[Annelida] seta vs chaeta

Mary E. Petersen mepetersen at maine.edu
Fri Apr 21 20:43:51 EST 2006

Dear Jim, Sergio, and others,

Part of the increased use of chaeta(e) versus seta(e) probably stems from
me. When we were preparing our contributions for the 1986 Copenhagen
Conference, David George pointed out that it was illogical to use seta when
the name of the group was PolyCHAETA and not PolySETA. David's point
appeared to be a good one. 

I therefore switched over to using chaeta(e) in my own papers and have
pointed out to other authors my reasons for preferring chaeta(e). As I have
not considered it a matter of right or wrong, I have left the decision as to
which form to use up to the authors.

As also indicated by Jim, this is not something written down or voted on,
and I think most of us have considered both forms valid. It is also likely
that many persons simply consider the two terms a matter of British versus
American preference. 

I agree with Dieter that an argument for using chaeta(e) versus seta(e) is
the use of seta(e) for structures in arthropods of a very different kind
than those in polychaetes. One purely practical reason for using seta(e) is
that it has fewer letters than chaeta(e) and thus is often easier to fit
into tables!

However, I suspect we will continue to use both forms, and also continue to
understand what is meant!

Best wishes,


Mary E. Petersen
E-mail: mepetersen at maine.edu
Tel. DMC: +1-207-563-3146 x 222
Fax DMC: +1-207-563-3119
http://www.dmc.maine.edu/wormsinfo.html - update on 9th IPC, August 2007 

-----Original Message-----
From: annelida-bounces at oat.bio.indiana.edu
[mailto:annelida-bounces at oat.bio.indiana.edu] On Behalf Of
jablake at ix.netcom.com
Sent: Friday, April 21, 2006 5:41 PM
To: annelida at magpie.bio.indiana.edu
Subject: RE: [Annelida] seta vs chaeta

Dear Sergio and others, 

Sergio, do not apologise, despite what Nechama may have told you, there has
never been a concensus agreement regarding the use of seta or chaeta.  This
is not written anywhere to my knowledge and is certainly not included in the
Constitution of the International Polychaetology Association.  This was
instead, a preference that was suggested, as I recall, by Wilfred Wesheide
at the Conference in Brest during a panel discussion.  There has never been
vote on the issue.  If there were, I would certainly have voted in favor of

There is in fact no rule that says anyone has to use "seta" or "chaeta" in
their papers.  One is derived from Latin, the other from the Greek and as
far as I am concerned mean exactly the same thing regardless of who writes
the definitions.

I have always written my descriptions using seta(e) and whatever derivitives
are used; if chaeta(e) appear in my printed papers, then it is because the
editors required the change, not me.  I intend to continue to operate in
this manner.

Jim Blake

-----Original Message-----
>From: Sergio Salazar <savs551216 at hotmail.com>
>Sent: Apr 21, 2006 12:36 PM
>To: Dieter.Fiege at senckenberg.de, annelida at magpie.bio.indiana.edu
>Subject: RE: [Annelida] seta vs chaeta
>Dear Nechama, Colin, Dieter and Rafa,
>Thanks a lot for your comments. I tried to explain the different 
>etymological origins for the words but it seems that I failed in doing so. 
>Nechama has kindly indicated that there was an agreement during the 1st 
>Polychaete Conference about the use of chaeta vs seta (and derivatives). I 
>did not know that and such agreement must rule. I will use chaeta (and 
>derivatives) from now on. No problem.
>Apologies for stealing your time in this issues. Un abrazo,
>>From: dfiege <Dieter.Fiege at senckenberg.de>
>>Reply-To: Dieter.Fiege at senckenberg.de
>>To: annelida at magpie.bio.indiana.edu
>>Subject: [Annelida] seta vs chaeta
>>Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2006 11:37:27 +0200
>>Dear Sergio,
>>as you imply in your mail to annelida the term chaeta (and derivatives) as

>>used in 'polychaete language' is derived from the taxon name Polychaeta
>>thus has become a technical term with a meaning different from that 
>>mentioned in standard dictionaries. For this reason I personally prefer 
>>chaeta over seta (and derivatives). Moreover, the latter term should in my

>>opinion be avoided in polychaetology since it is used in other taxa 
>>languages as well (e.g. by colleagues describing various kinds of 
>>arthropods) with a possible different technical meaning. Distinction among

>>various kinds of chaetae in polychaetology - not only long and soft versus

>>short and rigid as we all know - is done by providing a detailed 
>>description of shape, size, etc.
>>Dr. Dieter Fiege
>>Curator Marine Invertebrates
>>Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg
>>Senckenberganlage 25
>>D-60325 Frankfurt/Main
>>ph: +49-(0)69-7542 265
>>Fax: +49-(0)69-746238
>>Annelida mailing list
>>Post: Annelida at net.bio.net
>>Help/archive: http://www.bio.net/biomail/listinfo/annelida
>>Resources: http://www.annelida.net
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