Nomenclature

Douglas Yanega joins the ICZN

Sunday, July 19th, 2009 | Nomenclature, Personalities | 3 Comments

waspsThe latest issue of Nature magazine contains a short Q&A session with fellow Cornellian, heh, Douglas Yanega, insect taxonomist at the University of California, Riverside. The occasion is his newly appointment as commissioner for the prestigious International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN), the institution who runs the show on all things related to scientific names for animals.

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Honeybee or Honey Bee?

Thursday, April 16th, 2009 | Nomenclature, Taxonomy | Comments Off on Honeybee or Honey Bee?

In the preface of his 1956 classic Anatomy of the Honey Bee1 the great American entomologist Robert E. Snodgrass explains the book’s title:

First, it must be explained why the name of the bee appears in the title as two words, though “honeybee” is the customary form in the literature of apiculture. Regardless of dictionaries, we have in entomology a rule for insect common names that can be followed. It says: If the insect is what its name implies, write the two words separately; otherwise run them together. Thus we have such names as house fly, blow fly, and robber fly contrasted with dragonfly, caddicefly, and butterfly, because the latter are not flies, just as an aphislion is not a lion and a silverfish is not a fish. The honey bee is an insect and is pre-eminently a bee; “honeybee” is equivalent to “Johnsmith.” [vii]

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  1. Snodgrass, R. E. 1956. Anatomy of the Honey Bee. Cornell University Press. Ithaca, New York.

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