[Common Names: status report]

Ron Gatrelle gatrelle at tils-ttr.org
Tue May 13 12:33:58 EDT 2003

----- Original Message -----
From: "paul opler" <paulevi at webaccess.net>
To: <stan_gorodenski at asualumni.org>; <leps-l at lists.yale.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, May 13, 2003 10:12 AM
Subject: Re: [Fwd: [SoWestLep] Common Names: status report]

> The major difference, of course, is that common names have absolutely no
> standing according to taxonomic procedures and rule, whereas Latinized
> do have such standing.  Common names may be more stable, but Latin name
> usage reflects our often changing concepts about the taxal standing of
> various organisms and the synonymy of names.
> In addition, Latin names have international standing, whereas as common
> names do not.  A good example is the Mourning Cloak, a name
> in England where the same species is the Camberwell Beauty or in Germany
> where it is Trauermantel, etc., etc.
> Cheers,
> Paul

This thread reminds me of something I noted about a week ago.  On another
list serve botanists were talking about plant stuff and I noted the
following terminology being frequently used.  Rather that scientific vs.
common, the names were referred to "botanical" and "common".    There was a
great significance in this to me which is why I jotted it down on a note
pad.  I did not see any of the plant people refer to them a "scientific"

Botanical   /   common

Lepidopteral   /   common

When one says scientific  or common some may think of this as two optional
types of equal names: ones that the scientists use and the other ones used
by everybody else.   But to me saying botanical means that these are the
"real" names of plants and the "common" names are just our (scientists and
lay folk alike) informal slang for them.   My take is surely purely all in
the way my own perceptions function re these terms and others would see no
such imagery at all.   However, I do feel there is something that I can't
quite put my finger on that is causing some to not "get it" when it comes
to the fact that the "latinized/scientific/lepidopterological"  epithets
are the_ real_ names of butterflies, skippers and moths - Lepidoptera.
Just like the botanical names are the real names of plants.

Ron Gatrelle


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