common names

Barrie Robinson brobinso at LEVEN.APPCOMP.UTAS.EDU.AU
Mon Jun 5 14:59:04 CDT 1995

>I think all of us have experienced the pitfalls of using common names for
>plants.  But what about animals?  My impression is that at least vertebrate
>names are much less variable.  Is that impression incorrect?  How much do
>vernacular names of given species of birds, snakes, turtles, and common
>mammals vary, say, within the continental US, or within Europe (but within
>the same language, of course)?  A counterexample would be snakes in Costa
>Rica--each poisonous snake I learn seems to have many different common
>names, now that I think of it...  furthermore, I have seen a T-shirt here
>in Norway covered with dialect names for the national bird, what we would
>call a dipper...  But are these exceptions?  One major problem with respect

What about fish? Fish from totally different genera (&probably families)
are called cod, perch, pike, salmon etc. here in Australia than in the N.
Hemisphere, and I wouldn't mind betting there's some difference on opposite
sides of the Atlantic, too.


Barrie Robinson,                  |email: B.Robinson at
University of Tasmania            |phone:  (61)(03)243211
PO Box 1214, Launceston, Tasmania 7250.

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