03 July 2005

Say's creatures

The pioneering naturalist Thomas Say (1787-1834) has had many animals named after him. Among these is Sayornis saya (Say's phoebe), an insectivorous bird of central and western U.S. and Mexico.

Photo from here.

There is also the predatory freshwater fish Aphredoderus sayanus (pirate perch) named in honor of Say.

Photo from here.

Say considered himself primarily an entomologist and described hundreds of insects. In turn, other entomologists named insects after him, including Chlorochroa sayi, a stink bug.

Photo from here.

A previous post of mine was about Say as the first American naturalist to publish about American mollusks. And, of course, mollusks have been named after him, including this land snail, Mesodon sayanus. It was actually Say who first described this snail in 1824 as Helix diodonta, but that name had already been given to another species. Henry Pilsbry redescribed the species and named it after Say in 1906.

Photo from Pilsbry, 1940.

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