If you could rename an existing species

How about Crinhoid? :wink:

…because it and the Prothonatary Warbler are both named after professions, with religious overtones.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker to anything more indicative of its coloration (eg Red-Capped Woodpecker if that’s not already in use).

Elk (Cervus canadensis) to Wapiti and Elk (Alces alces) to Moose-- not just to end the debate once and for all but also because using native american names seems appropriate.

Cutting down on non-descriptive named-after-people names.

And finally… severely reducing or eliminating names that are just two animals stuck together or otherwise innacurate. Sea lions and the like are I suppose permissible, but raccoon dogs, maned wolves, and any other mammals (or other large vertebrates) without their own specific names really ought to have them. My suggestions? Tanuki for the raccoon dog (with maybe another name for the mainland subspecies) and Kalak or some other one-word name for the Maned Wolf.

Actually, I should have used a diffferent example and not Northern Cardinal because I don’t mind the religious overtones. I like the existing name because it evokes the time period and thoughts of the people identifying the bird. I only used it because there is a local name for it, red bird, that is descriptive to the point of being generic and to my mind, useless. I simply do not like descriptive names for the most part. I never found them any more helpful (and often less helpful) than some other kind of name when I was learning bird names (I’m still learning them, though, so…). I mean, I could always seem to see other birds with similar colorations/features so it never meant a lot to me. Northern Cardinal has always been more evocative and helpful to me than simply calling it red bird, which could be a Summer Tanager just as easily.

Anyway, sorry. I hope I haven’t annoyed anyone too much–I realize that it is just a personal problem of mine and definitely in a minority of 1.


There are so many Southern African plant and animal species with the epithet ‘capense’ or ‘capensis’. The vast majority of these taxa are not restricted to the Cape region of South Africa, but that is just where the type specimens were discovered in Linnaeus’ day, and so the name just stuck and no-ones bothered to review them.

In my opinion, these are the species we should focus on renaming first (atleast in a Southern African context)

All of the wintergreens; genera Gaultheria, Pyrola, Chimaphila, etc. Same common names but pretty unrelated otherwise…


Speaking of wintergreens, I would remove any “lesser” or “false” from any common names. E.g. “Lesser Wintergreen” - there is nothing inferior about this species compared to others. If it’s considered small can’t we just call it “Small Wintergreen” instead? And “False Boneset” or “False Solomon’s Seal” or countless others like that - they aren’t false species in any way and I just hate those names.

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My favorite example is false mockorange - double negative!


Reminds me of False Fleabane (Pulcaria paludosa) since fleabanes are pungent members of the Daisy (Asteraceae) family that were thought to keep away fleas. So… this means this one actually does keep fleas away? :thinking:

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I didn’t mean to imply that you would mind; rather, that in our day it is considered another sensitive topic.

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I would rename all wasps to “Murder Hornet” to suit the collective attitude

Joking, but I would rename the wasp genus Labium, because of the obvious difficulty with web searches and confusion in conversation (aside also being the name for the lower lip of the same insects anyway)…


Given how frequently the California Tree Frog (Pseudacris cadaverina) is observered elsewhere, maybe it should be called California Rock Frog?

Regarding Euphorbia: I’ve been tempted to just go through and publish the currently missing combinations for the southwestern US, at least. I don’t have a good understanding of the global situation, but in the southwestern US it would not be difficult to separate Euphorbia into a small number of genera that make sense both morphologically and phylogenetically.

I think “dump everything in Euphorbia” made sense, though wasn’t ideal, as an interim measure while we developed a good enough understanding of the relationships between species to create a better solution. A very nice series of publications, the majority in 2012 to 2016, have provided a fairly thorough understanding. At this point, I’m not sure there’s a good argument for “dump everything in Euphorbia” beyond mere inertia.

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But our Euphorbia expert @nathantaylor said this grouping of genus is correct, in plant I personally don’t find it unusual that there’re those subgenera not looking exactly as each other.

Definitely agree. Who the heck are all these people anyway? LOL
I’m sure the animal would take exception to being named for a person given we cause so much extinction.

Red-bellied Woodpecker -Barred-back Woodpecker.
Ring-necked duck - Gray-billed Duck

And get rid of all human-named species (as already stated)

Which of course would make it a real orange, which (of course) it isn’t.

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That’s the description of any Aythya.

Believe me, I’ve had the same temptation. @Marina_Gorbunova Euphorbia is correct (well, depending on what you mean by correct), but it doesn’t mean I don’t wish we could split the genus up nor that I would discourage efforts to try to do so. Ultimately, the problem is that there are a lot of extremely distinctive clades nested within a broader Euphorbia whose primary clades are generally difficult to distinguish. There are species that look like subg. Esula within subg. Chamaesyce. Sect. Anisophyllum, Poinsettia, and Alectoroctonum are all cluster together near the tips of subg. Chamaesyce. Recognizing them would be awkward unless you accept paraphyletic taxa. It’s like birds being nested within reptiles. How to deal with this taxonomically, I haven’t really decided or been fully persuaded one way or another and have thus stuck with the inertia.


Came across this one recently:

Gets a little annoying when seeing either and brain immeditely thinks “No, that’s wrong!” because it didn’t switch over between the scientific vs. common name.

Therefore, Tropaeolum majus has no business being called a Nasturtium!