Back in February, we issued a call for help. As Dr. Eleanor had keenly observed while researching species for her Book of Common Ants, Forelius pruinosus, a very common North American ant with a big personality, had NO common name. Unacceptable! Especially given that so many other common ants have interesting and descriptive monikers: big-headed ant, carpenter ant, thief ant, and the like.
We solicited your suggestions on our blog and in-person during outreach events at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. And WOW! The suggestions really rolled in — We were so impressed by your creativity and enthusiasm. With the help of a few ant experts, we narrowed your numerous suggestions to four finalists that we thought best reflected the behavior and natural history of the species. And then, in the spirit of democracy, we put it to a vote.
The polls closed at midnight on April 30, 2013. And somehow in the midst of this crazy spring — filled with mite madness, lots of thinking about indoor evolution, and the emergence of periodical cicadas – we forgot to tell you WHO WON. Oops.
Now hold your horses, cowboys and cowgirls. Things aren’t official quite yet.
On May 10, we submitted our official common name proposal to the Entomological Society of America (ESA) Committee on the Common Names of Insects. You can geek out and read all the gory details in the pdf of our proposal.
Turns out deliberations like these can take awhile. So we waited. And waited. And then yesterday, we received official word from the Common Names Committee – the high noon ant name was approved by the Committee on Monday, July 15. HOORAY!
So what’s next? The name now has to go before the ESA membership for a 30-day comment period beginning on July 31 and thereafter has to be approved by the ESA Governing Board, which might take another 30 days or so.
And so we’ll wait some more, but it’s looking like the ‘high noon ant’ name has a promising future as a common name for Forelius pruinosus!