East Texas Naturalist Blog

Information and photographs mainly about nature in east Texas. Our authors have widely diverse backgrounds and write on a variety of topics.

If you write about nature in east Texas and would like to join us here, please contact us.

Scientific Names Are All Wrong


When I first got pretty serious about snakes, which was when I was around 11, I had my first exposure to scientific names.  It wasn't enough to identify a Texas Ratsnake, I wanted to know the proper name, the scientific name.  At the time, that was Elaphe obsoleta lindheimeri.  And I learned that the many water snakes that bit the daylights out of me each time I caught one, were Natrix rhombifera and Natrix ethrogaster.  The little Red-Eared Sliders that I caught and some I bought at the 5 and dime, were Pseudemys scripta elegans.  

In my considerable years of absence from the scientific world and especially that of Taxonomy, things sure changed.  Our local ratsnakes went from Elaphe to Pantherophis; watersnakes - Natrix to Nerodia; sliders - Pseudoemys went to Trachemys; and there were many other changes.  Of course, this is a natural occurence in biology.  

Specimen are examined and classified as belonging to a certain genus. Sometimes, if there were no similar genus, one was created for them.  (I am ignoring species designations here which work in a similar fashion).  

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
Recent comment in this post
Michael Mathews
Here is an example of exactly why taxonomy can drive one crazy. http://www.migration.blairsociety.com/Inciliusnebulifer.html... Read More
Tuesday, 18 August 2015 10:46
1636 Hits
1 Comment