Butterfly names/Scientific names help

Michael Gochfeld gochfeld at eohsi.rutgers.edu
Wed Nov 6 05:59:06 EST 2002

Ken et al.

After years of unsuccessful herbiciding and spot-weedingI have learned to love
dandelions in the front lawn.  They add brilliant color.  Neighbors don't think
much of my choice.

I have also learned to love squirrels at my bird feeders despite the outrageous
cost of feeding these formerly unwanted guests. I tried trapping them one year,
and with the resident animals gone there was a huge influx of homeless
squirrels. My 94 year old mother finds their antics very entertaining as they
ingeniously insinuate themselves into the various exclusionary devices that I
was assured would keep them out.

As you say about butterfly names, it is a vain hope for congruity, consistency,
and consensus.  Not only don't the names for particular taxa hold still, but the
butterflies themselves are changing over time.

So like the squirrels and dandelions, I've learned to love the butterflies and
not worry to much about interpretations.  My shock came when I tried to
reconcile the different treatments of families and subfamilies.  It took a
number of years to realize that if the butterflies themselves were unpreturbed,
I could make do with whatever names I chose.

Mike Gochfeld


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