[Taxacom] Herpetological Common Names

Robin Leech releech at telus.net
Sun Aug 2 13:55:42 CDT 2015


Ahh, Daphne, 

But we in the spiderworld do use common names, and they are often, as with
Cyclamen, Begonia, etc.,
derived from scientific names.  For example: Jumping spider; wolf spider;
long-jawed spider, etc. 
Under these common names are many thousands of species, as under Begonia
there are many scientific species names hiding.

And they are also named because of an activity, orbweb weaver, or an
appearance, Mouse spider.  Many etc., etc., here.

Off hand, I would say that for spiders the scientific names are used most
commonly, mainly because there is not yet a common name.
Of the 45,000 known species of spiders, only hundreds have been assigned a
common name. Most of the families of spiders do not 
have a common name.  

As with reptiles, and I am thinking mainly of snakes, most of the spider
names that are old come from the 
fact that the spider is poisonous (e.g., black widow - 5 species of
Latrodectus in N.Am. alone), the Sydney, Australia, 
area spider called the Sydney Funnel-web spider (a tarantula).  The females
have a cocktail of 4 venoms, and you might die. 
The males have a cocktail of 5 venoms, and as best I can tell, you will die.


The name Tarantula comes from Italy, where people working in the vinyards
were bitten.  Because the first spider seen was a 
large wolf spider, it was given the name Lycosa tarantula.  Only in the
1960s or so was it found that the real source of the 
bite and the poison was from a relative of the black widow (Family
Theridiidae, aka comb-footed spiders), actually the next 
genus, Steatoda.  This spider is smaller than the black widow.

To cure the effects of the poison, people had to drink copious amounts of
wine, and do wild dancing, hence the Tarantella dance.

Robin

-----Original Message-----
From: Fautin, Daphne G. [mailto:fautin at ku.edu] 
Sent: August-02-15 12:35 PM
To: Robin Leech; 'Mary Barkworth'; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: RE: [Taxacom] Herpetological Common Names

I was thinking about things like coleus, gardenia, colocasia, begonia,
cymbidium, cyclamen, etc., etc.  These are not from technical articles --
they are the names hobbyist gardeners use.

I understand the value of scientific names and the ambiguity of names such
as "robin."  I am pointing out that scientific names are used quite
comfortably for many plants -- but the same is not true for animals.


Daphne G. Fautin
Professor Emerita, University of Kansas

skype: daphne.fautin

database of sea anemones
hercules.kgs.ku.edu/Hexacoral/Anemone2/index.cfm

________________________________________
From: Robin Leech [releech at telus.net]
Sent: Sunday, August 02, 2015 1:27 PM
To: Fautin, Daphne G.; 'Mary Barkworth'; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: [Taxacom] Herpetological Common Names

Hi Daphne,

True, but also birch, aspen, dandelion, cranberry, strawberry, etc., without
reference to a scientific name.  For the most part, scientific names for
plants are used in technical articles just to make sure that there is no
confusion about the species - as sometime (at least in the animal world) a
common name may cover 2-3 species in different genera and families in
different parts of the world, e.g., "robin".

For things like Populus tremuloides and P. balsamifera, both scientific and
common names are used, but in something like Dryas crenata, where there is
ID confusion, I believe that common names are avoided.

But, regarding scientific names for birds, for example, many thousands of
birders DO NOT use the scientific name, and, literally, have fits when the
common name that has been used for years is either dropped or made to
include what they had regarded as another species under another name.  The
Slate-grey Junco is an example.

In checking around in Google, I found that in some cases, a particular
species of spider may have as many as 4 common names in the same geographic
region.  Part of what We and I are about is to resolve such problems, hence
my question to the birders, the Herpetologists and generally to Taxonomists.

Robin

-----Original Message-----
From: Taxacom [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of
Fautin, Daphne G.
Sent: August-02-15 12:06 PM
To: Mary Barkworth; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Herpetological Common Names

But people use scientific names for plants all the time -- especially
gardeners.  So this obscurity seems to apply only to animals.


Daphne G. Fautin
Professor Emerita, University of Kansas

skype: daphne.fautin

database of sea anemones
hercules.kgs.ku.edu/Hexacoral/Anemone2/index.cfm

________________________________________
From: Taxacom [taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] on behalf of Mary
Barkworth [Mary.Barkworth at usu.edu]
Sent: Sunday, August 02, 2015 11:53 AM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Herpetological Common Names

I am with Fred on this but the question was about establishing them. I
suggest that students be required to memorize an use them in all their
classes, with it being explained that J.Q. Public is incapable of learning
unfamiliar names, at least not once they get to their teens. Then require
all government agencies and their employees to use them and make the
manufactured name more conspicuous in all books and documents. This will
help ensure that scientific names are considered difficult, obscure,
abstruse, a (pick your term) - fit only for people that live in ivory
towers.

Mary
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