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What is in a name?

August 28, 2019

Well, the beautiful orange-bellied leafbird (Chloropsis hardwickii) that we find here in Hong Kong has a scientific name that commemorates the English naturalist Thomas Hardwicke.

 This soldier and naturalist was in India in the late 1700s and up to 1823, and was a voracious collector.
The following are also named after him:
Parnassius hardwickii – common blue Apollo
Temera hardwickii – finless sleeper ray
Solegnathus hardwickii – Hardwicke's pipefish, pallid seahorse
Thalassoma hardwicke – sixbar wrasse, six-banded wrasse
Eublepharis hardwickii – East Indian leopard gecko, Hardwicke's gecko
Saara hardwickii – Hardwicke's spiny-tailed lizard, Indian spiny-tailed lizard
Hydrophis hardwickii – spine-bellied sea snake, Hardwicke's sea snake
Chloropsis hardwickii – orange-bellied leafbird
Gallinago hardwickii – Latham's snipe, Japanese snipe
Kerivoula hardwickii – Hardwicke's woolly bat
Rhinopoma hardwickii – lesser mouse-tailed bat,
and the genus of a tree known for its hard wood, Hardwickia binata, was named after him by William Roxburgh.

These lovely leafbirds are brightly plumaged, with the predominant green over the body giving rise to their common name, and as they are such attractive birds and, combined with an attractive song and capacity to mimic sounds, they have become very popular cagebirds. 

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