or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Thursday, March 31, 2005

A Reader Writes

A few days back I said I didn't know of an adjective that meant "of jellyfish", because a website had used the serviceable but ultimately unsatisfactory "jellyfishoid". Frank wrote,

"For jellyfish, I expect it would be "cnidarian" or "cnidarinine" or something along those lines. "Cnidaria" is the name of the Order (or family; I don't know which) jellyfish belong to."

"Cnidarian" is a very pretty word, and it makes me think of Salvador Dali's "Apparition of the Face of Aphrodite of Cnidus in a Landscape", which you may look at here if you have a mind to. (You may also look at the original Aphrodite of Cnidus here. This is unrelated to jellyfish but interesting nonetheless.) As it turns out, "cnidarian" is the word most often used to describe members of the jellyfish tribe, along with hydras, sea anemones, and their ilk. I would have preferred "cnidarine", which has the advantage of bearing the usual "-ine" adjectival suffix for animals, but nobody asked me.

There is, however, a word meaning "like a jellyfish" and excluding all those other cousins, and that word is the unmelodic "discophoran".

Cnidaria is actually the phylum to which jellyfish belong. I was lucky to find it at all, because when I Googled it, I accidentally typed in "jellydish".


Blogger Frank said...

Oh my God, pyramus read my comment! I'm going to swoon! I'm seriously honored, pyramus. Glad I could help you in some small way. I agree that "cnidarian" is a great word. Something about the silent 'c,' I think.

Thursday, March 31, 2005 11:16:00 PM  
Blogger Murky Thoughts said...

You've so sold cnidarians short. They're a phylum. Kingdom animalia, phylum cnidaria. They're very fundamentally distinct. Basically there's been nothing so weird discovered in a century or so that didn't seem to belong to one of the existing phyla. Among all the weirdness around the deep sea thermal vents I think just one worm was a new phylum. But that's animals. I think from the microbes we got practically a whole new kingdom (archaebacteria).

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 12:34:00 PM  

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