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The Scientific Names of the British Lepidoptera: Their History and Meaning Paperback – 1 Jan 1991


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harley Books (1 Jan 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0946589356
  • ISBN-13: 978-0946589357
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.4 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 651,004 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Mar 2000
Format: Hardcover
This will remain t h e standard work on the etymology of the scientific names of all butterflies and moths - yes, the micro"-moths too! - of Great Britain for decades to come. As no other european country can boast a similar treatise it also serves as a basic reference work for most parts of Europe. The few earlier treatments of this subject are outdated (as even scientific nomenclature is slowly but constantly changing) or bristled with errors (when written by linguists without entomological knowledge like Macleod 1959). All taxa from the order down to genera, species, subspecies and some common forms are listed, the names explained and their latin or greek roots given, comparisons made, author's preferences (or idiosyncrasies) noted. The opening chapters on the history of scientific nomenclature and the practices and fashions" in naming species since Linnaeus' times are especially interesting. For example, did you know that in the Geometridae once the endings -ata and -aria were meant to designate species with simple and with bipectinate male antennae respectively? If reliable that would be a nice additional information today, but unfortunately not all authors conformed to or knew this custom, and occasionally species were described with only a female type . . . Or do you know why the burnet genus was named after the hammer-headed shark (Zygaina in Greek)? And the many butterfly names from mythology! Did you know that Machaon and Podaleirios were brothers, sons of Asklepios, doctors in the Trojan war and both entered the Trojan horse? Although intended as a reference work time and again you will find yourself reading on and on - and better understanding (and better remembering) the names you use every day.Read more ›
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By The Black Rabbit on 19 Sep 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a MUST read for anyone interested in how our moffs and butterflies got their names. Often bawdy, rude and amusing - this is the best book I've bought all year
HIGHLY recommended.
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Amazon.com: 1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A specialized subject expertly handled! 13 Feb 2000
By Quagga - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This will remain t h e standard work on the etymology of the scientific names of all butterflies and moths - yes, the „micro"-moths too! - of Great Britain for decades to come. As no other european country can boast a similar treatise it also serves as a basic reference work for most parts of Europe. The few earlier treatments of this subject are outdated (as even scientific nomenclature is slowly but constantly changing) or bristled with errors (when written by linguists without entomological knowledge like Macleod 1959). All taxa from the order down to genera, species, subspecies and some common forms are listed, the names explained and their latin or greek roots given, comparisons made, author's preferences (or idiosyncrasies) noted. The opening chapters on the history of scientific nomenclature and the practices and „fashions" in naming species since Linnaeus` times are especially interesting. For example, did you know that in the Geometridae once the endings -ata and -aria were meant to designate species with simple and with bipectinate male antennae respectively? If reliable that would be a nice additional information today, but unfortunately not all authors conformed to or knew this custom, and occasionally species were described with only a female type . . . Or do you know why the burnet genus was named after the hammer-headed shark (Zygaina in Greek)? And the many butterfly names from mythology! Did you know that Machaon and Podaleirios were brothers, sons of Asklepios, doctors in the Trojan war and both entered the Trojan horse? Although intended as a reference work time and again you will find yourself reading on and on - and better understanding (and better remembering) the names you use every day. The sheer amount of work the eminent British microlepidopterist has put into this volume is unbelievable and can only be appreciated by those who (like myself) have ever undertaken a similar task (even if for a smaller group in a restricted area). Everybody who works on european Lepidoptera and is remotely interested in their names will someday need to consult this book. And if you are a linguistically skilled lepidopterist you will soon find it indispensable. If you have it - treasure it! If a friend has it - borrow it (and don't return it)! And if you ever find it reprinted again - buy it!
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