Spelling of vernacular names

Robin Leech releech at TELUSPLANET.NET
Thu Mar 3 08:18:43 CST 2005

Except for birds in North America, where there has been a preference
to use a designated common name only, and no scientific name, no
capitals are needed.
However, if a proper word is incluced in the name, then that word
is capitalized, e.g., Mexican bearded weevil, or if the name is used
at the beginning of a sentence, e.g., "Bearded weevils are...".
Check the 1992, 6th edition, of the CBE Style Manual.
Robin Leech

----- Original Message -----
From: "Piotr Naskrecki" <p.naskrecki at CONSERVATION.ORG>
Sent: Thursday, March 03, 2005 8:01 AM
Subject: Spelling of vernacular names


Since we are on the subject of vernacular names I would like to ask a
somewhat related question regarding the proper spelling of vernacular names
in English. Should vernacular names be capitalized, and if so, should all
component words be capitalized or just the first one? For example, the
vernacular name of Rhinostomus barbirostris could be spelled the Bearded
Weevil, the Bearded weevil, or the bearded weevil. Which one of these is the
correct one?

Piotr Naskrecki, Ph. D.
Director, Invertebrate Diversity Initiative
Conservation International  (http://www.conservation.org)
Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University
26  Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: (617) 496-8179
Fax: (617) 495-5667

"It is a quirk of human nature that people only appreciate what they
understand" M.K. Seely

Taxonomy and Collection Manager software (

Insect Photography (http://www.insectphotography.com)

Orthoptera Species File Online - a database of Katydids of the World Online

Insect Type Database at MCZ, Harvard (http://insects.oeb.harvard.edu)

More information about the Taxacom mailing list