Submitted to: American Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 18, 2007
Publication Date: September 22, 2007
Citation: Weber, D.C. 2007. “When true is false, and false is true” [column]. American Entomologist 53:140-141.
Many insects and other organisms are called “false” as a common name or the Latin equivalent “pseudo-“ in their scientific names. The column explores the details of and the reasons why so many insects are given such names. Reasons include the vast biodiversity of certain groups, the historical typological species concept, the ancient Doctrine of Signatures, and intellectual sloth on the part of authors who name the insects. There are only a few legitimate reasons for the “false” moniker. Therefore, unique, meaningful names are preferred instead.