Yesterday at my favorite used bookstore, this little dictionary from 1900 was too irresistible to return to the shelf; despite the rather high price of $2(!), I bought it. Exitus acta probat*. So then, allow me to put my new acquisition to good use.
I have written about the slug genus Pallifera, native to the U.S. Their name comes from pallium (=cloak; here referring to the mantle) and fero (=to bear) to mean "mantle bearer", not a very distinctive name, because all slugs have a mantle. What about the name of the clausiliid land snail Idyla bicristata of Turkey and Greece? I don't know what Idyla means, but bicristata translates as "two-crested", in reference to the 2 keels on the back of the body whorl of the shell. This too isn't very distinctive, because many clausiliids from where it comes have 2 keels. Vertigo, the genus name of cute little snails, means "turning around"; likewise, quite generic. Quid faciendum?†
But, here is something a bit more exciting: Anguispira is a combination of anguis (=snake) and spira (=spire, coil), presumably implying that the shell is coiled like a snake. This one is better: the name rotifer (phylum Rotifera) derives from rota (=wheel) and, once again, fero, to mean "wheel bearer". They were given this curious name, because the early microscopists thought that the ciliated disks surrounding these animals' mouths were turning wheels.
Well, that's it for today. Nec scire fas est emnia‡.
Before I forget, the dictionary indeed fits into the pocket of my vest.
*The result justifies the deed.
†What is to be done?
‡We are not allowed to know all things.