ICBN or BS
Mon Jul 16 01:53:37 CDT 2001
Hello. Common names only address the lowest taxonomic rank (at least in
Lepidoptera). When we speak of "instability" at the family, subfamily,
genus, subgenus levels it has no relevance to common names. I will have to
use Lepidoptera examples as that is what I know. Heck, I'll even try the
below post, which I know nothing about.
My guess in that White Campion is two words but
it is not a binomial. Thus, those two words are absolutely = to alba
_only_. In other words the reply was off the mark for the question. What is
the scientific name for the taxon (species or subspecies)? alba - that is
the answer to that question . One should then ask the person what is your
common name for Lychins? Lets keep apples with apples and not apples with
peach trees. That is - common names with their species or subspecies
Read your own words below - alba never changes regardless of the
combination. You know what - I call that immutability. If my guesses here
are correct, then I have to say that the living entity alba will still be
alba 500 years from now because that term is fixed by the Code's rules to
that basic organic entity. But many "clubs" can come into vogue over that
time and all they have to do is "want to" and White Campion can be changed
to what ever they want as often as they want. Correct? Taxonomists can not
call stuff just any thing they want at any time they want. If they can then
why the devil do we have the ICBN ZN or what have you. If there is that
little to it, than it is all just BM and BS. Bring on the Phylocode.
Common names are fine in their palce. The problem here in the US with
butterflies is that there is a growing faction that refuses to use
scientific epithets. Now if they had common names for every
subspecies and genus I would not object. (Of course then they
would just have the same trinomial nomenclatue but without the Latin
or any rules - huh.). But the only common names are for species. Thus a
species with 8 subspecies from coast to coast all have the same dumbed down
name. Where is progress in that? Where is _any_ informaton on evolutionary
relatonships. Silene or Lychnis at least there is a choice and the
knowledge that something is going on. That is infinately better than zero
info relayed on family, subfamily, genus, subgenus or even subspecies.
As Robin Leech said, "American Robin is not American robin". This says
nothing of "identified relationships".
Let me move to butterflies as some orders may have (accurate) common names
for every rank.
The long phrase Great Spangled Fritillary is not a trinomial. It is just a
big phrase for _cybele_ not Speyeria cybele. This is the crux of the
whole matter. Spicebush Swallowtail says nothing compared to
Papilio (Pterourus) troilus fakahatcheensis. Especially since
Spicebush Swallowtail is also used for
Papilio (Pterourus) troilus troilus. (What's more, subspecies
fakahatcheensis does not even feed on "spicebush" as it does not grow in
I'm off to the wild for a couple days. Ya'll have fun.
Ron Gatrelle, South Carolina
PS It's not the Calycanthus floridus with the common name Spicebush, it's
the Sassafras albidum with the common name Spicebush.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard Rabeler" <rabeler at UMICH.EDU>
To: <TAXACOM at USOBI.ORG>
Sent: Monday, July 16, 2001 12:08 AM
Subject: Re: ICBN too
> I second Mary's comments. Many folks I have dealt with do want a name,
> but they also want a name that will "stay".
> An example one of my colleagues provided in the early 80s comes to mind.
> This individual asked me what the scientific name was for White Campion.
> When I replied that the name she used would depend on her concept of the
> genera Lychnis and Silene and that the "correct" name in Silene was still
> the subject of some disagreement, she replied:
> "Gees. I don't really care why its Lychnis alba, Silene alba, or Silene
> pratensis ssp. alba (or now really Silene latifolia ssp. alba), it's
> still White Campion"
> Rich Rabeler
> University of Michigan
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