Wordcraft Home Page    Wordcraft Community Home Page    Forums  Hop To Forum Categories  The Vocabulary Forum    The Dominant Animals: Insects
Go
New
Find
Notify
Tools
Reply
  
The Dominant Animals: Insects Login/Join
 
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted
Insects rule the world. Count species? They have over a million, outnumbering all other animals combined. Count sheer mass? I've read that they have the clear majority of all the animal protoplasm on earth. Yet our themes have included only a single insect-word (pooter).

So this week we pay homage to earth's dominant animals.

entomology – the scientific study of insects [not to be confused with etymology]

An interesting word-history. Biologically, an insect in an six-legged arthropod with a body divided into three segments (head, thorax bearing all six legs, and abdomen). The narrow body parts between segments seem like notches cut into the body. Pliny took the Latin for cut (akin to section; as in bisect); thus an in-cut animal = in sect yields the word insect. But the concept was Aristotle's: Pliny used the Greek name Aristotle had coined on the same basis, and changed to Latin the Greek roots Aristotle had used. Greek en- +temnein (in+cut) yielded entomos "having a notch", from which Aristotle called the beastie entomon. That name survives in today's word.

Here's an article published yesterday.
    Thomas H. Maugh II, Scientists Vindicated: Bees Can Fly, Los Angeles Times, Dec. 3, 2005:
    . . . .Scientists have long been derided because of mathematical calculations made in 1934 by French entomologist August Magnan proving that the flight of bees is "impossible." But now bioengineer Michael H. Dickinson and colleagues have shown conclusively how the hefty insects manage.
    . . . .The secret is a combination of short wing strokes, rapid rotation of the wing as it changes direction and a very fast flapping frequency. Virtually all insects flap their wings through a wide arc of about 165 degrees. The larger the insect, the slower the wings beat. Mosquitoes flap at about 400 beats per second, fruit flies at 200, [contrast] about 50 for hummingbirds.
    . . . .[But] bees, which are 80 times as large as fruit flies, flap their wings 230 times per second through an arc of about 90 degrees. Though most insects produce the majority of lift about halfway through the stroke, when the wing is moving fastest, bees get an equally large contribution at the beginning and end of the stroke from the rotation of the wing.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: wordcrafter,
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Richard English
posted Hide Post
I read somewhere that the calculations were based on the aerodynamics of a fixed wing (the only kind that aeronautical engineers had managed to make work by 1934). A fixed-wing glider made in bumble bee format would certainly not work but, as now seems to have been proved, with ornithopter technology it probably would.


Richard English
 
Posts: 8037 | Location: Partridge Green, West Sussex, UKReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
metamorphosis – a dramatic change in form or nature, as from a caterpillar to a butterfly. The change is so great that it might seem by witchcraft; the original and changed versions are so totally different as to seem unrelated.

For example, the change of a caterpillar to a butterfly, or the change of coal, under pressure, into diamond. Insects that thus change are called metamorphic insects; rocks produced by such change are called metamorphic rocks.
    [As] companies went from good to great, the transformations never happened in one feel swoop. [It is] a cumulative process that adds up to sustained and spectacular results. Yet to read media accounts of the companies, you might draw an entirely different conclusion. Often, the media does not cover a company until [very late], making it seem as if [such transformations] jumped right to breakthrough as some sort of an overnight metamorphosis.
    – Jim Collins, Good to Great
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
chiten – the stiff substance that covers the body of insects, crabs, etc., forming an integument. (i.e., the crunchy part of a bug)
    Cambodia's crickets are a deep-fried treat, Asian Economic News, June 21, 2004:
    Gourmets in Cambodia may be the world's most all-embracing when it comes to what tastes good. … And among the treats was a snack many in Cambodia cannot do without -- deep-fried crickets. … Cricket aficionados such as Pok Karina, 23, who has been chomping the chitinous critters since she was six, say it is simply the good taste that keeps them coming back.
Bonus word: integument – a natural outer covering, typically protective (such as skin, membrane, or husk); also figurative (see last quote)
    Stephen said, "Show me your hands. Still more raw flesh than undamaged skin, I see. You will have to wear mittens, when you hale upon a rope again: canvas mittens, until the horny integument shall have had time to grow."
    – Patrick O'Brian, Desolation Island

    The most frequently repeated messages will be appeals to purchase detergents, deodorants, headache tablets … The most noticeable messages will be those broadcast simultaneously by many transmitters – for example, speeches in times of international crisis by the President. The mindless contents of commercial television and the integuments of international crisis and internecine warfare within the human familyare the principal messages about life on Earth that we choose to broadcast to the Cosmos. What must they think of us?
    – Carl Sagan, Cosmos
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
"Integument" is used in medicine, and in humans the "integumentary system" consists of the skin and its associated structures, such as the hair, nails, sweat glands, and sebaceous glands.
 
Posts: 23313 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
insectifuge - a substance that repels insects
[the last syllable as in 'centrifuge'. Contrast an insecticide, which does not repel; it kills.]
    Garlic … is also a disinfectant by reason of its bacteriostatic and bactericidal action. The essential oil may be utilized for the same purposes and also serves as an insectifuge and biological insecticide.
    –Stanley Schuler, Simon & Schuster's Guide to Herbs and Spices
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
Two words today, which in my strange mind make a fine pair.

blattoid – like a cockroach
bdelloid – like a leech [the b is silent]

OK, the latter word doesn't fit the theme, but I have several reasons to include it. For one thing, the two words pair up to make the wonderful insult of calling someone 'blattoid and bdelloid". (Especially fine since, with the silent b, he will not be able to look it up and find out what you called him!) For another – well, how many words do you know that start with bd?

And finally, we have a fine quote about bdelloid rotifer, leech-shaped microscopic critters. Trust me, you'll enjoy reading the full story here.
    Talk about a dry spell. Microscopic bdelloid rotifers have seemingly evolved without sex for millions of years.
    – Susan Milius, Science News Online, May 20, 2000
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
What is the etymology of the weird bd?
 
Posts: 886 | Location: IllinoisReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of zmježd
posted Hide Post
quote:
What is the etymology of the weird bd?

Greek has more than a few words that begin with bd. It has other weird consonant clusters word initially: e.g., ps as in psykhe 'soul', khth as in khthon 'earth', ks as in ksenos 'guest, friend; stranger'. The cluster bd most likely developed from an earlier bVd- where under certain conditions the vowel, whatever it was, was dropped. (In the case of bdelloid, the word is formed from Greek bdella 'leech; lamprey' and is related to the Greek verb bdallo 'to milk cows; suck'.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: zmježd,


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
Posts: 5085 | Location: R'lyehReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
lepidoptera – butterflies and moths [more exactly, the biological order composed of them]
. . .[coined by Linnaeas, from the Greek words for 'scale' and 'wing'.]
I would think 'lepidopterist' would be one who engages in the gentle hobby of butterfly collecting. But in fact it is a scientist who studies butterflies or moths.

A figurative use, edited for brevity:
    The Washington-Gonzaga series dates to 1910, when the UW won in a walk, albeit a slow one, 23-14. [In] recent history, Gonzaga had dominated the way England used to dominate, well, everything. [Yesterday] the enormous University of Washington and tiny Gonzaga University played a game for the scrapbooks.
    . . .10,000 fans at Hec Edmundson Pavilion will be talking about it into their dotage. When Altidor-Cespedes hit two free throws to cut the Huskies' lead to five points, Hec Ed had become Lepidoptera Central, as nervous butterflies awakened throughout the gym.
    – John Levesque, Seattle Post-Intelligencer Dec. 5, 2005
imago1. entomology: an insect in its adult stage, after metamorphosis. 2. psychology: an idealized childhood image, persisting into adulthood, of another person (e.g., a parent) or oneself
I believe the latter sense was coined by Jung. We have an intriguingly clinical quote on that usage.
    This essay treats those insects that cycle through the classic stages of complete metamorphosis: egg, larva, pupa, and imago.
    – Stephen Jay Gould, Glow, Big Glowworm, in Bully for Brontosaurus: Reflections in Natural History (1992)

    Because Peter seemed to match Lynn's imago, she went out of her way to see him
    again. Because Lynn, in turn, was a reasonably good imago match for Peter, her interest was returned. After a few weeks, Peter and Lynn had accumulated enough data about each other to realize that they were in love.
    – Harville Hendrix, Getting the Love You Want (2001)

This message has been edited. Last edited by: wordcrafter,
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of arnie
posted Hide Post
quote:
The Washington-Gonzaga series dates to 1910...
Presumably this refers to some sort of sporting occasion. Any idea what sport? Confused

I thought at first it was basketball, but later on there's Altidor-Cespedes hit two free throws... Huh?


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
Posts: 10930 | Location: LondonReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by arnie:
[QUOTE]I thought at first it was basketball, but later on there's Altidor-Cespedes hit two free throws... Huh?

It is basketball. The hit just means he made the basket. Here's the complete article. Gonzaga University is in Spokane, Washington (east of the Cascade Mountains) and The University of Washington is in Seattle (west of the Cascades).

Tinman
 
Posts: 2772 | Location: Shoreline, WA, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
I am doing an insect theme on wordcraftjr this week, and some of these words are wonderful! Does anyone have others? I'd think the kids would like words like blattoid, rather than something like lepidoptera. However, they rarely comment (and therefore they probably don't read my themes!), so I am only guessing. <sigh>
 
Posts: 23313 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of arnie
posted Hide Post
Cheer up, Kalleh! I read them daily, so you have at least one reader. Smile

Actually, this section of the adult Wordcraft board gets probably less comments than the rest of the board as well, so you needn't feel too upset. Wink


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
Posts: 10930 | Location: LondonReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
Not to be nitpicker, but shouldn't it be fewer? Wink

[I don't get to correct Arnie often, so when I've the chance, I go for it! And, yes, I know it is grammar-maven rule only, but that's all I am ever going to get with Arnie. Give me a break!]

Arnie, you aren't learning much new information on wordcraftjr then because many of my themes come from here! However, the clothing theme, though perhaps a bit gender-biased, was my own.
 
Posts: 23313 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of arnie
posted Hide Post
K,

Yep, that's one of the grammar-maven rules to which I don't subscribe. There are too many exceptions. You're correct, though; since the number of posts is countable, the 'rule' says it should be fewer.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
Posts: 10930 | Location: LondonReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Hic et ubique
posted Hide Post
arnie, in that case, do you ever use fewer? And if so, in what context would you use one but not the other? (if any)
 
Posts: 1204Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
Truly, I didn't mean to start a discussion about the use of "fewer" and "less." We have done that before. I was just teasing Arnie. After all, it has been an ongoing joke here about my being able to find Arnie making a linguistic mistake. That's all, Hic.

I completely agree with Arnie that the rule is for nitpickers only...and English teachers.
 
Posts: 23313 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
  Powered by Social Strata  
 

Wordcraft Home Page    Wordcraft Community Home Page    Forums  Hop To Forum Categories  The Vocabulary Forum    The Dominant Animals: Insects

Copyright © 2002-12