Common Names update

Ron Gatrelle gatrelle at
Fri Mar 29 01:18:57 EST 2002

----- Original Message -----
From: "Mike Quinn" <ento at>
To: "Leps-L" <LEPS-L at>
Sent: Thursday, March 28, 2002 9:54 PM
Subject: RE: Common Names update

> Ron, Most people on this list probably know that I regularly give
> at the alter of common names, but I gotta tell ya that I truly believe
> your efforts to put common names on subspecies is basically a waste of
> time... Mike Quinn

Mike -  I find this post and comments very interesting.

First, you say,  you are a common names proponent.   Thus it is odd that
you would take the time and make the effort to post anything opposing
common names.  A proponent who is an opponent.  Curious. One can only
wonder why.
Of course, I think I know why.

Next, it is my time to "waste" so it is no skin off of anyone else's nose.
If I and others at TILS want to waste our time (and money) with this why
should anyone else care?  You didn't post what you did because you care
about my time - but because some how the list irritates you personally. Of
course, I think I know why.

To me your post shows that you do not really worship (which is what
offerings at altars is) at the common names alter.  Your position reveals
that your interest in common names is only surface.  A "true believer" in
anything, goes all the way.

On the practicle side, tell us what harm is done by such a list of
availbale names?  The harm is that it is not the list you support.

When you said, "your efforts to put common names on subspecies..." you make
it sound like this is some new or novel thing.  The 1992 Official list of
common names (equivalent of the Ornithological Union's Bird names)
published by the Smithsonian, edited by the honorable Dr. J.Y. Miller and
forwarded by Dr. P. Opler and done in consultation with all the top
lepidopterists in the filed (note that J. Glassberg is not consulted and
naba not mentioned at all therein), lists the common names for
_subspecies_.  So it is obvious that you think that was all a waste of thei
r time and money too - don't you.  Of course, I think I know why.

The harm in not having names for them is like a family that has identical
triplets and decides to only name one - all three look just alike - so they
can all answer to the one name - forget their individual uniqueness and
personal WORTH.  In this brilliant (naba type) system all three loose out
as the one name renders all three as non-individuals.

The official list by Miller was endorsed, promoted, by Xerces and Lep. Soc.
It listed all common names for subspecies where they existed.  The SC-NABN
list is built on that official foundation and tradition.  No one has to use
it if they don't want to.   And no one should be able to prevent, mock, or
spit at anyone who does choose to use these standardized names.

Ron Gatrelle


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