Talk:Boulenger's cape tortoise

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Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was not moved. Appeals to official names on either side were not given a great deal of consideration, but the recognition argument—almost everyone knows what a tortoise is; very few people know what a padloper is—was compelling in terms of WP:AT. --BDD (talk) 21:38, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

– Request rename, as these are the official and recognised names of Homopus species, used by government biodiversity bodies such as the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and Cape Nature (http://www.capenature.co.za/resources.htm?sm[p1][category]=749 ) as well as other authoritative organisations such as the Homopus Foundation (http://www.homopus.org/ ). The list potentially goes on. The Homopus species are endemic to South African and Namibia. So importantly, their official names that I'm proposing have the recognition of the actual government bodies which manage biodiversity in the countries in which these species are endemic.

The outdated names are also deeply misleading. The Homopus species aren't "Cape Tortoises" because all but one of the species don't occur in the Cape - only (Homopus areolatus) does, and the other unrelated tortoise species that DO occur at the Cape are of other genera (Chersina, Psammobates), not Homopus. The so-called "Karoo Cape Tortoise" (Homopus femoralis) is actually not the one which lives predominantly in the Karoo - its centre of distribution is the grasslands of the Free State. Therefore it's now officially the "Greater Padloper". Homopus boulengeri on the other hand IS 100 percent restricted to the Karoo region, and is therefore officially named the "Karoo Padloper". I hope you can now begin to appreciate how confusing and misleading the out-dated naming is. For these (and other inaccuracies) the current names are no longer recognised by the government biodiversity bodies here, and should be changed. Relisted. BDD (talk) 17:10, 28 June 2013 (UTC) Abu Shawka (talk) 14:28, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

  • The proposed titles should use sentence-case capitalization (see WP:NCCAPS)—Karoo padloper, Greater padloper, etc. Only bird articles are named in title case, and even this goes against multiple naming conventions. --BDD (talk) 17:20, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment - BDD combined five individual move requests in order to facilitate discussion of all of these in one place (see {{subst:Move-multi}}). Given that, the proposal should read "these are the official names of these species..." rather than "this is the official name of Homopus Boulengeri..." – Wbm1058 (talk) 19:04, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose - current names are offical ones used by IUCN. Regards, Sun Creator(talk) —Preceding undated comment added 02:11, 15 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose – the proposed titles have wrong case, and no case has been made that these are more recognizable or natural or precise. Dicklyon (talk) 12:46, 15 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment - I should add that, while the IUCN site may not have updated all of its materials, the namings I've proposed are not controversial in the Zoology field. They're used in all biodiversity fora here and, far more importantly, have the recognition of the government bodies which officially manage biodiversity in the relevant countries. See above for why the current Wikipedia titles are not only imprecise, but also misleading. Regarding capitalisation, I will let you judge what system is best.Abu Shawka (talk) 13:37, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Abu left an extended rationale at my talk page, although it looks like much of that has been placed here as well. --BDD (talk) 22:24, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment: Whatever is decided here, Speckled padloper tortoise really ought to move somewhere, to remove the duplication from the current name. bobrayner (talk) 21:45, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Names using "tortoise" would be much more recognizable to most people as referring to a type of tortoise, and if the IUCN uses the "XXX tortoise" names, that's sufficient evidence that this form is acceptable as a common name. I'm much more knowledgeable about reptiles than the average person, and the word "padloper" was completely unrecognizable to me. —BarrelProof (talk) 17:37, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
Further remarks: The results of consulting three reliable sources are as follows: The Completely Illustrated Atlas of Reptiles and Amphibians for the Terrarium, by J. Obst, K. Richter, and U. Jacob (1988), Reptiles and Amphibians in Captivity – Breeding, Longevity and Inventory, by F. Slavens and K. Slavens (1991), and The Herpetology Sourcebook of 1996-1997 by Reptile & Amphibian magazine (chapter on "Protected Species: C.I.T.E.S. and Federal Lists"):
  • Homopus as "Parrot-beaked Tortoises" (no mention of "Cape" or "Padloper" in Obst, Richter & Jacob; this level not named in Slavens & Slavens or the Sourcebook)
  • H. areolatus as "Parrot-beaked Tortoise" (by the same name in all three sources)
  • H. boulengeri as "Donner-weer Tortoise" in Obst, Richter & Jacob and also in the Sourcebook; and "Boulenger's Cape Tortoise" in Slavens & Slavens
  • H. femoralis as "Karroo Tortoise" in both Obst, Richter & Jacob and also in the Sourcebook (not listed in Slavens & Slavens) – note the spelling here with double 'r' in both sources
  • H. signatus as "Speckled Tortoise" in Obst, Richter & Jacob and the Sourcebook; and "Speckled Cape Tortoise" in Slavens & Slavens
  • H. solus is not mentioned in any of those three sources
None of these sources contains the word "padloper" at all. This confirms my prior vague impression that "padloper" is not really a very common or recognizable term for tortoises (at least among most people outside of South Africa, where it is apparently a word in Afrikaans). Perhaps someone is officially calling these the "common names", but they do not seem to actually be very common. —BarrelProof (talk) 17:40, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Footnote: It has occurred to me that the Obst and Sourcebook references might have both been published by the same publisher (TFH Publications), so it is possible that those two (of the three that I checked) may not be entirely independent sources. They seem to agree exactly, including the spelling of "Karroo". The Sourcebook doesn't have a publisher name – it says it is from Reptile & Amphibian magazine. That magazine seems to no longer exist, but I think it was a T.F.H. magazine. —BarrelProof (talk) 02:42, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
I've no doubt that outside of South Africa many books use the old terms (That wasn't really the point I was making). The issue was that the old terms are misleading and in some cases incorrect. That is why the government bodies in Southern Africa have updated their English names (By the way, I think the outdated spelling of "Kar(r)oo" should be looked at as a clue re. that reference. As should the complete omission of H.solus! With all possible respect due, some of those sources sound like pet-keeping books from the northern hemisphere; I would recommend biodiversity sources from government authorised science bodies. Please check the site of SANBI as they are the ultimate decision-makers on this and other naming) To copy again, from above:
"...The Homopus species aren't "Cape Tortoises" because all but one of the species don't occur in the Cape - only (Homopus areolatus) does, and the other unrelated tortoise species that DO occur at the Cape are of other genera (Chersina, Psammobates), not Homopus. The so-called "Karoo Cape Tortoise" (Homopus femoralis) is actually not the one which lives predominantly in the Karoo - its centre of distribution is the grasslands of the Free State. Therefore it's now officially the "Greater Padloper". Homopus boulengeri on the other hand IS 100 percent restricted to the Karoo region, and is therefore officially named the "Karoo Padloper". I hope you can now begin to appreciate how confusing and misleading the out-dated naming is. For these (and other inaccuracies) wikipedia's current names are no longer recognised by the government biodiversity bodies here, and should be changed."
I do take your point about people elsewhere not knowing South African English names. Perhaps there's room for compromise here (at least until the new names become known in the rest of the world). However the dominant local English term does surely have a say in these cases, especially when authorised by the relevant government body for the country in which the thing occurs.
eg. Type "Bombay" into the wikipedia search bar, and press enter. (now try the same for "Madras", "Calcutta" etc)Abu Shawka (talk) 09:25, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for your further comment. I think we should be able to arrive at a reasonable approach. Those books I referenced aren't actually pet-keeping books, although TFH does publish such books, so I can see how you might get that impression. The Obst Atlas provides comprehensive species coverage and does not provide care instructions (it equally covers things like cobras, mambas, and salt-water crocs, which are not exactly pets, and it is not written in a style that would appeal to ordinary pet keepers), the quoted chapter of the Herpetology Sourcebook was a C.I.T.E.S. and species regulation reference list, which is clearly not intended for pet care, and the Slavens & Slavens book was a very-well-known reference published annually for about 25 years by the resident herpetologist of a zoo, and was primarily used by zoos and others with professional interests. But all that's not really so important – those are just the best sources that I had at hand. Someone else pointed to IUCN, which is certainly an excellent reference (and does not use the suggested names).
The question here is primarily one of common names. Even if a common name is "wrong", you can't change it by fiat. Milk snakes have nothing to do with milk, but their name persists nevertheless.
My point is primarily that we should use names that are recognizable (i.e. using 'tortoise' instead of 'padloper') and that are well-accepted world-wide, not just in southern Africa and not necessarily the names that would be chosen by people who focus most intently on these particular species. We are looking for common names for a world-wide encyclopedia, not official names for southern African specialists.
I therefore suggest that H. signatus should be at "Speckled tortoise". I am less sure about the others except to suggest avoiding "padloper" names (since "padloper" doesn't seem to be well-established as a common term outside of southern Africa). Perhaps H. areolatus should be at "Parrot-beaked tortoise". Do those two seem acceptable to you?
BarrelProof (talk) 18:32, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Undiscussed move note: While this discussion was ongoing (at the end of 23 June), Gigemag76 moved three of these articles (apparently without discussion), so they have different names now. The WP:Edit summary for all three moves was "caps" (although that's clearly not an accurate description of one of the moves).
  • "Beaked cape tortoise" became "Common padloper"
  • "Boulenger's cape tortoise" became "Boulenger's Cape tortoise"
  • "Karoo cape tortoise" became "Karoo Cape tortoise".
BarrelProof (talk) 18:11, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Yes I see. I also don't think that Gigemag's move resolved any of the aforementioned issues. eg. There are still two Karoo tortoises (the one with that title is still the one that doesn't live in the Karoo) and there's still inconsistency with "Padloper" vs. "Cape Tortoise" Abu Shawka (talk) 09:25, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Additional naming discussion[edit]

  • Post-move note: I had expected to revert Gigemag's moves as contrary to consensus at this RM, but the capitalization of Cape seems legitimate since it presumably refers to a specific cape. The move of Beaked cape tortoise to Common padloper will be reverted, however, albeit with this capitalization. --BDD (talk) 21:42, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Non-closer comment: Unless there is some rapid objection, I am likely to make a bold move of "Speckled padloper tortoise" to "Speckled tortoise", per the comments by bobrayner and myself in this discussion. —BarrelProof (talk) 23:31, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
    • After 24 hours with no objection, I am proceeding to do that. —BarrelProof (talk) 00:30, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Addendum: I notice that the IUCN Appendix 1. Regional Species Lists also uses a double 'r' in "Karroo Cape tortoise". —BarrelProof (talk) 00:33, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
    • Seems like a typo from that 1988 source, other (more recent) IUCN sources use Karoo, plus Karoo is from the Karoo region. Regards, Sun Creator(talk) 18:36, 23 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Even it's already done, I retract my oppose. The sources are varied and the move requesters point that they are no longer on the 'Cape' is a good one. Regards, Sun Creator(talk) 18:53, 23 August 2013 (UTC)
Dear all, there will continue to be issues about the common names of these species, as there's no standardisation of them outside of South Africa. In particular, there seems to be one line of disagreement between the South Africans/Europeans on the one side, and the Americans on the other.
Only the scientific names are standardised across the world, so these should probably be used for the article titles - as a last resort.
I see that Homopus signatus is even sometimes given the baby name of "Speckled tortoise" (a vaguely descriptive nickname surely shared by a dozen other unrelated species around the world). These unstandardised common names only serve to muddy the waters, to obscure the agreed grouping of these species into the Homopus genus ("padlopers" or "Cape Tortoises") and to make biologists working here scratch their heads in frustration - trust me, I've asked several of them here in Cape Town about this exact wikipedia issue.
I would suggest that you either use the names of THE authoritative bodies locally (ie. the South African Government's biodiversity authority, SANBI, Cape Nature etc. which all agree on the local English names of the "Padlopers"), or use the names of the relevant international bodies like IUCN (ie. "Cape Tortoises", although some species in the genus are nowhere near the Cape!) or like the international "Homopus Research Foundation" (which also uses the name "Padlopers" and agrees with the South African & Namibian authorities).
However, expect that there will still be disagreement. You will continue to get somebody somewhere else in the world with a terrarium book that uses a different set of names, or leaves out a species or two.
The only set of names that are standardised internationally for this genus, are the scientific names, and these would perhaps be the least controversial names to use for the species in Homopus.
Otherwise this ongoing battle between South Africans/Europeans vs. Americans about the Homopus common names will go on! Please consult Victor Loehr of the international Homopus Research Foundation, or Dr Ernst Baard of Cape Nature, if you're not sure that I'm representing their organisations' opinions accurately.Abu Shawka (talk) 12:27, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
The IUCN refers this species as Boulenger's Cape tortoise. That is the same name this article currently uses as its title. Biologists would presumably be familiar with the IUCN, so I don't see a major problem here. —BarrelProof (talk) 17:10, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
The issue, Barrelproof, is that the naming system you advocate has long since been consigned to the dustbin here, and by international bodies of scientists such as the HRF, for being misleading. Strange as it sounds, the prior names were actually "wrong", and that's why they're being phased out.
Example: Your "Karoo Cape Tortoise" doesn't live in the Karoo (or even the Cape for that matter!) It lives in grasslands in the highveld, far inland. However it is the largest Homopus species, so it's officially dubbed the "Greater Padloper". Meanwhile your Boulenger's Cape Tortoise actually DOES live in the Karoo, and pretty much only the Karoo - it IS the Karoo species. It is therefore officially known here as the "Karoo Padloper". etc.etc. I hope you can sympathise with the frustration South Africans feel at the bizarre names that are used in America being posted proudly on Wikipedia as the primary names of these species! Nobody here has even heard of a "Cape Tortoise"! (Why "Cape"? Some live in Namibia, or far inland at great altitude! Isn't the Angulate tortoise more of a "Cape Tortoise"?) Similar to some international bodies like HRF, we call them Homopus tortoises or Padlopers. Try to understand how you'd feel if us South Africans fought to impose an outdated and deeply misleading naming system on your species there.
I'm not disputing that some other international bodies use different common names for these species. (In some countries they're even known as "Homopods"!) but the key issue in this whole dispute boils down to this:
Homopus is a genus where all the species have agreed-upon scientific names, but HUGELY varied and contentious common names. The compromise solution seems obvious...
The articles should be named according to the only names which are NOT highly disputed or misleading - the scientific names. The common names (all of them if you like) can then be given in the first sentence of the opening paragraph/intro. This is what you see in a great many wikipedia articles on species where the common name is obscure or not agreed upon. Might I suggest it as a reasonable compromise? Abu Shawka (talk) 11:04, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
I should add, there's an additional advantage of moving to a scientific naming system. It would allow the names to indicate all the species' location in a closely related genus.
By the way, that's another reason for the move towards "padlopers" as a group name. "Nama padloper" and "Karoo padloper" are more clear on their taxonomic place, than "Nama tortoise" and "Boulenger's Cape Tortoise"! The common name, just like the scientific name, indicates the genus and the species. Far neater. Anyway, I think the scientific naming system would be best here, as I despair of ever bringing anyone on wikipedia around to the name "padloper"!Abu Shawka (talk) 14:30, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
We have no indication that the common names in the article are being "phased out" in the international community. Nor do we have any indication that the common naming is highly controversial. If you can find reliable sources that say that there is a controversy about that, I encourage you to add a discussion of the subject into the article. —BarrelProof (talk) 05:18, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Barrelproof, the reliable source for the contention has already been covered in this discussion. It is, simply, that entirely DIFFERENT naming systems are used by:
a)South African and European authorities (government and NGO) on the one hand, and ..
b)American sources (and your terrarium book from the 1990s) on the other.
System A is more recent, and less misleading. It is used in all the new work being done by the international Homopus Research Foundation, by the South African National Biodiversity Institute and by the Cape Nature Conservation Department (among others). This is where the information that the IUCN uses feeds from.
System B is actually wrong. It almost switches the names of two of the species (see the ridiculously named "Karoo Cape Tortoise" article!) It's a bit like if we insisted that we name a tortoise that lives only in Canada "The Alabama Tortoise" and named the tortoise in Alabama "The Canadian tortoise". That's why system B is no longer used here - however it seems that some groups like the IUCN (and your terrarium book) still ALSO keep record of the old system, presumably for some more slow-to-adapt international audiences.
You might be interested to know that there's zero contention here in Southern Africa, with regards to their naming system. We ALL now use the new (and correct) system that's put forward by the relevant government and scientific authorities. Please see any of their websites (or post 1990s publications) if you still don't believe me. I might even have copied them above. We're not even aware of the debate - we just think that the wikipedia articles are a bit mad.Abu Shawka (talk) 08:28, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
International Wikipedians should please see the current naming system used by all the reputable bodies here in Namibia and South Africa. The whole "Cape Tortoise" madness is not familiar here. I only know about it because I have seen it used in old papers from the USA. I am a tortoise keeper and conservationist based in Cape Town. I run the Cape Tortoise Group (please find me, on that group, on facebook if you'd like to chat, Barrelproof) and have comms with the scientists who are writing on these species right now, in habitat. S Molteno (talk) 08:46, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Steven. I really want to get Dirk Barnard onto wikipedia to weigh in on this too.
I would however recommend that IF some parts of the world still haven't adapted to the Padloper naming system, then we should forgo enforcing our naming system on them, on condition that they don't push their outdated and very clearly wrong system on us.
This debate will only get worse (as more South Africans and Europeans get involved in Wikipedia). Like the metric system, Americans will continue to resist the change! The more I think about it, the more I feel that the ONLY way out of this debate is to use the scientific names, until a NON-misleading common-name system is agreed upon.Abu Shawka (talk) 08:55, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Barrelproof, I know I've posted rather a lot here (especially for the irregular wikipedian that I am!), but I just want to add an interesting snippet about the "padloper" name, and the reasons why it has been chosen to be preferable.
Firstly, it has history and it's unique. "Pad-loper" means "path-walker" in the local language. It refers to the rather endearing habit these tiny species have, of making little tunnel-like paths through the grass and undergrowth, that they use as their highways.
Secondly, it binds the species into a tigh-knit genus. They're all very closely related and their taxonomy is now standardised so. The name indicates this close family relationship and similar lifestyle.
Thirdly, it doesn't bind them to a geographic region that they're not restricted to. "Cape Tortoise" implies that they're tied to the Cape, which not all of them are. In contrast, Chersina angulata or Psammobates geometricus really ARE Cape tortoises, as they're restricted to the Cape and its vegetation types. However they are entirely different genera.
Lastly, it's the name that is USED by the people who most come in contact with the species and deal with it the most. Locals (English AND Afrikaans) ALL use it. Scientists that are pushing forward the research on these species all use it too.
It's really a shame that some bodies have taken so long to adjust to this naming system, as it's authoritative, historical, clear, descriptive, unique, concise and actually also rather characterful!Abu Shawka (talk) 09:14, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

Discussion on naming move[edit]

There is a discussion here to change the name of one of the species to its scientific name and use pointers for the various common names. I have proposed this apply to all 5 species due to the amount of discussion in the past on this. Anyone wishing to comment please do so. Cheers, Faendalimas talk 00:10, 15 June 2014 (UTC)