Re: About sea slug names

November 3, 2001
From: Kathe R. Jensen

Dear Bill,
This is not really about sea slug names, but it is about "managing" common names. I am collaborating with a Cambodian fisheries biologist, and we are producing some posters with marine life of Cambodia. The first 2 posters (crabs and bivalves) caused no problems. We showed our pictures to fishermen in different villages, and they gave us the names they used. So, of course some of the most common species have different "common" names in the Khmer language (which, by the way, have very beautiful letters - which unfortunately I cannot read). We just completed the lay-out for the second set of posters, and could not find common names for 2 prosobranch snails of the genus Oliva. I thought we would just go ahead and print without Khmer names, but my colleague thought we should try to make some, and he asked me about the meaning of the Latin names. It is not easy to explain what an olive is to someone who has never seen one! Finally we decided to call someone in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and it appears that in Cambodia there is actually a very complicated bureaucratic way of having new names applied to previously "unknown" objects. I believe that this applies mostly to electronic equipment and other new inventions, but apparently also to names for animals and plants. You have to submit an application explaining about the name in foreign languages, and there is a review board, which then has to approve the name, and I believe it even has to have a ministerial signature to be "official". - Well,we decided to take those 2 species out of the poster and replace them with species that had a Khmer name.

Jensen, K.R., 2001 (Nov 3) Re: About sea slug names . [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Kathe,
Thanks for a wonderful story,
Bill Rudman

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