Proposal (92) to South American Classification Committee


English name of Amaurospiza carrizalensis


We just unanimously voted to accept the newly described Amaurospiza carrizalensis Lentino & Restall, 2003, to our list of species. Lentino & Restall's suggested English name was "Carrizal Blue Seedeater." The problem with this is that we already have a plain old "Blue Seedeater" (A. concolor) and perhaps the only principle agreed upon by all who are interested in English names is that such offshoot modifications of English names without also modifying the "parental" English name are "bad" (because they lead to confusion). For example, calling Troglodytes troglodytes "Wren" is a no-no when there are lots of other wrens that are called "[Whatever] Wren." Thus, we are forced, in my opinion, to either modify "Blue Seedeater" for A. concolor, or create a modifier for it along the lines of "Regular Blue Seedeater." Besides disturbing a long-standing English name, such a modification would imply a closer relationship between it and carrizalensis than between either of them and A. moesta ("Blackish-blue Seedeater") ... or else we could modify the latter to "Blackish-blue Blue Seedeater" ... [just kidding].


I propose that we modify Lentino & Restall's name to just "Carrizal Seedeater." I have no enticing alternatives, so a "NO" vote on this proposal is interpreted as "something other than" Carrizal Seedeater, to be determined later, and I'm open to suggestions.



LENTINO, M., AND R. RESTALL. 2003. A new species of Amaurospiza blue seedeater from Venezuela. Auk 120: 600-606.


Van Remsen, January 2004




Comments from Nores:"[NO = something other than Carrizal]: La palabra "carrizal" es una palabra espa–ola que no considero apropiada para un nombre inglˇs. Por lo tanto, sugiero el nombre de Reed-grass Seedeater para Amaurospiza carrizalensis."


Comments from Stiles: "A qualified YES. Carrizal is the type locality, is it not? (My Auk still hasn't arrived, so I don't have the paper) If so, I approve, since in my opinion the best use for toponyms is to call attention to restricted distributions of potential conservation importance. In any case, at least in Costa Rica "carrizal" means bamboo thicket, which I gather is the situation in Venezuela - but this is by no means universal as in Colombia the equivalent terms are "guadual" (the big, spiny native construction bamboo) and "chuscal" (smaller montane bamboos). Hence, if one must have a "proper" English name, I could suggest "Canebrake Seedeater" as Amaurospiza are always associated with bamboo in my experience. However, if the type Locality is named Carrizal, I really see no problem with "Carrizal Seedeater."


[Note from Remsen: the type locality is Isla Carrizal.]


Comments from Zimmer: "YES. I agree with Van that we can't use "Carrizal Blue-Seedeater" without concomitant changes in the names of the other Amaurospiza. If other committee members object to Carrizal Seedeater on the grounds of regional differences in the meaning of "Carrizal", then I could be persuaded to go with Gary's suggestion of "Canebrake Seedeater".


Comments from Jaramillo: "YES. Carrizal Seedeater is a fine name, and better than Carrizal Blue Seedeater."