Name It

January 25, 2021 daryl bauer

I have hesitated to blog about this.

I am so confused.

According to the latest e-mail I received this morning from the Walleye Technical Committee of the North Central Division of the American Fisheries Society, it is officially Stizostedion and NOT Sander.


Let me explain.  Most of us learned that the scientific name of walleye was Stizostedion vitreum.  I am pretty sure I even memorized that in an Ichthyology class.  Then there was some question about that, and it was determined that Sander vitreus was more appropriate.  Then it was not. . . .

You see there are scientists with very pointy heads that specialize in classification and naming.  They pour over historical records and look at who named what, when.  In the lab, they poke at decades-old specimens preserved in bottles.  They scrutinize the latest genetics research.  Then, they argue over which names are appropriate for which fish.

Stizostedion won out.

Some of you were not aware of this titantic debate, and even more of you do not even care.  In fact, you always thought it was Stizostedion vitreum.  Know what?  You were right all along.

Most species of fish have a variety of popular names.  Often those names change from one area to another.  I always thought it was important to know scientific names of the fish I love, because those names do not change.  A bluegill is Lepomis macrochirus wherever it swims no matter if the locals call it “brim”, “bream”, “perch”, “sunny”, or “‘gill”.

Turns out I was wrong.  Scientific names change too, and sometimes pointy heads just cannot make up their minds.

Don’t really make no difference.  I will still call ’em walleyes, or maybe “whitetips”.  And, I will always love ’em.


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