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June 06, 2010


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Martha Coyote

Chronological territoriality! I never heard of such a thing. It seems very - civilized.

Susan McCarthy

Yes! And I surmise that when a dragonfly wishes to communicate "After you, my dear Alphonse," he does so through the medium of aerial dance.

Now that is truly civilized.


Here's a question for the Word Detective: why is the botanical term for powdery surface "glaucous" instead of "pruinescence"? No res ipsa loquitor there. And that's about it for my Latin.

Susan McCarthy

Golly. I was surprised to hear this, since my first association with 'glaucous' is that it just means the color, as in the case of the Glaucous Gull or the perhaps-extinct Glaucous Macaw. But I see that of course you are right, that it has that auxiliary meaning in botany.

I guess that a glaucous color in a plant often comes from that pruinescent coating, and instead of using both words it has become the custom among botanists to use glaucous for both.

But clearly the root problem is the tragic failure of entomologists and botanists to mingle and exchange views. What is to be done?

Fred Wickham

Gorgeous bugs.

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