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Common names

I have quite a bit to say about the use - and confusion - and value of animal common names in my book, The Bugs of Hong Kong; and I was recently reminded of this when our guide in Ecuador pointed out THE EXECUTIONER CLOWN....which turned out to be a tiny, brown, nondescript frog (Dendropsophus carnifex if you must know). So here a few more misnamed wildcreatures.... The king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah), also known as the hamadryad.

. Here a sub adult in a stream.

Well, this name is wrong as a)snakes tend to be self-determining, and b) its not a Cobra, as this snake actually hails from a genus of its own, called Ophiophagus. The King Cobra, or Ophiophagus Hannah, is classified under the Elapidae family. It is not a member of the Naja genus which incorporates most cobra species, known as “true cobras”.

also what a WHALE SHARK....just a shark really. Or worse, KILLER WHALE, which is technically a dolphin. A MOUNTAIN CHICKEN is a frog, but I can guess what it tastes like....and of course a STARFISH is, er, not a fish.

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