Spelling of vernacular names

Edwards Jr, G.B. edwardg at DOACS.STATE.FL.US
Thu Mar 3 12:07:26 CST 2005

The American Arachnological Society, through its Common Names Committee,
has developed a list of common names of arachnids.  The committee has
established criteria which must be satisfied in order for a species to
even have a common name. In case you're interested in seeing the list
and the criteria, go to this website and click on 'Common and Scientific
Names of Arachnids.'


To address Piotr's question, common names for arachnids only capitalize
proper nouns.  Common names are also restricted to 3 words (4 words if,
e.g., a country name consists of two words).  For example, Aphonopelma
chalcodes is the 'desert blond tarantula,' Aphonopelma hentzi is the
'Texas brown tarantula,' and Aphonopelma seemani is the 'Costa Rican
zebra tarantula.'



G. B. Edwards, Ph.D.  [Your Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman] 


Curator: Arachnida (except Acari), Myriapoda, Terrestrial Crustacea,

Florida State Collection of Arthropods, FDACS, Division of Plant

P.O.Box 147100, 1911 SW 34th St., Gainesville, FL 32614-7100 USA 

(352) 372-3505 x194; fax (352) 334-0737; edwardg at doacs.state.fl.us 



-----Original Message-----

From: Taxacom Discussion List [mailto:TAXACOM at LISTSERV.NHM.KU.EDU] On
Behalf Of Piotr Naskrecki

Sent: Thursday, March 03, 2005 10:01 AM


Subject: [TAXACOM] 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 (http://www.tettigonia.com)


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

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