Field of Science

Ye Gods I'm Immature

Sometimes when naming a species, it pays to be careful...

In 1954, Roewer described a new species of harvestman named Metagagrella mysoreana (so named, I assume, because it came from Mysore). Metagagrella has since been synonymised with the older genus name Psathyropus, but most of the appropriate new combinations have not yet appeared in print. I was just entering in names for the Psathyropus section of the Palpatores nomenclator, which requires me to form said new combinations. However, because Psathyropus is a masculine name, I had to correct species name genders.


Psathyropus mysoreanus.

The fact that I giggled when I realised shows just how much of a child I am.


  1. I giggled too. Must make me childish as well! I also snigger at anything with the epithet superbum (not sure if "bum" is Antipodean slang for the buttocks in the way it is in the UK - maybe it's not so funny after all).

    My mother also thinks Megacervixsaurus is hilarious and I remember her making some (woefully palaeontologically inaccurate) joke about how it must have had awful PMS.

  2. There's always room for more arse jokes in taxonomy.

    Julia, I get a giggle out of mispronouncing the specific epithet for the Cooktown orchid --- bigibbum. (Really, I should get out more.)

  3. lmao, its ok to be a scientist and have a juvenile sense of humor. I was toying around with all sorts of funny latin names for my anemones. Try translating "regurgitated cheese" or "cheese-eating surrender monkey" (after a french friend) in latin!

  4. You should submit this one to Mark Isaak's Curiosities of Biological Nomenclature, which has a section on apparent scatology.

  5. AHAHAHA!!

    You have to submit that here.

  6. Mae Berenbaum, also an entomologist, had a hilarious section on insect species names. One guy did a whole series: katychysme, susichysme, and the like. No one had ever pronounced them until years later: Katy Kiss Me, Susy Kiss Me, and so on. (I probably have the feminine names wrong, but I remember the "kiss me").

  7. Too funny. We need more names like that!

  8. You should submit this one to Mark Isaak's Curiosities of Biological Nomenclature

    Technically, this combination hasn't yet appeared in print (though it's an inevitable consequence of the current taxonomy).

    I have to admit, I got a rather horrifying mental image from Megacervixsaurus. I suspect you have to have seen a lot of cows' back ends to share my pain.

  9. Yes, please let me know when it goes to press!


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