Most fishes have one generally accepted common name; for many fishes, the American Fisheries Society is the arbiter of names. A lot of better field guides use AFS names; so does the International Game Fish Association. Of course the ultimate common denominator is a species' Latin name; that designation is the same in any language. But Latin names aren't quite as much fun as common names. For example, think of a theme, such as animals. Right there, you can come up with: ratfish (bizarre deepwater fish; I've caught 'em in the North Pacific), catfish, batfish, dogfish, hogfish, frogfish, lizardfish, cowfish, pigfish, rabbitfish, squirrelfish, hawkfish, wolffish, lionfish, parrotfish and on and on. Of course to qualify to win our biweekly contests, you'll need to know the accepted common name (e.g. lingcod is the accepted common name for that species, Ophiodon elongatus; rockcod is not an accepted name for any of the North Pacific species of the genus Sebastes, but rockfish is). If uncertain, you can generally find common names listed on the definitive site, fishbase.org. And if possible, include a fish's scientific name with your entry; even if you list an incorrect common name, it won't matter if you get the Latin name correct. You'll find some pretty cool fish in the SF Name That Fish contest in coming weeks and months to test your knowledge. In fact here's a little hint for the very first fish you'll see in the contest, just for readers of this blog: It was caught in nearly 200 feet of water in the Bahamas; it's found in most warm seas worldwide. And, hey, call that fish whatever you want. After all, as the bard (sort of) said, a fish by any other name still smells the same!