Friday, 9 November 2018

How did they come up with that name?

From time to time I wonder how the august people on Scientific Committees etc come up withe the names they do. 

A classic example is the duck Aythya australis with the common name 'Hardhead'.  This used to be known as the White-eyed Duck but apparently the appropriate Committee found people were abbreviating this to White-eye and thus causing confusion with the genus Zosterops, which are small, finch-sized bush birds.  Go figure!  So they adopted the shooters name which apparently arose because the birds were hard to hit due to speed of flight and small frontal area.  Rather than admit they were lousy shots the lack of corpses was blamed on the species hard heads!

That is a long lead-in to a post mainly about  a macropod.  I call - and will continue to do so until the day after Hell freezes over - this animal a Swamp Wallaby, or if pressed for time a Swampie.  Apparently It has an alternate name of Black-tailed Wallaby (because they are sometime found away from swamps. 
 They do have a point: here it is on a lawn, showing a pretty dark tail.

Its a bit unusual in the local 'roo population as it is usually a browser rather than a grazer.  On this occasion is was going for ground level stuff rather than our shrubs.
Where the issue with names really gets gluey is that its scientific name is Wallabia bicolor.  I have no trouble with the Wallabia element: its a relatively small kangaroo so the wallaby fits.  However where do they get the bicolor bit from?  (I'm overlooking the poor spelling!)

Look at the following images and try to count the number of colours represented in the fur!

 The first few photos were taken through the kitchen window to make sure I got some photos.  However it didn't panic when I went outside and got these from a tad closer.

Personally I'd give this the name Wallabia bellusissimus: the cutest wallaby!

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