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Walleye, sauger names swim into extinction


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Cincinnati - Fred Snyder has a wee question for the world's scientists, but it's a mouthful. Will those walleye taste the same when they become a plate full of Sander?

Of course, Snyder is just kidding. The Ohio State University Sea Grant specialist for Lake Erie knows that walleye - by any other name - will still be synonymous with lip-smackin' delicious.

Based in Port Clinton, a city that boasts it is the Walleye Capital of the World, Snyder is just a bit bemused because the world's fish experts have suddenly agreed to scrap the scientific name Stizostedion vitreum as the textbook definition for walleye.

Also swimming into extinction this summer is Stizostedion canadensis, the scientific name for sauger, the walleye's warm-water, look-alike cousin that thrives in turbid pools behind locks and dams on the Ohio River.

"You finally get all these names memorized and then they change them," Snyder carped. "It's sad because Stizostedion is one of the few scientific names that a good part of the fishing public knows."

The new scientific names are Sander vitreus for walleye and Sander canadensis for sauger.

With the switch, North America will be on the same page as Europe, which uses Sander as the scientific name for these giant members of the perch family.

Biologists are sticking with walleye as the common name, although they are often called pickerel and walleyed pike in Canada and across the Upper Midwest.

The change will become official later this summer when the American Fisheries Society completes its sixth version of "Common and Scientific Names of Fishes from the United States, Canada and Mexico." Scholars, academics and law-enforcement agencies use the book to precisely identify thousands of North American species. The new names also will go into "Fishes of the World," a text used around the globe.

Seven scientists from North America, serving as the Committee on the Names of Fishes from the American Fisheries Society and the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, voted unanimously to make the changes, said Joe Nelson, a retired professor at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

Nelson, the committee's chair, said the use of Sander (pronounced zander) by European scientists for the fishes' Old World genetic counterparts clearly predates use of Stizostedion on this side of the Atlantic. The name goes back to aquatic biology treatises that began appearing around 1818.

"Under the rules of zoologic nomenclature, Sander came first. Some people in Europe decided that we had to change - although we didn't want to - and we agreed they were correct," Nelson said in a telephone interview.

"Stizostedion was a nice-sounding name. It sounds like a nice, big, powerful fish. It sounds appropriate," he said. "Now it's just a Sander - oh well."

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The veddy idea sounds rawther silly to me. Good heavens man, what next? Potato chips will become crisps I suppose:)

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Does this mean that words like "color" will be spelled "colour"?

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I thought it was zander? The whole thing makes me want to go to the watercloset and heave!


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