"Misleading" scientific names

Historis odius does not, in fact, represent a hatred of history, nor is it affiliated with negative superstitions, in the way some large dark moths are (at least that I can find). I cannot find any information about how this species was named and now I am so curious. Anyone?


There’s also a bird species (I forget which one) with a similarly wrong name.

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Passerculus sandwichensis are truly unappetizing in a sandwich.

(Yes, I know that’s not how they got their specific epithet)


(There was an artist named Rien Poortvliet and when I was young, my father gave me a beautiful book called Dutch Treat that was like his sketchbook of his life, told in small drawings and watercolors coupled with paragraphs of explanation in journal form. And one of them was about how as a child during World War II he was so hungry he would use a slingshot to try to take down any small bird. That sprang to mind.)

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But Cantherhines sandwichiensis (a filefish) could be quite tasty. Especially as a filet fish.


Homo sapiens which suggests that this ape is endowed with a lot of common sense.


That reminds me of part of John James Audubon’s description for the now-extinct Dusky Seaside Sparrow:

Having one day shot a number of these birds, merely for the sake of practice, I had them made into a pie, which, however could not be eaten, on account of its fishy savour.

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Oh, no!

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The “carpsuckers” genus Carpiodes is one that always comes to mind of the taxa I spend time IDing.

Carpiodes = carp-like

A couple of the more common species:
C. carpio = carp-like carp
C. cyprinus = carp-like carp (for some reason both species names mean carp)

So we have a carp-like carp. Is the fish a carp? Nope. Is it even a cyprinid? Nope, different family. Last common ancestor likely some time in the Cretaceous

Is it “carp-like?” Sure, if you keep it general, inferior mouth, big scales and a long dorsal fin base. More so with C. caprio than C. cyprinus. C. cyprinus has more dramatic dorsal quill making it much less similar

Even the common name is contradiction - they are suckers, they are not carp. This confusion does cause problems in the US, here Carpsuckers are native and Carp are not


I complained about Erica ericoides.
An erica that looks like an erica. Wow. Amaze.
But it used to be Blaeria ericoides - then the name made sense. Now it’s another nice example of It was FIRST so it stays, wrong.

That’s sad. I wonder how many accounts exist of now-extinct species that were “ho-hum” occurrences back then. The famous bird extinctions (passenger pigeon, dodo, etc.) are well known but people just going to a spot and casually collecting something that is now super rare or extinct is always sad to read. Especially if they just go to town on them and take a bunch.

Back on topic, the “Great Purple Hairstreak” was always odd, given it is not purple at all

I’ve often carped about these confusing fish names.


Perhaps Asclepias syrica - did not come from Syria, but rather America.


In the Pythonidae:

Malayopython timoriensis is not found on Timor.

Antaresia perthensis is not found anywhere near to Perth.


I played with something like this a year or two ago

Numenius madagascarensis

Far-eastern curlew

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Really? Wikipedia cites two studies (though obviously that’s not a reliable source) that call them bears; the Smithsonian National Zoo website and WWF website also calls them bears. Even iNat’s own taxonomy classifies the Giant Panda as belonging to a separate subfamily in the family Ursidae. It may once have been consensus that Giant pandas weren’t bears, but near as I can tell, they are considered bears now.


maybe just not bear bears, you know? like some ducks aren’t ducky ducks

I mean… they’re family Ursidae. That’s about as bear as it gets.