half tail

edisonrex

New Member

Hi! I would like to make a Latin phrase that means "half tail" for an illustration I am working on.
I've tried my best during my research and have come up with the words "cauda" for tail, and "dimidiata" for half. Assuming these are correct, what's the proper way to combine them?

Bonus thanks for anyone who can fit marinus or oceanus in there as well, as these creatures I am painting live in the sea. I'm looking for just a single word, so if those three can't be combined, that's ok.

Thanks in advance for any and all help!

Maeg
http://www.edisonrex.typepad.com
 

scrabulista

Consul

  • Consul

Re: Help with word for art piece

Does the creature have a natural half-tail or was it cut? Are both parts of the tail still attached to the organism?

I was thinking something like semicaudata if it is natural.
For what it's worth, there's a species of bat called Emballonura semicaudata. I haven't seen any really good pictures of its tail though.
Its common names are some variation of "sheath-tailed bat."

On the other hand, there are many organisms with the name dimidiatus, -a, -um.

WORDS has "halve, divide in half, .." for dimidio. Suffixes -atus, -ata, -atum indicate a past participle.

WORDS also has "incomplete, imperfect" for dimidiata. So the dimidiatus, -a, -um might be small or else imperfect.

Were you wanting a hypothetical scientific name? As in the Roadrunner/Coyote cartoons but not so silly?
 

edisonrex

New Member

Re: Help with word for art piece

thanks scrabblehack!

to answer your excellent questions:

yes, i am looking for a hypothetical yet not silly name. it's for a hypothetical genus of mercreatures, so they are half tail and half something else & live in the sea. like merbeaver, mermadillo, etc. it's part of a series called the encyclopaedia of engendered species, so i am trying for as much authenticity as i can figure out with creating some scientific names for them.

the tail is natural. so their tails aren't cut in half, but the creatures themselves have half a tail for their body.

i hope that clarifies!

thank you,
maeg
 

scrabulista

Consul

  • Consul

Re: Help with word for art piece

Hmm...we have "mermaidweed" = Proserpinaca spp. I can only guess that the metaphor is that Proserpine, daughter of Ceres, was forced to spend her winters in the underworld; similarly a mermaid spends half her life in the ocean.

-ura is a popular combining form for "tail" in taxonomy. That one is Greek, from oura.
Emoia cyanura = "azure-tailed skink."
Sundasciurus hippurus = "horse-tailed squirrel."
Indeed, sciurus = "squirrel" = "shadow tail." (Greek-derived).
Lycurus = "wolftail"
Myosurus = "mousetail"

The Greek word for "mouse" is mys (upsilon does double duty as u and y), and then "fish" is ichthys.

So I'm going to suggest Ichthyosurus spp. for your genus.
 

Diaphanus

Civis Illustris

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Re: Help with word for art piece

You could have the generic name Maricreatura, which is just "mercreature" Latinized. Another possibility is Semicauda (creatura implied), from an adjective semicaudus, "half-tailed."

Hemiurus (-a, -um, depending on the gender) is the Greek-derived compound for "half-tailed." Either that or the Latin-derived semicaudatus (-a, -um, depending on the gender), "provided with half a tail," could be used as the specific epithet.

The -atus suffix indicates a participle, but by extension, it may mean "-ed" or "provided with." Semicaudatus and semicaudus can be used as synonyms, but distinctions can be made.

So: Maricreatura hemiura or Maricreatura semicaudata. Take your pick. Or even Semicauda marina.

Ichthyosurus isn't the most optimal formation (genitive singular + second part is avoided in general unless there is precedent for the genitive singular use, as in Myos-otis), and it looks much like Ichthyosaurus. Ichthyurus is much more preferable in formation, but that generic name is already taken.
 

edisonrex

New Member

Re: Help with word for art piece

Thanks, guys! I think I may just go with maricreatura for the genus name, and then just add the appropriate latin species bit. I think it works because it will be a bit recognizable/translatable even if people (like me!) don't know latin.

I really appreciate the help! You guys are good!

Maeg
 

edisonrex

New Member

Re: Help with word for art piece

Okay, I made my species names with the help of google and words. Feel free to point out any glaring errors!

mer hedgehog: maricreatura herinacius
merbeaver: maricreatura castor
merabbit: maricreatura cuniculus
merfish: maricreatura piscis
mermadillo: maricreatura armatus
mer rex: maricreatura tyrannosaurus rex
mercactus: maricreatura cacti
mer wren: maricreatura avicula

Thanks again for being so generous with your knowledge and time, guys!

Maeg
 

Diaphanus

Civis Illustris

  • Civis Illustris

Re: Help with word for art piece

It would be a good idea to make some of those epithets into adjectives in -ina like this to make the names more Latin-friendly:

mer hedgehog: Maricreatura herinaciina
merbeaver: Maricreatura castorina
merabbit: Maricreatura cuniculina
merfish: Maricreatura piscina
mermadillo: Maricreatura armata
mer rex: Maricreatura tyrannosaurina
mercactus: Maricreatura cactina
mer wren: Maricreatura troglodytidina

I am suggesting troglodytidina, from Troglodytidae (wren family), because avicula means just "little bird."

Armatus is already an adjective and needs to be armata to agree with Maricreatura.
 

scrabulista

Consul

  • Consul

Re: Help with word for art piece

Hedgehogs are Family Erinaceidae. You could drop the h from herinaciina. (two i's in that?)

Rabbits are Family Leporidae. You could go with leporina (although WORDS translates lepus as "hare.")

What the heck is a merfish? The head of a fish and tail of a fish?

Armadillos are Family Daspodidae. You could use dasypina (from dasypus) but then strangely enough, WORDS translates that as "a kind of hare/rabbit." The -pus ending is "foot." I'm not sure about the dasy- part. There are 8 other genera of armadillos besides Dasypus, but the genus whose name resembles the family name is usually the model genus.
 

Iohannes Aurum

Technicus Auxiliarius

  • Technicus Auxiliarius

Re: Help with word for art piece

Merfish seems redundant. Here is an interesting tidbit: the national mythological animal of Singapore is the Merlion, which is a lion with the tail of a fish. If I were to Latinize its name, then it would be Maricreatura leonina.
 

Diaphanus

Civis Illustris

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Re: Help with word for art piece

I brought up the family name only because of the apparent lack of a specific name for wrens in Latin. However, Traupman's New College Latin & English Dictionary suggests the word regulus. If that word is used, then an adjective regulina may be formed.

Classical Latin does avoid the use of -ii- (vowel or consonant i before vowel i), but zoological names tend to keep both letters, like in the subfamily name Galaxiinae, from Galaxias.

The dasy- combining form means "rough." Dasypus is used to refer to a kind of rabbit, but for whatever reason Dasypus is used as a generic name for armadillos. This is an instance in which I would actually Latinize armadillo to armatillus (armatus + -illus), but not use it as a generic name, and add the suffix: armatillina.

It is possible to get dasypina out of dasypus by using the shortened stem (dasypo-, second declension, like octopo-, polypo- from octopus, polypus/octopi, polypi), but the full stem (dasypod-) would be preferable: dasypodina.
 

scrabulista

Consul

  • Consul

Re: Help with word for art piece

Ugh, goofed up there...thank you, Diaphanus.

Did anyone ever see that episode of Night Gallery where the mermaid gets the head of a fish and the legs of a woman? The special effects were pretty cheesy even by 1970's standards, but that Rod Serling was quite a card.
 

Diaphanus

Civis Illustris

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Re: Help with word for art piece

scrabblehack dixit:
Ugh, goofed up there...thank you, Diaphanus.
Libenter feci.

There seem to be several different spellings for erinaceus. I have decided to use that spelling. The adjective is then erinaceina.

David Morgan's lexicon of Neo-Latin has this for armadillo:

.anml armadillo / dasypûs, podis m. [Plin. N.H.]; porcellus loricatus [Bacci] (Helf.)
Dasypus might be fine for "armadillo" instead of "hare" when it comes to zoology because, as far as zoology is concerned, a Dasypus is an armadillo, not a hare.

Okay, here are my revised list of names:

mer hedgehog: Maricreatura erinaceina
merbeaver: Maricreatura castorina
merabbit: Maricreatura cuniculina
merfish: Maricreatura piscina
mermadillo: Maricreatura dasypodina
mer rex: Maricreatura tyrannosaurina
mercactus: Maricreatura cactina
mer wren: Maricreatura regulina

If Latin seems to have a word already, I use that, but I am avoiding the use of generic names unless I am forced to use them (so, e.g., Tyrannosaurus, but already-existing Latin cuniculus, "rabbit," instead of generic name Lepus).

Why did I decide to use -ina (masculine -inus)? The reason is that the suffixes are very often used with words describing animals: vulpinus, felinus, bovinus, porcinus, ovinus, caninus, et cetera. Analogy is the reason for the suffix in cactina.
 
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