From the people who brought you new names for spongy moth, Northern giant hornet, and maybe soon the “mustelid tick.” The Entomological Society of America’s “Better Common Names Project” is doing it right.

ESA states some common names hinder better communication about insect species. Examples include:

*Names that contain derogative terms
*Names for invasive species with inappropriate geographic references
*Names that inappropriately disregard what the insect might be called by native communities

“These problematic names perpetuate harm against people of various ethnicities and races, create an entomological and cultural environment that is unwelcoming and non-inclusive, disrupt communication and outreach, and counteract the very purpose of common names.”

Rules and guidelines for proposing a new common name, include: words that unnecessarily incite offense, fear or promote negative emotional reactions (e.g., epidemic, murder, invasive) are strongly discouraged. Descriptors of cultures, populations, ethnicity, race, and industries/occupations are generally not acceptable.

Source: Entomological Society of America, Better Names Project

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