
> agree not to intergrade and declare that they are separate species after
> all.
> Although I am not likely to adopt the name Red-spotted Admiral (anymore than
> you'll ever hear me say Yellow-rumped Warbler), I don't think that priority
> has
> any  bearing on English names.  The oldest name is not necessarily going to
> prevail.
> I do agree that it would be desirable to have a widely available checklist
> of
> subspecies (if they would just stand still long enough to be documented).
> However, the NABA list may pretty well serve its purpose for amateurs.
> After
> all the AOU Checklist intended MAINLY FOR PROFESSIONALS no longer lists
> subspecies and the plan to produce a second volume with subspecies has
> apparently been abandoned.
> I think that the way out of the bind is to have local groups develop
> supplementary checklists of forms of local interest and maintain the data on
> them (even if it doesn't get into the Fourth of July Count volumes).  We try
> to
> do that in NJ with several taxa of interest.
> Mike Gochfeld
> PS: Which form occurs in Albert and do you by the disruptive vs mimetic
> dichotomy.
> ============================================================================
> ================
> Barb Beck wrote:
> > Michael,
> >
> > L. arthemis is NOT a Red-spotted Purple.
> >
> > The oldest name for the species is WHITE ADMIRAL that is the the species
> L.
> > arthemis arthemis.  By the NABA rules of nameing all other butterflies on
> > their list you should be referring to Red-spotted Purple as "Red-spotted
> > Purple" White Admiral just as we must refer to many of our subspecies and
> > some species which the NABA refuses to name.  This would not sit well with
> > the Mass and NJ leps people (the naming committee has two people from MASS
> > NABA, Glassberg and Swengel- all four from the NE US) so they took the
> name
> > they wanted.  Guess the rest of North America can handle confusion in the
> > names of our butterflies but those in the NE US cannot!
> >
> > Barb Beck
> > Edmonton


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