Common Names update

Ron Gatrelle gatrelle at
Fri Mar 29 14:42:50 EST 2002

----- Original Message -----
From: " Clay Taylor" <CTaylor at>
To: <ento at>; "Leps-L" <LEPS-L at>
Sent: Friday, March 29, 2002 8:42 AM
Subject: Re: Common Names update

> All -
>     While I basically agree with Mike's statement, there IS a glimmer of
> hope.  IF the establishment of common names for butterfly sub-species can
> make it into  POPULAR PRINT (say for instance, the upcoming Kaufman
> then the general butterflying public may well start to use those names in
> everyday conversation.
>     Otherwise, the efforts of Ron G. et al. might just be preaching to
> choir.  Will I resolve to scribble the "new" names into the margins of my
> Pyle, Opler and Glassberg books? Certainly.   Will it get done?  Probably
> not.   Heck, I can't even keep my bird and butterfly life-lists up to
>     Sorry, Ron, just telling it like it is.
> Clay Taylor
> Moodus, CT
> ctaylor at
> PS - I am NOT suggesting that Kenn Kaufman is planning to publish common
> names for sub-species - that simply was the first book that popped into
> as I composed this message.  CT

No problem.  I always view our list-serve activity as mini-bully pulpits
where each gets a chance to expound their view of the elephant.  I think
the diversity is great.  What is absolutely true in Mike's and Clay's post
is the element of realism.  The fact is that most people are never going to
get interested in _anything_ natural at all.  Too much TV!!   I am fully
aware that this is an upstream journey.  That is why it is worth taking.
Why take the path most are on when one can forge a new (and better :-)

An idiosyncrasy of mine is that if all there were were lists of names for
all sub-subs, then I would likely be saying;  Hey, we need an option for
those who don't want to get this involved.  We need a list that just has
species and nothing else.  I see no philosophical conflict here.  In fact I
see consistency -- a view to meet all needs.  I am pro-watching,
pro-collecting, pro-scientific names, (now) pro-common names.   I only come
across as anti because I tend to take the side of those who are being
anti-ed or left out.  Is that clear?

My reaction to Mike's simple sentiment is wrapped up in one word "waste".
There was no positive in that post at all.  No:  I think you are wasting
your time but it would be great if they caught on - so I wish you well (as
in Clay's).   In fact the tone is -- I sure won't use them and will thus
not encourage anyone else to use them.  Hey, that is just an honest
rendition of how I took it.

Now I could have misread Mike's intent - that is a common thing with this
type of electronic communication - a one way street with no sight, no voice
inflections, and no real opportunity for true conversation.

Lastly, and practically speaking, Clay's post reveals a perception problem.
He says:" IF the establishment of common names for butterfly sub-species...
" Now I know he is referring to the "establishment" in the popular lit, but
there is a subliminal thought that common names for butterfly subspecies
are not (or have not been) established.  That to me is a perception many
today have.  My reference to the _1992_ Miller list is to show that many
common names for subspecies ONCE were established.  But they have been
largely abandoned in just 10 years!!!   TILS is just bringing them back to
everyone's attention again.

Just like we are with the scientific names.  Both our common names and
scientific names "check lists" attempt to be complete - which is what _all_
traditional lepidoptera check lists in the past have been and are -
including Lep. Soc., MONA and the lists in regional books.



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