Don't get too excited Philip, I was very tongue in cheek. But thanks for
your contribution which I'm sure has enlightened many of us in terms of how
these names get applied.
From: Philip Veerman
Sent: Wednesday, 10 February 2010 4:15 PM
To: 'Tony Russell'
Cc: 'Birding Aus'
Subject: What is in a name.
Yes I agree about a unpleasantly more difficult name. But is just what
we are familiar with. Your objection to it is not fair though.
"which, translated literally from the pseud- Greek, means coloured
head. Bit weird really as Silver Gulls have a white head."
There is no requirement that the descriptive meaning of the genus name
be applicable to all the species included in that genus. There are
surely many examples like that. For the first species (singular or
plural) assigned to that genus, presumably the name given was reasonable
for them. Then the decision is made, separately, that another species is
similar enough (in whatever way the person involved considers important)
to that one, to go into that genus, as distinct from another genus. In
this case, whoever, thought our bird is more like others in that
Chroicocephalus genus than the other gulls in Larus. The actual meaning
of the genus name has no bearing. It is whatever name is the oldest in
the literature, that counts. So in this case it becomes irrelevant
whether one species has a white or coloured head.
I'd suggest this stuff is dreamed up in the International Code for
On Behalf Of Tony Russell
Sent: Wednesday, 10 February 2010 3:10 PM
Subject: What's in a name.
Crikey, they couldn't have come up with a more fandangally sounding name
for the dear old Larus novaehollandiae could they. Chroicocephalus
novaehollandiae. !! Poor old Silver Gull, fancy waking up with a name
that. And the Black-headed Gull has got the same near unpronounceable
name too, Chroicocephalus ridibundus. Apparently there is a whole group
of overseas Laridae with this long handle which, translated literally
pseud- Greek, means coloured head. Bit weird really as Silver Gulls
white head. Don't they ?? I guess white is a colour. OMG, I think
stick with Larus. I wonder who dreams this stuff up gets away with it ?
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