Question about the name of the worm...

David Fitch david.fitch at nyu.edu
Tue Dec 5 16:09:43 EST 2000


Hi Irv and interested others,

"Caeno" = "ceno" from Gk. for recent (as in pleistocene).  "Rhabditis" from
Gk. for rod-shaped.  A recently proposed genus of rod-shaped organisms.
Definitely not as poetic as a greek hermaphrodite (the genus was not named
for hermaphrodites; most Caenorhabditis species are not hermaphrodites).
"Elegans", of course, for the elegant sinusoidal movement (well, certainly
more elegant than many of its rhabditid relatives).  More interesting facts
can be found in "C. elegans II", the second worm biblical text, in the
introduction.

Best wishes,
Dave Fitch

>Does anyone know the derivation of it?  And who named it?  The "caenor"
>part I expect comes from Caenia, a woman changed by the god Poseidon
>into a man, Caenus.  But the "habditis" I haven't found out about.  And
>why "elegans"?
>
>Any help would be much appreciated.
>
>--Irv

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