Common name

In biology, a common name of a taxon or organism (also known as a vernacular name, English name, colloquial name, trivial name, trivial epithet, country name, popular name, or farmer's name) is a name that is based on the normal language of everyday life; this kind of name is often contrasted with the scientific name for the same organism, which is Latinized. A common name is sometimes frequently used, but that is by no means always the case.[1]

Sometimes common names are created by authorities on one particular subject, in an attempt to make it possible for members of the general public (including such interested parties as fishermen, farmers, etc.) to be able to refer to one particular species of organism without needing to be able to memorise or pronounce the Latinized scientific name. Creating an "official" list of common names can also be an attempt to standardize the use of common names, which can sometimes vary a great deal between one part of a country and another, as well as between one country and another country, even where the same language is spoken in both places.[2]

Use as part of folk taxonomy

A common name intrinsically plays a part in a classification of objects, typically an incomplete and informal classification, in which some names are degenerate examples in that they are unique and lack reference to any other name, as is the case with say, ginkgo, okapi, and ratel.[3] Folk taxonomy, which is a classification of objects using common names, has no formal rules and need not be consistent or logical in its assignment of names, so that say, not all flies are called flies (for example Braulidae, the so-called "bee lice") and not every animal called a fly is indeed a fly (such as dragonflies and mayflies).[4] In contrast, scientific or biological nomenclature is a global system that attempts to denote particular organisms or taxa uniquely and definitively, on the assumption that such organisms or taxa are well-defined and generally also have well-defined interrelationships;[5] accordingly the ICZN has formal rules for biological nomenclature and convenes periodic international meetings to further that purpose.[6]

Common names and the binomial system

The form of scientific names for organisms that are called binomial nomenclature is superficially similar to the noun-adjective form of vernacular names or common names which were used by prehistoric cultures. A collective name such as owl was made more precise by the addition of an adjective such as screech.[7] Linnaeus himself published a Flora of his homeland Sweden, Flora Svecica (1745), and in this, he recorded the Swedish common names, region by region, as well as the scientific names. The Swedish common names were all binomials (e.g. plant no. 84 Råg-losta and plant no. 85 Ren-losta); the vernacular binomial system thus preceded his scientific binomial system.[8]

Linnaean authority William T. Stearn said:

By the introduction of his binomial system of nomenclature, Linnaeus gave plants and animals an essentially Latin nomenclature like vernacular nomenclature in style but linked to published, and hence relatively stable and verifiable, scientific concepts and thus suitable for international use.[9]

Geographic range of use

The geographic range over which a particularly common name is used varies; some common names have a very local application, while others are virtually universal within a particular language. Some such names even apply across ranges of languages; the word for cat, for instance, is easily recognizable in most Germanic and many Romance languages. Many vernacular names, however, are restricted to a single country and colloquial names to local districts.[10]

Constraints and problems

Common names are used in the writings of both professionals and laymen. Lay people sometimes object to the use of scientific names over common names, but the use of scientific names can be defended, as it is in these remarks from a book on marine fish:[11]

  • Because common names often have a very local distribution, we find that the same fish in a single area may have several common names.
  • Because of ignorance of relevant biological facts among the lay public, a single species of fish may be called by several common names, because individuals in the species differ in appearance depending on their maturity, gender, or can vary in appearance as a morphological response to their natural surroundings, i.e. ecophenotypic variation.
  • In contrast to common names, formal taxonomic names imply biological relationships between similarly named creatures.
  • Because of incidental events, contact with other languages, or simple confusion, common names in a given region will sometimes change with time.
  • In a book that lists over 1200 species of fishes[11] more than half have no widely recognised common name; they either are too nondescript or too rarely seen to have earned any widely accepted common name.
  • Conversely, a single common name often applies to multiple species of fishes. The lay public might simply not recognise or care about subtle differences in appearance between only very distantly related species.
  • Many species that are rare, or lack economic importance, do not have a common name.[12]

Coining common names

In scientific binomial nomenclature, names commonly are derived from classical or modern Latin or Greek or Latinised forms of vernacular words or coinages; such names generally are difficult for laymen to learn, remember, and pronounce and so, in such books as field guides, biologists commonly publish lists of coined common names. Many examples of such common names simply are attempts to translate the Latinised name into English or some other vernacular. Such translation may be confusing in itself, or confusingly inaccurate,[13] for example, gratiosus does not mean "gracile" and gracilis does not mean "graceful".[14][15]

The practice of coining common names has long been discouraged; de Candolle's Laws of Botanical Nomenclature, 1868,[16] the non-binding recommendations that form the basis of the modern (now binding) International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants contains the following:

Art. 68. Every friend of science ought to be opposed to the introduction into a modern language of names of plants that are not already there unless they are derived from a Latin botanical name that has undergone but a slight alteration. ... ought the fabrication of names termed vulgar names, totally different from Latin ones, to be proscribed. The public to whom they are addressed derives no advantage from them because they are novelties. Lindley's work, The Vegetable Kingdom, would have been better relished in England had not the author introduced into it so many new English names, that are to be found in no dictionary, and that do not preclude the necessity of learning with what Latin names they are synonymous. A tolerable idea may be given of the danger of too great a multiplicity of vulgar names, by imagining what geography would be, or, for instance, the Post-office administration, supposing every town had a totally different name in every language.

Various bodies and the authors of many technical and semi-technical books do not simply adapt existing common names for various organisms; they try to coin (and put into common use) comprehensive, useful, authoritative, and standardised lists of new names. The purpose typically is:

  • to create names from scratch where no common names exist
  • to impose a particular choice of name where there is more than one common name
  • to improve existing common names
  • to replace them with names that conform more to the relatedness of the organisms

Other attempts to reconcile differences between widely separated regions, traditions, and languages, by arbitrarily imposing nomenclature, often reflect narrow perspectives and have unfortunate outcomes. For example, members of the genus Burhinus occur in Australia, Southern Africa, Eurasia, and South America. A recent trend in field manuals and bird lists is to use the name "thick-knee" for members of the genus. This, in spite of the fact that the majority of the species occur in non-English-speaking regions and have various common names, not always English. For example, "Dikkop" is the centuries-old South African vernacular name for their two local species: Burhinus capensis is the Cape dikkop (or "gewone dikkop",[17] not to mention the presumably much older Zulu name "umBangaqhwa"); Burhinus vermiculatus is the "water dikkop".[18][19] The thick joints in question are not even, in fact, the birds’ knees, but the intertarsal joints—in lay terms the ankles. Furthermore, not all species in the genus have “thick knees”, so the thickness of the "knees" of some species is not of clearly descriptive significance. The family Burhinidae has members that have various common names even in English, including “stone curlews”,[20] so the choice of the name “thick-knees” is not easy to defend but is a clear illustration of the hazards of the facile coinage of terminology.[21]

Lists that include common names

Lists of general interest

Plants
Animals
Plants and animals

Collective nouns

For collective nouns for various subjects see a list of collective nouns (e.g. a flock of sheep, pack of wolves)

Official lists

Some organizations have created official lists of common names, or guidelines for creating common names, hoping to standardize the use of common names.

For example, the Australian Fish Names List or AFNS was compiled through a process involving work by taxonomic and seafood industry experts, drafted using the CAAB (Codes for Australian Aquatic Biota) taxon management system of the CSIRO,[2] and including input through public and industry consultations by the Australian Fish Names Committee (AFNC). The AFNS has been an official Australian Standard since July 2007 and has existed in draft form (The Australian Fish Names List) since 2001. Seafood Services Australia (SSA) serve as the Secretariat for the AFNC. SSA is an accredited Standards Australia (Australia’s peak non-government standards development organisation) Standards Development[22]

A set of guidelines for the creation of English names for birds was published in The Auk in 1978.[23] It gave rise to Birds of the World: Recommended English Names and its Spanish and French companions.

The Academy of the Hebrew Language publish from time to time short dictionaries of common name in Hebrew for species that occur in Israel or surrounding countries e.g. for Reptilia in 1938, Osteichthyes in 2012, Odonata in 2015 etc...

See also

References

Citations

  1. ^ Kruckeberg, Arthur (1991). The Natural History of Puget Sound Country – Appendix I: The naming of plants and animals. Seattle: University of Washington Press. ISBN 978-0-295-97477-4.
  2. ^ a b List of standardised Australian fish names – November 2004 Draft. CSIRO
  3. ^ Brown, Lesley (1993). The New shorter Oxford English dictionary on historical principles. Oxford [Eng.]: Clarendon. ISBN 0-19-861271-0.
  4. ^ Alan Weaving; Mike Picker; Griffiths, Charles Llewellyn (2003). Field Guide to Insects of South Africa. New Holland Publishers, Ltd. ISBN 1-86872-713-0.
  5. ^ D. L. Hawksworth (2010). Terms Used in Bionomenclature: The Naming of Organisms and Plant Communities : Including Terms Used in Botanical, Cultivated Plant, Phylogenetic, Phytosociological, Prokaryote (bacteriological), Virus, and Zoological Nomenclature. GBIF. pp. 1–215. ISBN 978-87-92020-09-3.
  6. ^ Conklin, Harold C. 1980. Folk Classification: A Topically Arranged Bibliography of Contemporary and Background References through 1971. New Haven, CT: Yale University Department of Anthropology. ISBN 0-913516-02-3.
  7. ^ Stearn 1959, p. 6, 9.
  8. ^ Stearn 1959, pp. 9–10.
  9. ^ Stearn 1959, p.10.
  10. ^ Brickell, C.D., Baum, B.R., Hetterscheid, W.J.A., Leslie, A.C., McNeill. J., Trehane, P., Vrugtman, F., Wiersema, J.H. (eds.) 2004. International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants. ed. 7. Acta Horticulturae 647 (Regnum Veg. 144)
  11. ^ a b Heemstra, Phillip C.; Smith, Margaret (1999). Smith's Sea Fishes. Southern Book Publishers. ISBN 1-86812-032-5.
  12. ^ Judd et al. (2008). Plant Systematics: A Phylogenetic Approach, Third Edition. Sinauer Associates, Inc. Sunderland, MA.
  13. ^ Reeder, Deeann; Wilson, Don W. (2005). Mammal Species of the World: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-8221-4.
  14. ^ Marchant, J. R. V.; Charles, Joseph F. (1952). Cassell's Latin Dictionary. London: Cassell.
  15. ^ Tucker, T. G. (1931). A Concise Etymological Dictionary of Latin. Halle (Saale): Max Niemeyer Verlag.
  16. ^ de Candolle, A. (1868). Laws of Botanical Nomenclature adopted by the International Botanical Congress held at Paris in August 1867; together with an Historical Introduction and Commentary by Alphonse de Candolle, Translated from the French. translated by Hugh Algernon Weddell. London: L. Reeve and Co. p. 36, 72
  17. ^ Bosman, D. B.; Van der Merwe I. W. & Hiemstra, L. W. (1984). Tweetalige Woordeboek Afrikaans-Engels. Tafelberg-uitgewers. ISBN 0-624-00533-X.
  18. ^ Lockwood, Geoffrey; Roberts, Austin; Maclean, Gordon L.; Newman, Kenneth B. (1985). Robertsڃ birds of southern Africa. Cape Town: Trustees of the J. Voelcker Bird Book Fund. ISBN 0-620-07681-X.
  19. ^ Roberts, Austin (2005). Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa. Trustees of J. Voelcker Bird Book Fund. ISBN 0-620-34053-3.
  20. ^ Les Christidis; Walter Boles (January 2008). Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. Csiro Publishing. pp. 129–. ISBN 978-0-643-06511-6.
  21. ^ Scott, Thomas A. (translator & reviser) (1996). Concise Encyclopedia Biology. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 3-11-010661-2.
  22. ^ Overview Archived 2006-09-23 at the Wayback Machine: Australian Fish Names Standard. Seafood Services Australia
  23. ^ Parkes K.C. (1978). "A guide to forming and capitalizing compound names of birds in English" (PDF). The Auk. 95 (2): 324–326.

Sources

  • Stearn, William T. (1959). "The Background of Linnaeus's Contributions to the Nomenclature and Methods of Systematic Biology". Systematic Zoology 8: 4–22.

External links

Anaconda

Anacondas are a group of large snakes of the genus Eunectes. They are found in tropical South America. Four species are currently recognized.

Bird of prey

Birds of prey, or raptors, include species of bird that primarily hunt and feed on vertebrates that are large relative to the hunter. Additionally, they have keen eyesight for detecting food at a distance or during flight, strong feet equipped with talons for grasping or killing prey, and powerful, curved beaks for tearing flesh. The term raptor is derived from the Latin word rapio, meaning to seize or take by force. In addition to hunting live prey, most also eat carrion, at least occasionally, and vultures and condors eat carrion as their main food source.Although the term bird of prey could theoretically be taken to include all birds that primarily consume animals, ornithologists typically use the narrower definition followed in this page. Examples of animal-eating birds not encompassed by the ornithological definition include storks, herons, gulls, skuas, penguins, kookaburras, and shrikes, as well as the many songbirds that are primarily insectivorous.

Blesmol

The blesmols, also known as mole-rats, or African mole-rats, are burrowing rodents of the family Bathyergidae. They represent a distinct evolution of a subterranean life among rodents much like the pocket gophers of North America, the tuco-tucos in South America, or the Spalacidae.

Cobra

Cobra is the common name of various elapid snakes, most of which belonging to the genus Naja.

Crow

A crow is a bird of the genus Corvus, or more broadly a synonym for all of Corvus. The term "crow" is used as part of the common name of many species. Species with the word "crow" in their common name include:

Corvus albus – pied crow (Central African coasts to southern Africa)

Corvus bennetti – little crow (Australia)

Corvus brachyrhynchos – American crow (United States, southern Canada, northern Mexico)

Corvus capensis – Cape crow or Cape rook (Eastern and southern Africa)

Corvus caurinus – northwestern crow (Olympic peninsula to southwest Alaska)

Corvus cornix – hooded crow (Northern and Eastern Europe and Northern Africa)

Corvus corone – carrion crow (Europe and eastern Asia)

Corvus edithae – Somali crow (eastern Africa)

Corvus enca – slender-billed crow (Malaysia, Borneo, Indonesia)

Corvus florensis – Flores crow (Flores Island)

Corvus fuscicapillus – brown-headed crow (New Guinea)

Corvus hawaiiensis (formerly C. tropicus) – Hawaiian crow (Hawaii)

Corvus imparatus – Tamaulipas crow (Gulf of Mexico coast)

Corvus insularis – Bismarck crow (Bismarck Archipelago, Papua New Guinea)

Corvus jamaicensis – Jamaican crow (Jamaica)

Corvus kubaryi – Mariana crow or aga (Guam, Rota)

Corvus leucognaphalus – white-necked crow (Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico)

Corvus macrorhynchos – jungle crow (Eastern Asia, Himalayas, Philippines)

Corvus macrorhynchos macrorhynchos – large-billed crow

Corvus macrorhynchos levaillantii – eastern jungle crow (India, Burma)

Corvus macrorhynchos culminatus – Indian jungle crow

Corvus meeki – Bougainville crow or Solomon Islands crow (Northern Solomon Islands)

Corvus moneduloides – New Caledonian crow (New Caledonia, Loyalty Islands)

Corvus nasicus – Cuban crow (Cuba, Isla de la Juventud, Grand Caicos Island)

Corvus orru – Torresian crow or Australian crow (Australia, New Guinea and nearby islands)

Corvus ossifragus – fish crow (Southeastern U.S. coast)

Corvus palmarum – palm crow (Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic)

Corvus ruficolis edithae – Somali crow or dwarf raven (Northeast Africa)

Corvus sinaloae – Sinaloan crow (Pacific coast from Sonora to Colima)

Corvus splendens – house crow or Indian house crow (Indian subcontinent, Middle East, east Africa)

Corvus torquatus – collared crow (Eastern China, south into Vietnam)

Corvus tristis – grey crow or Bare-faced crow (New Guinea and neighboring islands)

Corvus typicus – piping crow or Celebes pied crow (Sulawesi, Muna, Butung)

Corvus unicolor – Banggai crow (Banggai Island)

Corvus validus – long-billed crow (Northern Moluccas)

Corvus violaceus – violet crow (Seram) – recent split from slender-billed crow

Corvus woodfordi – white-billed crow or Solomon Islands crow (Southern Solomon Islands)

Duck

Duck is the common name for a large number of species in the waterfowl family Anatidae which also includes swans and geese. Ducks are divided among several subfamilies in the family Anatidae; they do not represent a monophyletic group (the group of all descendants of a single common ancestral species) but a form taxon, since swans and geese are not considered ducks. Ducks are mostly aquatic birds, mostly smaller than the swans and geese, and may be found in both fresh water and sea water.

Ducks are sometimes confused with several types of unrelated water birds with similar forms, such as loons or divers, grebes, gallinules, and coots.

ISO 3166-1 alpha-2

ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 codes are two-letter country codes defined in ISO 3166-1, part of the ISO 3166 standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), to represent countries, dependent territories, and special areas of geographical interest. They are the most widely used of the country codes published by ISO (the others being alpha-3 and numeric), and are used most prominently for the Internet's country code top-level domains (with a few exceptions). They are also used as country identifiers extending the postal code when appropriate within the international postal system for paper mail, and has replaced the previous one consisting one-letter codes. They were first included as part of the ISO 3166 standard in its first edition in 1974.

King cobra

The king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah), also known as the hamadryad, is a venomous snake species in the family Elapidae, endemic to forests from India through Southeast Asia. It is threatened by habitat destruction and has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 2010.

It is the world's longest venomous snake. Adult king cobras are 3.18 to 4 m (10.4 to 13.1 ft) long. The longest known individual measured 5.85 m (19.2 ft).

Despite the word "cobra" in its common name, this species does not belong to genus Naja but is the sole member of its own. It preys chiefly on other snakes and occasionally on some other vertebrates, such as lizards and rodents. It is a dangerous snake that has a fearsome reputation in its range, although it typically avoids confrontation with humans when possible.

The king cobra is a prominent symbol in the mythology and folk traditions of India, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. It is the national reptile of India.

List of aircraft manufacturers

This is a list of aircraft manufacturers sorted alphabetically by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)/common name. It contains the ICAO/common name, manufacturers name(s), country and other data, with the known years of operation in parentheses. The ICAO names are listed in bold. Having an ICAO name does not mean that a manufacturer is still in operation today, just that some of the aircraft produced by that manufacturer are still flying.

A B-C D-G H-L M-P Q-S T-Z

Porcupine

Porcupines are rodents with a coat of sharp spines, or quills, that protect against predators. The term covers two families of animals, the Old World porcupines of family Hystricidae, and the New World porcupines of family Erethizontidae. Both families belong to the infraorder Hystricognathi within the profoundly diverse order Rodentia and display superficially similar coats of quills: despite this, the two groups are distinct from each other and are not closely related to each other within the Hystricognathi.

The Old World porcupines live in southern Europe, Asia (western and southern), and most of Africa. They are large, terrestrial, and strictly nocturnal. In taxonomic terms, they form the family Hystricidae.

The New World porcupines are indigenous to North America and northern South America. They live in wooded areas and can climb trees, where some species spend their entire lives. They are less strictly nocturnal than their Old World relatives, and generally smaller. In taxonomic terms, they form the family Erethizontidae.

Most porcupines are about 60–90 cm (25–36 in) long, with an 20–25 cm (8–10 in) long tail. Weighing 5–16 kg (12–35 lb), they are rounded, large, and slow, and use aposematic strategy of defense. Porcupines occur in various shades of brown, gray, and white. Porcupines' spiny protection resembles that of the unrelated erinaceomorph hedgehogs and Australian monotreme echidnas.

Sea snail

Sea snail is a common name for snails that normally live in salt water, in other words marine gastropods. The taxonomic class Gastropoda also includes snails that live in other habitats, such as land snails and freshwater snails. Many species of sea snails are edible and exploited as food sources by humans.

Slug

Slug, or land slug, is a common name for any apparently shell-less terrestrial gastropod mollusc. The word slug is also often used as part of the common name of any gastropod mollusc that has no shell, a very reduced shell, or only a small internal shell, particularly sea slugs and semislugs (this is in contrast to the common name snail, which applies to gastropods that have a coiled shell large enough that the animal can fully retract its soft parts into the shell).

Various taxonomic families of land slugs form part of several quite different evolutionary lineages, which also include snails. Thus, the various families of slugs are not closely related, despite a superficial similarity in the overall body form. The shell-less condition has arisen many times independently during the evolutionary past, and thus the category "slug" is a polyphyletic one.

Squirrel

Squirrels are members of the family Sciuridae, a family that includes small or medium-size rodents. The squirrel family includes tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, marmots (including woodchucks), flying squirrels, and prairie dogs amongst other rodents. Squirrels are indigenous to the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa, and were introduced by humans to Australia. The earliest known squirrels date from the Eocene period and are most closely related to the mountain beaver and to the dormouse among other living rodent families.

Toad

Toad is a common name for certain frogs, especially of the family Bufonidae, that are characterized by dry, leathery skin, short legs, and large bumps covering the parotoid glands.A distinction between frogs and toads is not made in scientific taxonomy, but is common in popular culture (folk taxonomy), in which toads are associated with drier skin and more terrestrial habitats.

Whelk

Whelk is a common name that is applied to various kinds of sea snail. Although a number of whelks are relatively large and are in the family Buccinidae (the true whelks), the word whelk is also applied to some other marine gastropod species within several families of sea snails that are not very closely related.

Many have historically been used, or are still used, by humans and other animals for food. (In an average whelk (100g), there are 137 calories, 24g of protein, 0.34g of fat, and 8g of carbohydrates.)

Dog whelks were used in antiquity to make a rich red dye that improves in color as it ages.True whelks are carnivorous, feeding on worms, crustaceans, mussels and other molluscs, drilling holes through shells to gain access to the soft tissues. Whelks use chemoreceptors to locate their prey.

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