What does it take to assign a species a common name?

Those common names can seem overly long by listing the taxa they include in that way. Also like Megachile Bees being called Leafcutter, Mortar, and Mason Bees, and some names add on “and Allies” at the end too. On the other hand, I assume the intent is to use a standardized/systematic categorization that clearly describes what taxa are included in quickly-readable way, which is useful and informative. Some common names also remain shorter and aren’t in the format of a list of taxa.

It could be argued that “Horrendous Space Kablooie” is a more memorable and descriptive name than “Big Bang.”
I really think that Calvin makes a valid point about empiricists trying to describe things of unimaginable wonder. Ramphastos sulfuratus makes you think of something that smells like rotten eggs. Meanwhile, the Spanish common name I learned for that organism is Tucán Pico-Iris, which translates “Rainbow-billed Toucan.” So what is its “official” English common name? Keel-billed Toucan. Why name it after the keel (or the sulfur) when the source of unimaginable wonder is the rainbowness?

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The rainbowness of toucans. Who could ever forget that! Have you seen one / them?

Yes, in Costa Rica.

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The bottom line is that not every user will be happy with the available common names for particular organisms. Where more than one name has been used outside of iNat, all should be available as options on iNat. If no common name is available, we shouldn’t be inventing them on iNat. But maybe the lack will spur the specialists in that particular group of organisms to generate a standard list of common names, as has been done for North American Odonata and some other groups.


If one of them is available, but not the default, is there a way to set it so that it is the one I see instead of the default? Assuming that it isn’t specific to a particular region.

Don’t think there is a way but I might be wrong. I might prefer to use the names Cougar or Puma for that large cat species —and INat recognizes those names —but the English-default on my records will be Mountain Lion. Which is okay by me.

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