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Taxonomic etymology - How were these names formed?

Does anyone know of a good resource where one can find out about the etymology behind things like genus? Specifically the instance that prompted my question is the ground beetle genus "Calosoma." I've been studying Greek a bit lately and was wondering if this name was derived from Greek, or from Latin which was in turn influenced by the Greek. Kalos = fair, beautiful; soma = body. Of course, this could be totally wrong, but I was curious nevertheless, to find out where the name came from, either way. it seems an interesting topic in general, too, so if there is a resource where one might peruse such info, I'd love to find it.

So that brings me to my reason for posting here: Has anyone seen this sort of info anywhere, either in a book or online?



By far the best
reference is:

Brown, R. W. 1956. Composition of Scientific Words. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 1-882.

I have a 1978 hardback reprint; Amazon has a 2000 paperback edition.

Highly recommended and indespensible if you are a taxonomist.

just ordered a used copy, $10 incl. S&H
1978 revised ed., hardcover; nice bargain.

it arrived
a real treasure, i'd say: a pristine 1979 library copy from NWMSU (not much science there, i guess)

Possibly the second best source
is the comprehensive recent paperback by Tim Williams - A Dictionary of the Roots and Combining Forms of Scientific Words, 2005, 254 pp, ISBN 1-4116-5793-4. I do not know if there is a later edition. Unlike most other dictionaries on scientific etymology, this one gives the familiar anglicized root words along with the corresponding root in its original Greek characters.

Entomological etymology
is discussed here among several others posts on BugGuide. Try searching key words to find them.

Can't suggest an outside source, but...
... with regard to the specific case you mentioned, the Info Page for Calosoma states, under Explanation of Names: "Greek kalos (καλος) 'pretty' + soma (σωμα) 'body'." You'll find similar explanations on the info pages for other taxa, too (some of them, at least).

Others may be able to point you toward additional references.

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