What's with the Canadian beaver, eh?

I recently posted an observation of a beaver (#226048477) on the web version of iNaturalist.ca. The common name comes up as “Canadian Beaver”. When I look at the observation on the app, the common name shows as “American Beaver”.

What’s with that, eh?

The scientific name is “castor canadensis”, so “Canadian Beaver” would seem a logical common derivative of the latin label.

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Canadian Beaver is an alternate common name for that species. If I was a Canadian I’d call it that. How did it get called American Beaver to begin with, given its scientific name? Seems unfair.

Are you Canadian? What’s it typically called up in the great white north?

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I think “American” in American Beaver refers to the continent, not the country.

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Should be North American Beaver then, which is another common name though less often used.

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I think it’s just the US’ fault for taking the name of two entire continents for themselves. I’m saying this as someone from the US, I think it’s dumb, and it’s only been around for like 80 years or so.

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I agree, but United Statesian just doesn’t roll off the tongue easily.

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We should all just adopt Toki Pona, and have the continent be Amelika while the US is Mawika. :p

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In Spanish they literally call Americans “Unitedstatesian” or “estadounidense”

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FWIW, “American” in animal names can also refer to “the Americas” (this is often how it is used for birds, many of which migrate between the continents). In this case it’s especially apt because it’s the only beaver in the Americas.

But also both Wikipedia and the US Forest Service call it “North American Beaver”.
https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/npnht/learningcenter/nature-science/?cid=fseprd878831

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True. I know that in Latin America there is some desire to not let US citizens claim the name America and American for themselves. We’re all residents of the Americas.

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Well, I’m born on the northern part of Turtle Island and I just call it Beaver, good day, eh?

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It has to do with ‘regional names’. In many cases, the same species goes by a different common name in a different place. So, iNaturalist allows names to be prioritised by country, state, etc to match their use in the real world.

The American/Canadian Beaver is a great example of this. It would seem that ‘American Beaver’ is the default English name while the regional name for Canada is set to ‘Canadian Beaver’.

You can see this here:

I’ve noticed this too. When I log onto iNat.ca, it’s ‘Canadian Beaver’. But when I’m on iNat.org, it’s “American Beaver”.

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The naming gets really tricky when you have a beaver that lives in a water body that crosses the US-Canada border. ;-)

Incidentally, most of the beavers I run into in the Southwest US are “bank beavers” as they live in rivers or reservoirs and don’t build dams or lodges but live in bank burrows.

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