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Though wildlife species in North America may be known by a variety of regional and local names, good communication about these animals invariably requires a standardized list of common names. Without a common reference, mutual understanding becomes difficult, and the drafting of laws and statutes designed to protect these species becomes nearly impossible. Some of the amphibians and reptiles of North America may be known by an assortment of different names. Many other North American species of amphibians and reptiles simply do not have names in French at all. Meanwhile, increasingly sophisticated techniques of molecular genetics have enabled discoveries that require taxonomies to be continually refined and updated, and this necessitates changes to scientific and vernacular nomenclature. It has therefore become more and more important to develop and maintain a list of standardized common names in French for the amphibians and reptiles of North America.
The authors set out to establish a list of standard names for amphibians and reptiles in French. To do that, they used the taxonomy and species list presented by Crother (2012) and employed pre-existing French-Canadian and Cajun names whenever possible. But to deal with the much greater number of species, and provide each one of them with a unique name, in many cases they needed to change some names currently in use or create completely new names. A lexicon of names such as this will inevitably evolve and be refined. The intention is that this list will prove to be useful to herpetologists in communicating in French.