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Did Ja Know? They may be renamed and reclassified, but they’re still fish.

Gone are the days when it was acceptable to write poetry about your lunker walleye, Stizostedion vitreum. The new odes should be to Walleye, Sander vitreus.

Aside from continuing to refine scientific names, the American Fisheries Society (AFS) and American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists Joint Names Committee expect the common names of fishes to be capitalized in the new-fashioned language of fish. Why? To clarify if, when you talk about a spotted gar, you mean a gar with spots or a Lepisosteus oculatus.

The AFS isn’t the only player in the naming game. Earlier this year the Minnesota legislature decided that the Asian carp quartet (Bighead, Black, Silver and Grass) should be called invasive carp. The wildly invasive Common Carp from Europe is still not included in this Minnesota carp gang. Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sometimes sanctions market names for fish that differ from those used by the AFS and fishermen. Lake Superior’s own Cicso (AFS name) are a case in point. They also go by Tullibee, Lake Herring, Coregonus artedi, Blue Fin, etc.

Curious about what to call a particular fish? Check out:
The Seafood List of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (updated 2014). http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/fdcc/?set=seafoodlist

The AFS’s searchable version of “Scientific Name, Occurrence, and Accepted Common Name” from the 7th edition of Common and Scientific Names of Fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico (2013).

By seagr
December 2014

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