Butterfly names/Scientific names help

Kenelm Philip fnkwp at aurora.alaska.edu
Wed Nov 6 01:34:44 EST 2002

> Regardless, it's nice to see SOMEONE FINALLY posit an admission to the
> multitudinous discrepancies in scientific nomenclature....

There's nothing new about that--Doug is referring to a well-known and long-
existing situation. These discrepancies exist in time, in space, and between
different workers. I have mentioned this problem before on this and other

Time: When I started my interest in butterflies, the only reference I had
was Holland's 'Butterfly Book' (and his little 'The Butterfly Guide'). I
did not even know that such things as checklists and catalogues existed.
Since then I have used the Barnes & McDunnough, dos Passos, Hodges et al,
Miller/Brown (and the Ferris revision) catalogues/checklists, and had
occasion to refer back to the Dyar, Skinner, and Smith lists; and for ID
purposes have used a number of books from Klots to Howe and Scott plus a
plethora of regional guides--all of which use different (to a greater or
lesser extent) nomenclature.

Space: My interests are mainly holarctic--and my nose has been rubbed firmly
in the sad fact that North American and European (and Russian) lists are
often in disagreement, and have been so throughout time.

Different workers: Both scientific papers and field guides published in the
same country and decade will disagree with one another.

	It is for that reason that I was never very happy with the current
incarnation of the Lep. Soc. Season Summary. Any attempt to summarize all
the data for the entire continent in a single database is, in my estimation,
going to have many worms in the bucket--and more as time goes on.

	Furthermore, despite the best intentions of everyone, as long as
taxonomy is an active field such discrepancies will persist. There is a
story (apocryphal?) about a lady who asked for advice on ridding her lawn
of dandelions. She wrote to many people for help, and nothing worked. Fin-
ally, in desperation, she wrote the Secretary of Agriculture, and told him
everything she had tried without avail, and asked him what she should do.
His reply was: "Madam, I suggest you learn to love them."

	Despite the best efforts of all the catalogue writers (and NABA)
I fear that our 'dandelions' will persist, love them or not...

							Ken Philip


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