Dragonflies of Ireland - Etymology

Etymology of latin and greek names

Please note we are not experts in the etymology of Latin names, neither are we Latin or Greek scholars. If you have any corrections to the translations below please contact us.
(Abbreviations; L. = from Latin, Gr. = from Greek).

aenea L. aeneus of a bronze colour
Aeshna Gr. ugly, mishapen
Aeshnidae see Aeshna
Anax Gr. lord, master, king
arctica from the polar regions; arctic
Brachytron Gr. brachys short, Gr. tron tool
boltoniinamed in honour of ?Bolton
Calopteryx Gr. kalos beautiful, Gr. pteryx wing; refers to the wings
cancellatum L. cross-barred, latticed; possibly referring to the markings on the females and immature males
coerulescensL. bluish, becoming blue
Cordulegaster Gr. kordylinus club-shaped, Gr. gaster belly; refers to the shape of the abdomen
Cordulegasteridae see Cordulegaster
CorduliaGr. kordylinus club-shaped; refers to the shape of the abdomen
Corduliidae see Cordulia
cyanea Gr. kyaneos dark-blue; refers to the blue tip to the abdomen
cyathigerum Gr. kyathos cup, L. gerula bearer, carry
danae named for Danae, in Greek mythology the daughter of Acrisius, King of Argos. Having been warned that she would bear a son who would eventually kill him, he shut her up in a brazen tower only to have Zeus rescue her with the result that she gave birth to Perseus. Acrisius placed both in a wooden box and threw them into the sea. By one of those twists of fate which make up Greek tragedies, Perseus grew up to kill his grandfather accidentally whilst practising the discus.
depressa L. flattened; refers to the flattened abdomen
dryas L., Gr. a tree or wood nymph
elegans L. elegant
Enallagma Gr. enallax alternate, Gr. agma fragment, splinter; possibly refers to the alternate blue and black banding on the abdomen
ephippiger L. ephippium saddle, L. ger carry; refers to the violet band at the base of the abdomen
flaveolum L. flavus yellow; refers to the yellow wings
fonscolombii after Fonscolombe (1772-1853) an authority on dragonflies
fulva L. fulvus tawny orange; refers to the colour of immature males
Gomphidae see Gomphus
Gomphus Gr. gomphos bolt, nail; refers to the shape of the abdomen
grandisL. big, showy; refers to the size of this species
Hemianax Gr. hemisys half, Gr. anax lord, master, king; this genus is allied to Anax
imperator L. commander-in-chief; in agression and agility in flight this species is unrivalled
Ischnura Gr. ischnos withered, thin, weak, Gr. uro tail; species of this genus are relatively small and delicate damselflies
junceaL. junceus of rushes; probably refers to habitat
Lestes Gr. robber, pirate
Lestidae see Lestes
Libellula for a discussion on the etymology see Corbet (1999, p.561-2)
Libellulidae see Libellula
lunulatumL. shaped like a crescent moon; refers to the marking on the second abdominal segment
mixta L. mixtus; mix, confuse
nymphulaL. nymph-like
Odonata Gr. odon tooth, Gr. gnathos jaw;
OrthetrumGr. ortho straight, L. trum tool; refers to the straight anal appendages
parthenope Gr. virgin
pratense L. of the meadows; refers to habitat
puella L. girl
pulchellum L. pretty
pumilio L. dwarf
Pyrrhosoma Gr. pyrrhos flame-coloured, Gr. soma body; refers to the red body
quadrimaculata L. quattuor four, L. maculosus spotted; refers to the four-spotted wings
sanguineum L. sanguis blood; refers to the red colour of the body
Somatochlora Gr. soma body, Gr. chloros green; refers to the green body
splendens L. splendidus bright, shining; refers to the wings
sponsa L. bride
striolatum L. faintly striped or with fine lines
Sympetrum Gr. syn with, Gr. petra rock, stone; probably refers to the behaviour of perching on stone
virgo L. maiden
vulgatissimus L. most common

Nelson, B., Thompson, R. & Morrow, C., 2000 (September 14). [In] DragonflyIreland http://www.ulstermuseum.org.uk/dragonflyireland/
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