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Posted by Kenny Wray on January 09, 2003 at 07:45:15:
In Reply to: Standardized list of Common names for North American herps posted by James Wilson on January 08, 2003 at 23:38:19:
what is the point of a common name? It is used by lay people to describe a living thing that they recognize in their own area. Nothing more. This will obviously vary from one place to another. The farmer that uses Bull Snake in Oklahoma, will not start using Bull Gopher Snake or Great Plains Gopher Snake, just because someone is wasting time to come up with a list of standardized commom names (guess you know my position on this subject, LOL). The few (comparatively) people that would use a standard common name could just as easily learn the proper scientific name. As a matter of fact, and quite a rarity, I think that common names, under the hands of Joe Collins, have fluctuated more than the scientific names of animals in North America (north of Mexico) as of late. Some of the stupid names he has come up with causes me to not even know what animal he is refering to at times, unless I see the scientific name.
Which brings me to the point that there are still many out there who believe that Pituophis are all one species (I lean this way), melanoleucus. The only other alternative that makes sense to me is, if you are going to recognize catenifer as a distinct species from melanoleucus, as well as ruthveni as a distinct species, then you should recognize sayi as its own species too (this has been proposed before and has appeared in several publications this way). They are just as distinctive from the catenifer type animals as they are from the melanoleucus type animals. In fact, just via gestalt, sayi and ruthveni look like the same animal to me (especially when you come across the occasional sayi south and east of DFW that's not supposed to be there according tothe range maps!