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Posted by BGF on January 13, 2003 at 00:25:34:
In Reply to: OK, maybe not posted by chrish on January 12, 2003 at 23:25:24:
:But I still don't see how anyone could believe that standardizing common names could be a bad thing.
In some circumstances, I agree with you that a common name should be forcibly dropped ie king brown snake for Pseudechis australis despite it being a black snake. The name mulga snake should be used instead. However, in this particular case it is slightly different since king brown implies it belongs to the brown snake family (Pseudonaja) rather than the black snake family. This has significant clinical implications since the venoms of the two genera are radically different and an antivenom against one is essentially worthless against the others. However, other than selective cases, I don't think a standardised list is necessary. Also, who is to say which is which? ie. Cerberus rynchops goes by the common name of dog-faced water snake in Asia but is called the bockadam in Australia. Who's to say which is correct? I personally prefer bockadam (I think its a pretty cool name). However, what doesn't change is the scientific name. Thus, at the end of the day, the common name is rather trivial.
:I don't use common names for many things and I wouldn't use them much more often if there was a good list. And I would probably have to learn many of them, but at least I would be learning an "accepted" name and would be better able to communicate with non-technical herpers.
:Yes, there would be problems to work out, but that doesn't negate the validity of the exercise.
:The boa issue you point out (BGF that is) is a problem with the poor foresight (or deliberate overgeneralization) of local jurisdictions, not with the common name list, IMHO.
Yes and no since the city councils are banning 'boas' rather than Boa sp. I agree that its wrong but the common name doesn't help.
:In regard to the criticism of Ernie Liner's mexican herp list, I tend to look at the effort as a whole and see it as movement in the right direction. Of course there are problems in his list, but now we know which problems have to be resolved. You have to start somewhere, and I salute Ernie for all the work he put into it. No one else had ever made the effort. (And remember, Ernie isn't and never was a professional herpetologist. I think it was a tremendous contribution. I am sure if any critics were willing to contact Ernie or the publishers, they would be happy to let you redo all the work and fix all the problems in a second edition).
I agree its a commendable excersise and by all means if someone wants to go through the effort to generate the list, good on em.