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?


closed as primarily opinion-based by Mołot, Renan, elemtilas, L.Dutch Nov 18 '18 at 4:32

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ 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".

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ 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.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.