The Mottled Jumper: a new common name for a jumping spider

A couple of weeks ago I set up a poll so that you could help give a jumping spider a common name.  This was all made possible thanks to a series of fun twitter conversations which ultimately led to the list of potential common names for Sitticus fasciger.

Sitticus fasciger, photo by Thomas Shahan, reproduced here with permission.

Sitticus fasciger, photo by Thomas Shahan, reproduced here with permission.

Crowdsourcing a common name received a bit of press (e.g., CBC Homerun, the afternoon radio show in Montreal), and this led to discussions about the process of giving species a common name.  For the record, with about 20,000 described arthropods in Canada, fewer than 1700 have common names (you can refer to the Entomological Society of Canada’s list of common names). There’s a lot of work to do!  There is a committee within the Entomological Society of Canada, and anyone can submit a common name - there is even a fillable form!  However, the common name must make sense, and have some meaning that relates to the species biology, appearance, or life history. A group of experts will evaluate the proposal, and if accepted, a species can receive a common name.  So, after this project with Sitticus fasciger, my work is not done: I will now proceed to get the selected common name officially accepted, and will eventually submit it for approval to the Entomological Society of America, also.

OK, enough of this… what about the poll results?

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 9.29.59 AM

Sitticus fasciger: over a hundred people have spoken… and the common name selected is the Mottled Jumper. That name received over 45% of the vote. It is also my personal favourite – mottled refers to irregular arrangement of patches of colour, and is an accurate description of the spider.

In sum, THANKS everyone for taking part – it was a fun project, and hopefully there will be more to come in the future.

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