Re: NANFA-- pikeminnow (was Mosquito fish)

Christopher Scharpf (
Fri, 05 Jan 2001 13:42:54 -0400

>Chris "Pike" Scharpf said:
>>Pikeminnow is a perfectly fine name. It's a minnow. And it's pike shaped.
>Why not muskyminnow, or barracuda minnow? Don't you think a common name
>should have regional significance, or at least morphological significance
>on a greater scale than comparing a species to another species (or in this
>case GENUS to species!)?

There is historical and etymological precedent for calling Ptychocheilus
pikeminnow. The scientific name of the Colorado pikeminnow is P. lucius, named
by Girard in 1856. "Lucius" is Latin for "pike." One of the earliest common
names for P. oregonensis -- the Sacramento pikeminnow -- is Sacramento pike,
dating from the 1800s.

Also, the word "pike" -- as it applies to fish -- is descriptive. A pike, in its
original meaning, is a sharp point or spike.

The name pikeminnow tells me that the fish is a minnow and that it is
pike-shaped. In fact, they are the only pike-shaped minnows in North America.
The name is clear, descriptive, and accurate. The name squawfish is meaningless.
It tells me nothing about the fish. And the fact that it is OFFENSIVE to a
segment of the American population is all the more reason to change it.

Believe me, perceived confusion between the names pikeminnow and Northern pike
is the least of the Colorado pikeminnow's worries.

Anyway, perhaps we should move this discussion to the squawfish vs. pikeminnow
list. :-)

Chris "Lucius" Scharpf

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