Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Taxonomic Name Changes

The latest round of changes to butterfly scientific names is being cascaded down to minor BAP players such as us. Mercifully, the name of the Monarch of the Skies Apatura iris remains unchanged. Wisely so, as that name has serious resonance and depth of meaning to many people, as it has had throughout entomological time.

Our Pledge: If taxomonists dare so much as to consider changing this sacred name the People of Purple Persuasion will rise in countless thousands, torch all centres of taxonomy and impale any taxonomists found therein, and who are not of our persuasion, on Nordic walking poles - and then cover themselves in shrimp paste outside 10 Downing Street, naked.

Meanwhile, poor Brother Quercus has been garroted again. He is no longer to be known as Zephyrus quercus but is now to be called Favonius quercus. As any humble Classicist will know, Favonius is the (pre-Christian) Roman equivalent of Zephyrus, the God of the West Wind. What, then, is the point of this name change, especially as the butterfly - which conducts its courtship and mating along sunny west-facing wood edges in early evening - loathes the west wind (which prevents it from mating)?

Meanwhile, betulae - meaning, of birches - remains the specific name of Brother Betulae, the Brown Hairstreak, which has no association with birch trees. Has anyone ever seen a Brown Hairstreak settle on a birch?

Signed, in his own blood, and with high blood pressure,

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