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Posted by chrish on January 09, 2003 at 15:31:18:
In Reply to: I'm with Kenny on that one posted by WW on January 09, 2003 at 13:54:26:
The American Ornithological Union produces a list of standardized names of birds in the US and Canada (which they attempt to coordinate with similar lists in other english speaking countries - thus the US "Oldsquaw" is now called the European name "Long-tailed Duck").
The process of getting these names established was a painful one for many while people's favorite common names went by the wayside, but overall the system works and you can talk about birds with other bird people with some semblence of coherence.
I believe what Crother et al. are trying to do is a good thing and I hope with time it will stick. There will be a few holdouts who don't like certain names (Hog-nosed Snake for example), but over time the system will work if people use it.
I don't agree with the previous lists of common names proposed by Collins et al as that list tended to make taxonomic decisions at the same time as making the common name decisions.
Regarding Pituophis, I agree with the use of the name Bull Snake for historical reasons. In fact, Bull Snake is probably an older name than Gopher Snake. If we were to use the rules for nomenclature that are used for scientific names, all the west coast species should be Bull Snakes (assuming they are conspecific).
I have always wondered about the specific status of deppei as well. Where does catenifer stop and deppei start in north central mexico? I have seen quite a few deppei from around mexico city, and they looked a lot like a colorful affinis to me!