Northwest Lichenologists

Common Names

  • 06 Mar 2021 7:45 PM
    Message # 10172386

    Hey all,


    I'm building a list of lichens for a local preserve and their general format for their species list includes common names. I've often found common names to be helpful, especially when they include key characteristics. However, including the common name can enable people to just skip over the Latin name. What do you all think and could you point me to any resources regarding lichen common names?


    Thank you!

  • 07 Mar 2021 8:26 AM
    Reply # 10173891 on 10172386

    This site has the most used common name if the lichen has one.

    https://explorer.natureserve.org/Search


    I think if you put the Latin name first so they have to look at it before they can get to the common name, at least they are exposed to the latin. If they are serious about lichens, the latin will come.

  • 07 Mar 2021 8:55 AM
    Reply # 10173905 on 10172386
    J P

    I appreciate the logic and consistency of the common names used in this list which covers many of the lichens in this region - https://www.waysofenlichenment.net/ways/resources/bc_macrolichens

  • 07 Mar 2021 10:05 AM
    Reply # 10174001 on 10172386

    Common names are mentioned in Trevor Gowards Lichens of British Columbia volumes, e.g. Cladonia macilenta as “ Lipstick powderhorn (lipstick cladonia; white pin lichen; scarlet toothpick cladonia; scarlet-tipped cladonia; smaller pin lichen, pin lichen)” while “Iceland moss” is used for Cetraria delisei, C. ericetorum, C. islandica, C. laevigata and C. subalpina. Perhaps there could be an accepted list of common names as there is for birds.


    Remembering the Latin names is more than enough for me. Only a few common names are familiar, e.g. “fairy barf”, of which I agree with Bruce - “Although many English-language names have been made up for lichens by lichenologists, most people, lichenologists and nonlichenologists alike, don’t know them. But Icmadophila is one of the few lichens with an actual common name - that is, commonly used by nonlichenologists - “fairy barf” (or some synonym of that). Although other less memorable but presumably less offensive alternatives have been published, I have never heard them in use.” - McCune, Bruce. 2017. Microlichens of the Pacific Northwest. Volume 2: Keys to the Species. (Unlike e.g. “dog vomit slime mold”, Fuligo septica, “fairy barf” seems pretty good.)


    Recently came across "Appalachian Dust Bunnies" for Lepraria lanata and "Tammy’s Pumpkin Pails" for Sticta fragilinata.


    An interesting site - https://www.curioustaxonomy.net/rules.html


    can't resist a few favorites:


    Allobates niputidea Grant et al., 2007 (frog) In their paper describing the frog, the authors explain the specific epithet as "the name commonly applied by Colombian herpetologists to this and other small, brown frogs of unknown identity." What they do not say is that the word is actually a colloquial Spanish phrase, "ni puta idea", meaning, "[I have] no fucking idea." [Copeia 4: 844]

    Archelon Weiland, 1896 (Cretaceous turtle) This turtle was 15 feet long, 4500 lbs., possibly the largest chelonian ever. In the 1966 film "One Million Years B.C.," fur-bikini-clad Raquel Welch encounters a stop-motion giant turtle lumbering toward the sea. She alerts her fellow tribesmen by yelling "Archelon!", the animal's true scientific name and the only 'real' word said by any of the movie's cast. All of the rest of the cavepeople's language was completely made up.

    Mammuthus exilis Stock & Furlong, 1928 (pygmy mammoth) The scientific name means the same as the common name. - my favorite oxymoron

    Strigiphilus garylarsoni Clayton, ~1989 (owl louse) "I considered this an extreme honor. Besides, I knew no one was going to write and ask to name a new species of swan after me. You have to grab these opportunities when they come along." - Gary Larson

    Last modified: 07 Mar 2021 10:18 AM | Richard Droker
  • 07 Mar 2021 12:45 PM
    Reply # 10174184 on 10172386

    I absolutely hate some of Trevor's common names - they make the lichens sound ugly: vinyl lichens for some of the Leptogiums, for instance, and frog pelt for the green Peltigeras. Who would EVER think of skinning a poor little frog?

    I'd go for Latin only. (But I am definitely old school!) Also, how can they be called common names if one person made them up? (i.e. Trevor)

    Last modified: 07 Mar 2021 12:45 PM | daphne stone
  • 09 Mar 2021 11:33 AM
    Reply # 10180071 on 10174184
    daphne stone wrote:

    I absolutely hate some of Trevor's common names - they make the lichens sound ugly: vinyl lichens for some of the Leptogiums, for instance, and frog pelt for the green Peltigeras. Who would EVER think of skinning a poor little frog?

    I'd go for Latin only. (But I am definitely old school!) Also, how can they be called common names if one person made them up? (i.e. Trevor)

    Daphne you make a very good point! Although, I imagine that’s how most common names across all taxa originated, with more and more people adopting a common name proposed by one person or a small group of people. With so little use of common names in lichens, maybe by incorporating them more often into lichen resources we can get closer to a standardized set of names.
  • 09 Mar 2021 11:34 AM
    Reply # 10180076 on 10172386

    Thank you all for your insight and resources! I really appreciate it!

  • 10 Mar 2021 10:07 AM
    Reply # 10182884 on 10172386

    Although I dislike many of Trevor's names (and common names in general) his books demonstrate how many common names are used for some particular lichens, and how many different lichens have had the same particular common name.


    (Remind myself that, although of no practical importance when referring to a lichen which use is obvious by context, scientific names apply to the mycobiont, while common names indicate the entire lichen.)


    I agree with Daphne about frog pelt, but find do find appealing frog blanket, from names used by some Native American peoples.

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