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Posted by Kenny Wray on January 13, 2003 at 11:49:49:

In Reply to: Re: AOU vs SSAR posted by chrish on January 12, 2003 at 23:42:38:

:I think if a good standardized list was proposed and accepted by the professional community, the journals and the magazines would follow suit. The bird journals and magazines do. The magazine publishers might even welcome a list of US herps to eliminate the questions about which name to use.
I doubt that they would, as a major difference between herpers and birders is we can and do keep/breed/sale herps, which often have a different price tag associated with a particular name.

:The problem with the two lists that exist today has more to do with people's egos (IMHO) than it does with serious differences in philosophy about common names.
Agreed whole-heartedly with you (same goes for the scientific names to a degree). Maybe any new species descriptions should include a standard common name (or at least one that we would be stuck using to eliminate any competition to come up with and "brand" a particular common name).

:Herp field guides would to (as long as egos could be reined in!).
But the field guides used standard names and they continued to fluctuate more wildly than the actual scientific names.

:Are you implying there aren't enough herpers around to make the effort worthwhile? I disagree. A problem exists, the ability to fix the problem exists, let's just fix it!
I agree with troy, even with the variety herps has (academics through hobbyists) we truly pale in comparison to the birding hobbyists alone. I would actually use the argument that we should use this smaller group to our advantage and have everyone adopt the scientific name, but, most people do not seem to want to learn.

:To some degree that may be true, but I don't see it as a reason not to standardize the names. And lets keep in mind that the process started long ago and has continued through several iterations. If one standard could be widely accepted and adopted by the three national herp societies, for example, we could then begin to work out the glitches, just as the AOU continues to do.
As you pointed out, I think this is a slim chance because of the ego of herpers. And, again, we have scientific names, so why waste time (IMO it is a waste of time, I think of the other things that need worked out that the time would be better spent on). It seems like, for some of the authors, a way of getting their name stuck on something that they have been trying for years to make others use widely. Just the way that I see it.

:The problem now is that there is bickering about whose standardized list we should start with (the ego thing again) and whether a list is worth the effort.
First problem can be solved with a solution to the second: not worth the effort (IMO).

:Let's face facts. Common names are necessary. Every book or magazine that is published that refers to herps refers to their common name, and will continue to do so.
:Look at your libraries of herp books, US and state field guides, etc. They all have common names in them. So they aren't going away, now, or in the future.
:Why shouldn't we try to get them standardized so that we can remove all the problems with the common names that people have voiced here?

They could and for very good reason. As you pointed out, they have been around for years and, even despite many attempts over the years to standardize them, they have fallen way short. The energy required to convince them to adopt a standardized list is just short of the energy required to teach them the scientific nomenclature.

On a different topic: My biology students are doing an internet project in which they must select an endangered/threatened species from Texas and write a webpage on that organism, including an interview with a biologist who is working (or has worked) with that species. One of the groups has Coniophanes imperialis. Would you be interested in cooperating with them for the interview process?

Later, KW

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