New Guinea Birds
New Guinea Birds

11 Naughty-Sounding Scientific Names (and What They Really Mean)

New Guinea Birds
New Guinea Birds

It's a big world of flora and fauna out there, and scientists need to classify and label it. They've come up with a lot of terms that are humorous on purpose (stupidogobius, ytu brutus, inglorious mediocris, Roberthoffstetteria nationalgeographica, etc., etc.) but there are a few that are perfectly innocent Latin or Greekisms that just happen to sound like something else.

Are you ready to get immature? Here are 11 naughty-sounding scientific names, and what they really mean.

1. TURDUS MAXIMUS

Wikimedia Commons


Turdus is Latin for the bird we call a thrush. Maximus means biggest or greatest. This turdus maximus is a beauty, don't you think?

2. TURDUS MIGRATORIUS

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Behold the American Robin, a migratory bird. A turdus who gets around.

3. COLON ASPERATUM

Bug Guide

The Colon genus of beetles originally got its name from kolon, the Greek word for limb or joint, and while asperatum brings to mind inhaling, it actually means roughened, from the Latin asper, for rough. Just a rough joint here. No reason to giggle.

4. BUGERANUS

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Otherwise known as the Wattled Crane, Bugeranus gets its name from the Greek bous (ox), and geranus (crane). It gets its disapproving facial expression from being called a bugeranus.

5. FARTULUM

Catalog of Organisms 

This type of snail was named for its cylindrical shell that looks like a tiny sausage. It comes from Latin farcire, to stuff. A fartum is a stuffed thing, and a fartulum is a little stuffed thing, AKA a tiny sausage. It would make an excellent science fair project topic for a second grader.

6. ARSES INSULARIS

New Guinea Birds

The Ochre-collared Monarch was named for Arses, the ancient King of Persia. It lives in the islands (insulae in Latin) of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Isn't it regal-looking? A real royal arses.

7. TEXANANUS AREOLATUS

Bug Guide

In Latin, an areola was a small open space, like a garden or courtyard. In botany, "areolatus" is used to describe patterns of small clearings or spots. The anus suffix in Latin makes an adjective out of a place. If you're from Rome, you're Romanus. If you're from Texas, like this spotted leafcutter, you are Texananus.

8. BOTRYOTINIA FUCKELIANA

Plantwise

The Botryotinia part of this fungus name comes from botrus, the ancient Greek for a cluster of grapes. The other part honors famous German mycologist Karl Wilhelm Gottlieb Leopold Fuckel.

9. PINUS RIGIDA

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This is a very sturdy pine tree. There are many of this variety in New Jersey.

10. DORCUS TITANUS

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We call this the Giant Stag Beetle because it looks like it has horns. Dorcus is Latin for antelope. This dorcus is not to be messed with.

11. POOSPIZA HYPOCHONDRIA

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The Rufous-sided Warbling Finch may have some worries about its health (it is a threatened species), but hypochondria comes from the Greek for "under the ribs," where this beauty has a lovely red marking. The poospiza breaks down not as poos-piza, but as poo-spiza, spiza being ancient Greek for finch. The poo is from poa, meaning grass.

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From Snoopy to Shark Bait: The Top Slang Word in Each State
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iStock

There’s a minute, and then there’s a hot minute. Defined as “a longish amount of time,” this unit of time is familiar to Alabamians but may stir up confusion beyond the state’s borders.

It’s Louisianans, though, who feel the “most misunderstood,” according to the results of a survey regarding regional slang by PlayNJ. Of the Louisiana residents surveyed, 72 percent said their fellow Americans from other states—even neighboring ones—have a hard time grasping their lingo. Some learned the hard way that ordering a burger “dressed” (with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo) isn’t universally understood, nor is the phrase “to pass a good time” (instead of “to have” a good time).

After surveying 2000 people (with proportional numbers from each state), PlayNJ created a map showing the top slang word in each state. Many are words that are unlikely to be understood beyond state lines, but others—like California’s bomb (something you really like) and New York’s deadass (to be completely serious)—have spread well beyond their respective borders thanks to memes and internet culture.

Hawaiians are also known for their distinctive slang words, with 71 percent reporting that words like shaka (hello) and poho (waste of time) are frequently misunderstood. Shark bait, one of the state’s more colorful terms, refers to tourists who are so pale that they attract sharks.

Check out the full list below and test your knowledge of regional slang words with PlayNJ’s online quiz.

A chart showing the top slang words in each state
PlayNJ
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20 States With the Highest Rates of Skin Cancer
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iStock

They don’t call it the Sunshine State for nothing. Floridians get to soak up the sun year-round, but that exposure to harmful UV rays also comes with consequences. Prevention magazine reported that Florida has the highest rate of skin cancer in the U.S., according to a survey by Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS).

BCBS surveyed 9 million of its insured members who had been diagnosed with skin cancer between 2014 and 2016 and found that Florida had the highest rate of skin cancer at 7.1 percent. People living in eastern states tend to be more prone to skin cancer, and diagnoses are more common among women.

Here are the 20 states with the highest rates of skin cancer:

1. Florida: 7.1 percent
2. Washington, D.C.: 5.8 percent
3. Connecticut: 5.6 percent
4. Maryland: 5.3 percent
5. Rhode Island: 5.3 percent
6. Vermont: 5.3 percent
7. North Carolina: 5.2 percent
8. New York: 5 percent
9. Massachusetts: 5 percent
10. Colorado: 5 percent
11. Arizona: 5 percent
12. Virginia: 5 percent
13. Delaware: 4.8 percent
14. Kentucky: 4.7 percent
15. Alabama: 4.7 percent
16. New Jersey: 4.7 percent
17. Georgia: 4.7 percent
18. West Virginia: 4.5 percent
19. Tennessee: 4.5 percent
20. South Carolina: 4.4 percent

It may come as a surprise that sunny California doesn’t make the top 20, and Hawaii is the state with the lowest rate of skin cancer at 1.8 percent. Prevention magazine explains that this could be due to the large population of senior citizens in Florida and the fact that the risk of melanoma, a rare but deadly type of skin cancer, increases with age. People living in regions with higher altitudes also face a greater risk of skin cancer due to the thinner atmosphere and greater exposure to UV radiation, which explains why Colorado is in the top 10.

The good news is that the technology used to detect skin cancer is improving, and researchers hope that AI can soon be incorporated into more skin cancer screenings. To reduce your risk, be sure to wear SPF 30+ sunscreen when you know you’ll be spending time outside, and don’t forget to reapply it every two hours. 

[h/t Prevention]

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