The Mammal Networked Information System

Classic Localities

While georeferencing localities at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, students have encountered a wide variety of descriptions. Most localities are "run of the mill", others provide challenges, but some are just plain absurd. Below are a few of the "classic" localities that have been encountered. May they make you feel less embarrassed about some of the localities in your own collections...

"Alaska, off the coast of California"

"Lake of Boys"

"possibly central Chile"

"between Los Angeles and San Francisco"

"Mexico to Argentina"
(I borrowed this one from Entomology.)

"Strawberry Canyon, 200 yards from nearest building, Berkeley"

"Location 201"
(Collected by 007, no doubt.)

"Sonoma Co. side Gualala River, Mendocino Co."

"19 mi W Boonville"
(Taken literally, this would have been the world’s first pelagic chipmunk.)

"Road, 100 yds N Lava Beds National Monument"

"Bob Jones’ yard"
(This is actually a rather specific locality - if you know Bob Jones.)

(Well, it wasn’t as bad as it might seem. It was in Marin Co., after all.)

"mess up"
(Umm, yeah.)

"Pet Store"


"lab born"

(Honest, but not very helpful. Every collection has some of these.)

"Berkeley, Long and Evans Culture Rat"
(Creative use of the locality field.)

(No idea how that got in there. It was actually from a Botanical Garden.)

"4800 ft"
(At least it's better than 4078 - it has units!)

"E of Vina"
(That narrows it down! Well, we know it was in Tehama Co. anyway.)

"Frog Bragg"
(Frog from Fort Bragg, perhaps?)

(C to the Carnuth power?)

"Bridge E of Lodge"

"near Sand dunes"

"Lamb Chester C"
(First documented person as a locality.)

"200 mi N Strawberry Creek, Clam Beach"
(Why Strawberry Creek was the reference point is anybody’s guess.)

"Nevada border"

"7/8 mi N, 5/8 mi E Pearson Massacre Site"
(A large amount of collecting was done there afterwards.)

"Highway 17, Park Ave. offramp, Oakland"
(There is no Park Ave. anywhere near Highway 17. The specimen was a Boa constrictor, in case you were wondering.)

"Murreus Upper Meadow, near spring 2 mi E of Elfs"
(Just down the trail from the trolls.)

"Martin Creek, 2.4 mi N, 1.2 mi S Antelope Mountain"
(That was a well-distributed specimen.)

"Taylor and Bryant"
(First documented group of people as a locality.)

(A difficult place to be for most of us mammals.)

"on living room floor of 7244 Myrtle Ave., Eureka"
(A Plecotus townsendii, FYI.)

"between Eanym and Mosswood Rds., Berkeley"
(It turns out that Eanym was a creative spelling of Canyon.)

"In 2 feet of water, Lake Tahoe"
(Please don’t ask how to figure out the error on this one!)

"Hills of Humboldt Co."

"Cedar Creek 1.6km W and 8km E Willow Creek"
(Interesting topology.)

"within 100 mi of Trinidad (range of ship)"

"National Park"
(Nice example of specificity - not.)

"Tourism Park"
(Even better example of specificity - not.)

(This one takes the cake.)

(OK, I give up.)


"Zzyzx Springs Resort"
(There's actually nothing wrong with this one - it really exists.)

"Failed Motel"
(Definitely a step down from the Zzyzx.)

"Linger Longer"
(No longer exists, and definitely not anywhere near the Failed Motel.)

"In a 4 foot square box of iron plate. Box in full sun, 20 yds. from intermittent stream."

"Joshua Tree National Monument, 700 mi W Indian Cave Road"

"S of Salton, below sea level"

(This one was actually supposed to be "8 mi NW Sutter, Marysville Buttes.")

"A small poblado 10-15 by Rd. S Caribbean, Costa Rica"

(Fair enough, but not with county being San Bernardino County, California.)

"over water hole"
(In Garfield County, Utah - so maybe it's the only one.)

"from Costa Rican bananas in northern Oklahoma"

"in Bunch of Bananas from Costa Rica [?]"

"Largest Follicle 4Mm, Oviduct Enlarged, Ovary 17Mm"

"from owl pellets"

"unmarked road"

"1-3 mi W Alaska, Baja California"

"Pacific Ocean somewhere toward Australia"

"Hell, California"
(Population: growing)

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John Wieczorek, 19 Jul 2002
Rev. 25 Aug 2005, JRW
University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, Copyright © 2001, The Regents of the University of California.