I am designing an alien creature, an oxygen breather on an Earth-like planet. These creatures have a crest on their back that changes color according to the mood in which they are. That crest is a reminiscent of the sea creature they evolved from, a squid-like creature that changed color to camouflage and confuse predators.

I want to design a proper Latin name for them that has something to do with that crest. And I thought about "Crista coloratus". However, my Latin knowledge is limited to Google translate, and I am not sure if that really sounds like "colored crest" or another latin term should be more appropriate. The question is: Is Crista coloratus a proper latin name that makes sense for these creatures?

  • $\begingroup$ This question has appeared in the VTR queue. What is the best name for X? questions are off-topic. This is a minor variation ("Is this name OK?"). Questions of this type are always off-topic because it violates both SE's definition of POB and our own. Voting to remain closed. $\endgroup$ – JBH Nov 18 '18 at 14:53
  • Crista colorata ("crista" is feminine, and scientific names generally obey basic agreement rules).

  • Versicolor cristatus, "of changing colors with a crest".

  • X chromatolophus (with X being a suitable generic name, and chromatolophus being Latinized pseudo-Greek for "color crested"). A whimsical choice would be Polytropus chromatolophus, to reuse the characteristic epithet of Ulysses, which could be taken to mean "with many moods". (It is usually taken to mean "much experienced".) A less whimsical choice could be Apanthropus chromatolophus, a creature far from man and having a colored crest.

  • Or, to stick with Latin, X varicristatus or Varicristatus X, "varius" meaning "of many colors"; for example, Versimodus varicristatus, which would mean "of changing mood with a multicolored crest".

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    $\begingroup$ this is excellent! $\endgroup$ – Willk Nov 18 '18 at 1:39

Binomial names like Crista colorata (using AlexP's advice of agreement) will work, but do make sure that the naming makes sense. The first word is the name of a genus, and the second word names the species within the genus. So the first word needs to be able to stand on its own.

Genus are defined within a Family. "Crista" needs to be a reasonable distinguishor within the family. This is probably pretty reasonable. An example Family is "Iguanidade," which consists of all Iguanas, or "Macropodidae," which consists of " kangaroos, wallabies, tree-kangaroos, wallaroos, pademelons, quokkas, and several others."

I think that within such a Family, "Crested" is going to be a very reasonable discriminator which can be used to define a genus, so I think your naming will work just fine, as long as any other similar crested species don't have a noticeable colored crest.



My Latin dictionary agrees with your (Google's) translations. In addition, both elements are used in other species names.

Hybolasius crista is a longhorn beetle from New Zealand.

Echis coloratus is a carpet viper from the Middle East.


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