As an insect taxonomist, I was amused by your article about whimsical scientific names but disappointed that one of my favorites was not mentioned: the wasp Iaha ha. Sandra Shanks
San Francisco, Calif.
Three observations on your article: 1) Linnaean names, at their best, tell you something about the creature that is named. Thus while “Phtheria relativitae” may be cute, it deprives the reader of potentially valuable, or at least interesting, insights. 2) If there isn’t a Taxonomy 101 in which naturalists are taught not to mingle Greek and Latin stems in the same name (as in “Thanatogratus“), there certainly ought to be. 3) Some of the most interesting Linnaean names are those that end in ia and reveal a naturalist’s name when the ia is stripped off–as Fuchsia, for Fuchs, Escherichia for Escherich, Yersinia for Yersin, and Poinsettia for Poinsett. Peeling ia endings off Linnaean names is a simple, harmless, and entertaining hobby for the idle scientific browser. Tom Parsons
New York, N.Y.