21 August 2007

Moths who astound, confound, and quietly resound

Budak (of the marvelous annotated budak) said, in a comment that you might not see, so I'm posting it here —

Moths are severely underrated.

My friend Arthur, in one trip, found hundreds of bizarre species in Borneo, as recorded here: Moths of Sabah (Borneo).

Meanwhile, the 'Moths of Borneo' project has reached Vol. 18...

Budak has such good taste in species! And there's so much to see in both these sites.

In particular, one perfectly named moth in Arthur's jaw-droppingly weird collection makes me need to ask about its proper name. Is it, or will it be named as aptly? Or will it be named after someone's cousin? or slimy someones of renown? or does its future lie in algorithm?

This brings to mind the reverse problem of a butterfly who was such a thrill to me last summer when I (my other name is M. Mistakikov) thought she might be a Painted Lady. Such a disappointment when I learned she was – horrors! – a Common Brown. But the Common Brown, to those who know, is also, by another name, that alluring and mysterious Heteronympha merope.

Even if some species have been saddled for the term of the life of our species (?) with the names of people who were best forgotten before they were ever known, there must be many species that were named in respect, in fun, in pun.

Do you have any tales of the stories behind those names?

And what do you think is coming? Is this moth, in our future, going to be known as Catalogue Bar Code #LFЖ/8476.003-D?

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