Saturday, June 28, 2008

Lengthy Unicorns?

Just a quick post for this week's unusual word. In fact, the fun of this post is mostly derived from pictures of bugs. So it goes.
longicorn (LON-ji-korn) — noun: a biological family of beetles with especially long antennae
I thought this one was worth noting because, as Erin McKean states in Weird and Wonderful Words, the existence of "longicorn" proves that even if a word sounds entirely made up, it can still be real and have a perfectly valid etymology. (The etymology is quite simple: the Latin longus, "long," plus the cornu, "horn.") I looked up the Wikipedia page for the longicorn family and was horribly disappointed to learn that many of the members of this family actually have antennae that are quite short, which is really the stupidest thing ever.

Now here's a bunch of pictures of goofy bugs that all look like they're wearing those dinglebob headbands!

Meet the Rosalia longicorn!


And the Red Milkweed beetle!


And the Cactus longhorn beetle!


The Asian long-horned beetle!


And finally the Valley elderberry longhorn beetle!


The rest of the longicorn family I more or less found repugnant.

Previous words-o'-the-week:

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