Insect names: Dictyla nassata, Codophila maculicollis...




I'm an amateur entomologist and I would like to know it anyone here can solved some of the latin names of bugs. i.e. Pentatomidae = pente(five) + tomos(a section) since antenna consist of 5 segments.

Here some more "riddles" that I'll happy if anyone can solve :)

Dictyla nassata
Codophila maculicollis
Chroantha ornatula
Rhyparochromus saturnius
Lethaeus fulvovarius
Ischnopeza pallipes

I well aware that some of the names has no latin meaning but if you recognize some of them I'll be happy.


Vemortuicida strenuus
Re: insects names

I think you'd have to ask Linnaeus himself :D I'm afraid there are no biologists here. But maybe someone will give it a try.


Civis Illustris
Re: insects names

That's Greek to me


Staff member
Re: insects names

What can you tell us about these insects?

Rhyparochromus saturnius
I see that "rhyparia" (upsilon can be transliterated with u or y) is Greek for "dirt, filth."
"chroma" usually means "color. " Again this is Greek."
Is this a dirt-colored insect?
saturnius - I'm guessing that the insect resembles the Roman god Saturn in some obscure way, or maybe it was discovered on a Saturday.

Lethaeus fulvovarius
lethaeus is Latin for "of Lethe (the underworld)"
fulvus is "tawny, reddish yellow, yellow."

varius is "various, or "variegated."
Can this insect have yellow, or reddish-yellow streaks or splotches?

Perhaps the Lethaeus just a reference to the fact that it lives in rotting leaves, hence the underworld. ... eidae.html

I really don't want to venture a guess on the others right now. I scolded mattheus the other day about an essay he linked to -- it looked like it was written by a pastor who studied just enough Latin to be dangerous.

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
Re: insects names

Here's my best attempt using Liddell & Scott. Greek words are in Greek characters (Latin transliteration in brackets); Latin words are in Roman characters. Those words with an asterisk are proposed neo-Latin compound adjectives, not actual attested words.

Dictyla Nassata

δίκτυον [dictyon] = net

nassa = a narrow-necked basket for catching fish hence: trap, net, snare

(perhaps: nassatus,-a,-um* "relating to a net" or "net-like".)

Codophila Maculicollis

κωδύα [codya] = head of a plant hence: bulb, bean, inflorescence, etc.
φίλος,-η,-ον [philus,-a,-um] = dear, beloved; friendly, loving

(perhaps: codophilus,-a,-um* "inflorescence-loving")

macula = spot, mark
collum = neck
collis = hill, hillock

(perhaps: maculicollis,-e* "spotted-necked")

Chroantha Ornatula

χρώς [chros] = skin; complexion
χρῶσις = [chrosis] coloring, tinting
ἄνθη [anthe/antha] = blossom, flower

(perhaps: chroanthus,-a,-um* "flower-skinned" or "flower-colored")

ornatus,-a,-um = adorned, decorated
ornatulus,-a,-um (diminutive) = rather elegant

Rhyparochromus Saturnius

ῥυπαρός,-ή,-όν [rhyparus,-a,-um] = filthy, dirty
χρῶμα [chroma] = complexion, color

(perhaps: rhyparochromus,-a,-um* "filthy-colored")

saturnius,-a,-um = of Saturn, saturnian

Lethaeus Fulvovarius

λήθαιος,-α,-ον [lethaeus,-a,-um] = causing forgetfulness; oblivious hence: (in Latin) relating to Lethe, of the underworld

fulvus,-a,-um = tawny, yellowish brown
varius,-a,-um = diversified, variegated

(perhaps: fulvovarius,-a,-um* "multi-hued brownish")

Ischnopeza Pallipes

ἰσχνός,-ή,-όν [ischnus,-a,-um] = dry, withered; thin, lean, light; weak, feeble
πεζός,-ή,-όν [pezus,-a,-um] = on foot, walking

(perhaps: ischnopezus,-a,-um* "light-footed")

pallidus,-a,-um = pale, wan, sallow
pes = foot

(perhaps: pallipes* "pale-footed")

Edit: I'm a bit confused as to why some of the names are feminine in form and others are masculine, but I must admit I know absolutely nothing about biological nomenclature. Do you happen to have any idea why they're like that, scrabblehack?

I did notice that with the binomial system the first name is always derived from Greek and the second name from Latin. Interesting.


Re: insects names

Thanks very much :p

Dictyla has indeed a basket neck hood.
Codophila can be found on flowers
Chroantha Ornatula has a decorated look
Lethaeus can be found under stones
Ischnopeza has thin yellow legs

The reason for the first name derived from Greek and the second from Latin could be time related. The first names are usally much olders since they describe the genus and the seconds are a species names usally described some years after.

About the feminine masculine I have no idea? maybe derived from the family names? could you say which are the feminine and which masculine?


Staff member
Re: insects names

It is not generally true that the genus is Greek and the species is Latin.
The good old-fashioned honeybee is Apis mellifera. The house fly is Musca domestica.
These two were named by Linnaeus himself.

Dictyla nassata - Puton 1874
Codophila maculicollis - Dallas 1851
Chroantha ornatula - Herrich-Schaeffer 1842 looks like the earliest cite.
Rhyparochromus saturnius - Rossi 1790
Lethaeus fulvovarius - Puton 1884
Ischnopeza pallipes - Puton 1892

-us is usually masculine and -a is usually feminine.
collum = "neck" is neuter. The -is could just be an attempt to make an adjective "spotted-necked."
collis = "hill" is masculine -- doesn't make quite so much sense.
pes = "foot" is masculine.

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
Re: insects names

Dictyla nassata (feminine)
Codophila maculicollis (feminine)
Chroantha ornatula (feminine)
Rhyparochromus saturnius (masculine)
Lethaeus fulvovarius (masculine)
Ischnopeza pallipes (feminine)

scrabblehack: though the noun pes "foot" is masculine, compound adjectives formed from it (like alipes "wing-footed") are treated as a third declension adjectives of one ending, so pallipes is feminine with ischnopeza.

bugi: do you happen to have any photographs of these insects? It would be neat to actually see them. The only one I could find online was the Codophila Maculicollis, and oddly it doesn't seem to be spotted in the neck area at all (unless there are spots on the underside?), but more like striped. I found out that the Spotted-necked Otter is called Hydrictis Maculicollis, which appears to be far more sensibly named than the insect.

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
Re: insects names

Thanks for the pics. Are all these insects native to your region? (Mediterranean, I'm guessing.)