B vs. V and Totoaba vs. Totuava

David K - 7-29-2015 at 10:08 AM

The v and b in Spanish are so close in sound (closer to the English b), it is often swapped...

The word is BUENA (GOOD), as in Good Pitayas for sale.

I know the trend is to spell the giant gulf fish 'Totoaba', but it has always been Totuava in most earlier literature... sometimes an r is in there too (tortuava)!

Here is that old spelling, from Wiki:
Back before the ban on the totuava in 1975 there was a world record species caught by a spearfisherman named Hal Lewis of San Diego, CA. The fish was caught in Guaymas on 11/20/1962 and tipped the scales at 33.8kg or 74.5 lbs. The record still stands today due to government closing the fishery.

BajaRat - 7-29-2015 at 10:21 AM

Mmmm Pitaya ;)

woody with a view - 7-29-2015 at 10:23 AM

since many Mexicans are not a published author you will forgive their ignorance, eh?

David K - 7-29-2015 at 10:26 AM

Quote: Originally posted by BajaRat  
Mmmm Pitaya ;)

Oh yes, you can say that again! I was with Antonio 'BajaCactus' at that fruit stand in San Quintin (November, 2004)...

On the right is the fruit with spines, on the left they were trimmed and ready to eat.
The fruit was brought up from La Paz.

Antonio shows me how to peel the fruit... it's easy!

Very juicy, 100% edible, tiny strawberry-like seeds, like biting into a cherry popcycle!
Thank you Antonio

Udo - 7-29-2015 at 10:56 AM

They make great margaritas.

BajaRat - 7-29-2015 at 11:01 AM

^^^ My favorite

larryC - 7-29-2015 at 11:25 AM

Also makes great jam.

David K - 7-29-2015 at 11:30 AM

Quote: Originally posted by larryC  
Also makes great jam.

Yum, totuava jam! (jusk kidding with you Larry) :lol:

BajaRat - 7-29-2015 at 01:12 PM

^^^ Cool link,
Thanks, Lionel

David K - 7-29-2015 at 01:20 PM

Quote: Originally posted by lencho  
Quote: Originally posted by David K  
I know the trend is to spell the giant gulf fish 'Totoaba', but it has always been Totuava in most earlier literature... sometimes an r is in there]

What do you consider "earlier"? As of 1890 its scientific name was established as Totoaba macdonaldi, which should carry some influence.

Think that reference is here, should you be interested:

Gilbert, C.H. 1890. A preliminary report on the fishes collected by the steamer "Albatross" on the Pacific coast of North America during the year 1889, with descriptions of twelve new genera and ninety-two new species. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 13: 49-126.

Books popular in the time of my parents and others from the 50's, 60's and 70's.

Here are just a few I looked at just now (with the spelling used):

Ray Cannon's 'Sea of Cortez' c1966 (Totuava)
Tom Miller's 'Angler's Guide to Baja' c1979 (Totuava)
Neil Kelly & Gene Kira's 'The Baja Catch' c1988, 1993 (Totuava)
Gerhard & Gulick's 'Lower California Guidebook' c1956 (Totuava)

bajafam - 7-29-2015 at 01:47 PM


I know the trend is to spell the giant gulf fish 'Totoaba', but it has always been Totuava in most earlier literature... sometimes an r is in there too (tortuava)!

Since when is the scientific name a "trend"? As the link from the Biodiversity Heritage Library clearly states, Totoaba is the actual scientific identification of the fish. Now, locals might call it something else, in this case, Totuava, but Science beats out "trend".

Also, something can't "always" be used "most" of the time...."Always" is an absolute. Kind of like, "60% of the time it works all the time...." not really how that works, ya know?

[Edited on 7-29-2015 by bajafam]

David K - 7-29-2015 at 03:38 PM

Yes, you are right... Thank you.

BAJA.DESERT.RAT - 7-29-2015 at 06:54 PM

Hola, pitahayas..used to stop in the town of el triumfo, south of la paz and buy them in around july/august (?) as they sold them by the gallon buckets for around $ 8.00 U.S.

friends and i thought $ 8.00 a bucket was a bargain for the tasty cactus fruit considering how they had to go into the desert, avoiding rattlesnakes, to pick these wonderful fruit and then go home and clean them of the spines, put them in the buckets and then go by the roadside and sell them. they kept the buckets by putting the fruits in a plastic bag after they sold them.

sounds like a lot of work to us.

one year, i took my mexican great grandson, who lives in santiago, to miraflores, where they have an annual pitahaya festival. nice little festival with a great attendance. they were almost extinct, a few years back, i remember gene kira wrote, with mexican permits, they were catching the fish to aquaculture them to bring them back. i never heard anything further. failure ???

anyone know about this project ?


El Sauz - 7-29-2015 at 08:16 PM

The common name Tatoaba/Totuava precedes it's use as a scientific name. In other words the name was already in use locally and was adopted as the scientific name. The etymology is lost to time but it is presumed to be native american and could well be a Cochimi name, or maybe Seri.

bajabuddha - 7-29-2015 at 09:09 PM

You say 'potAYto', I say 'potAHto'.......... let's call the whole thing off. ;)