Another science song writing challenge... Give me some good latin names to work with!

O.K. I just re-strung my guitar and it's sounding oh so pretty right now. As well, my delayed Christmas present is also arriving soon (a Fender acoustic bass - woo hoo!).

In any event, it's high time, I started to write another silly science song. I've done a few already and they're peppered around the World's Fair somewhere (of note were all the really nice comments for my mitochondria song). Actually, if you are geeky enough to want to check them all out, here is a link with all four of them to date.

So, what to write about? What to write about? Well, given it is the International Year of Biodiversity, and that my own lab is moving forward with the phylomon project, how about a song about biodiversity? I can already picture the first few lines:

There's you, and me.
Within biodiversity.
Connecting us together, in this world.

Anyway, folks who have heard my previous material, know that I'm more of an acoustic junkie, so just to get the creative juices flowing generally, here is a great video clip of an acoustic performance by Vampire Weekend. (Note the acoustic bass - isn't it awesome?)

Anyway... here's the deal. Leave me some latin names of favourite organisms, and I will do my best to fit them in the lyrics. You can leave them in the comments, but I'm also not opposed to receiving twitter messages (@dnghub) with just the latin names - yes, that's kind of geeky, but also nice in my view.

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Daucus carota That's carrot by the way. Does this mean the song will be latin influenced?

I was always a fan of Pseudocercosporella herpotrichoides, which causes eyespot (but not sharp eyespot).

I'm sure you could do something about species who keep on getting re-assigned to different genera, too, but you'd need a real biologist to tell you those. I, alas, am only a geneticist.

I'm rather fond of Turdus migratorius myself -- the American robin. The name just conjures up such a whimsical image.

My alltime favourite (although "just" a bacteria): Proteus mirabilis

tursiops truncatus, cylindro spermopsis, chlamydiophila psittaci, entamoeba histolytica....

and my all-time favorite: kogia breviceps (pygmy sperm whale)

I too am a science song writing junkie (I'm a high school chem/bio teacher)...the bestestest beast name of all time is Smiladon fatalis... the fatal smile aka saber toothed cat.

A couple of my favorites:

Puma yagouaroundi
Corvus corax

Not chosen for the euphony, but because I like those animals. In fact, now that I think about it, those would be really challenging to work into a song.

Speaking of challenging, you should probably work in some of those late-Cretaceous dinosaurs from that Chinese lagerstaette:

Microraptor zhaoianus
Dilong paradoxus
Tianyulong confuciusi

I'm sure there are others even more difficult to pronounce (let alone rhyme), but my memory is letting me down.

Ooh! I just remembered. I don't know if you were ever a fan of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, but back in the 80s, he did an "opera" of sorts, of which one of the principle arias was King Friday XIII singing a pastiche of Verdi called "Troglodytes aedon."

That's the Common House Wren, but Fred Rogers played it as a riff off of Verdi's opera Aida, and it was pretty awesome, for that tiny subset of viewers who were both Mr. Rogers viewers and students in a music conservatory. Work that in, and you've got two homages in one.

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, the bearberry, rolls nicely off the tongue. So does the cyanobacteria genus Aphanizomenon. My all-time favorite will always be scientific name of the western lowland gorilla, Gorilla gorilla gorilla.

By Tony Trease (not verified) on 26 Jan 2010 #permalink

Lampropeltis calligastor rhombomaculata=shiny skinned, yellow-bellied, rhomb-shaped spotted, Mole King Snake.
they live underground, they live in your town...

Very nice idea ! I am curious to listen the result !!

Here the latin name of the species I am studying in Mongolia : Equus hemionus hemionus (latin name for the Mongolian wild ass). It is a wild Equid endemic to the Gobi area, south of Mongolian and this sub-species of the Asiatic wild ass is today threatened with a high risk of extinction. Hope you could use this name in one of your song. Please keep me informed about the result and good luck !

Challenge extended. Challenge accepted. The song writing commences...

Whoa, Anne-Camille - the Goviin Khulan stuff is very cool. You should totally check out the phylomon project. It's my lab's primary biodiversity related project this year (IYB2010)

My two favourites: Granata imbracata (an unremarkable mollusc, but I love the way it rhymes and its rhythm!); and Somniosus microcephalus (if you know your latin, work out what it means - it's funny; it's the name of a shark)

By Alex sharklady (not verified) on 26 Jan 2010 #permalink