7 Insects and small reptiles
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7 Insects and small reptiles book
The Wola further contradict what we generally take to be tenets of scientiﬁc classiﬁcation by giving the same name to two or more animals which, although similar, are not, they acknowledge, identical. This is particularly noticeable with sor ‘birds’, although individuals may do it with all animals. Regarding the naming of birds, people are aware that they sometimes use one name for two or more different-looking birds; for example aymonk ‘honeyeaters’, ibilduwlpis ‘warblers’, mongol ‘swiftlets’ and waentuw ‘berrypeckers’. They say that they give these birds the same name because they always occur together in pairs, that when one of them sings the other comes. They may refer to such creatures, if a pair, as such-and-such ‘father and mother’ (ab injiy kab) – for example tobayztomb ab and tobayztomb injiy (Pachycephala spp.), pointing out that these birds are ‘one body’ regarding shape and size but differ with respect to colour, the father having a brighter yellow chest. It is possible that these animals are sometimes male and female of the same species, complying with standard zoological practice, which is intriguing given Wola ideas about bird gender and their practice of differentiating unwittingly between some birds by sex. At other times they may refer to such animals, if there is a marked size difference between them, as ‘large’ or ‘small’ (onda or genk) – for example kuwshbiya onda and kuwshbiya genk to distinguish between egrets and herons (Egretta spp. and Notophoyx spp.); sometimes people also talk of creatures as ‘middling’ (tuwguwn) in distinguishing by size between three animals of ‘one name’.