Question: What is the etymology of the word oreganus

Dedicated exclusively to field herping.

Moderator: Scott Waters

Post Reply
User avatar
John Delgado
Posts: 168
Joined: June 29th, 2014, 10:10 am
Location: Ukiah, CA

Question: What is the etymology of the word oreganus

Post by John Delgado » July 8th, 2017, 2:26 pm

Where does the word 'oreganus' ... as in Crotalus oreganus, come from?

ackee
Posts: 39
Joined: March 18th, 2015, 7:06 pm

Re: Question: What is the etymology of the word oreganus

Post by ackee » July 8th, 2017, 2:35 pm

Oregon.

User avatar
John Delgado
Posts: 168
Joined: June 29th, 2014, 10:10 am
Location: Ukiah, CA

Re: Question: What is the etymology of the word oreganus

Post by John Delgado » July 8th, 2017, 3:02 pm

Well ... thank you ackee, but I kind'a sort'a knew that.

What I wanted is the explanation of how the word oreganus came to be ... the origin.

Google searching the internet until I was blue in the face ... nothing on the internet that I can find.

I posted my same question on Facebook Page 'Crotalus' and received an immediate answer as follows:

From the book titled: The venomous reptiles of the Western Hemisphere by Jonathan A. Campbell, William W. Lamar, Edmund D. Brodie / 2004
Local Name: Vibora de cascabel
English Name: Western Rattlesnake
ETYMOLOGY: The species name is derived from Oregon, now a state in the northwestern United States, but previously a name encompassing the region from Northern California to Alaska (ca. 1818-1846), and the Latin suffix -anus, meaning "belonging to." The origin of the name Oregon is not known with certainty, but it may be derived from the Spanish orejón meaning "big ear", a term applied to local Indian tribes.

User avatar
Jeff
Posts: 531
Joined: June 11th, 2010, 5:01 am
Location: Louisiana

Re: Question: What is the etymology of the word oreganus

Post by Jeff » July 8th, 2017, 4:35 pm

Holbrook's original description of Crotalus oreganus was spelled thus in the first edition of his "North American Herpetology", 4th part of 1840.

In his second edition (1842), he spelled the name Crotalus oregonus.

In both editions he stated "...the celebrated naturalist Mr. Nuttall, who procured it in the Oregon territory."

In his books, Holbrook used two suffix forms in reference to origin: "...anus", as pertaining to, and "...ensis" as originating from in a geographical sense (e.g., Coluber alleghaniensis).

For unknown reasons, Holbrook used the pertinent form for oregonus (rather than oregonensis), and because he initially used the mis-spelling oreganus, that is what is considered as valid (occupied) by ICZN rules.

I hope this helps,

Jeff

ackee
Posts: 39
Joined: March 18th, 2015, 7:06 pm

Re: Question: What is the etymology of the word oreganus

Post by ackee » July 8th, 2017, 5:20 pm

Well John, you kinda sorta answered your own question with the quote indicating that the origin of the word 'Oregon' is not known for certain. Why would some poor taxonomist have any idea regarding the obscure derivation of the word for that region? Certainly you cannot be asking about a mere variation in spelling, can you?

User avatar
John Delgado
Posts: 168
Joined: June 29th, 2014, 10:10 am
Location: Ukiah, CA

Re: Question: What is the etymology of the word oreganus

Post by John Delgado » July 8th, 2017, 5:24 pm

Thank you Jeff - fascinating information.

I use the word 'oreganus' on almost a daily basis and when I posted a pic of a Northern Pacific indicating the scientific name ... I was asked a question about the origin of 'oreganus'. Then I searched and found absolutely nothing, seemed kind'a odd ... right? - So, I knew if I come here on FHF and ask ... answer would be supplied.

Nice job Jeff ... thank you.

User avatar
John Delgado
Posts: 168
Joined: June 29th, 2014, 10:10 am
Location: Ukiah, CA

Re: Question: What is the etymology of the word oreganus

Post by John Delgado » July 8th, 2017, 5:35 pm

ackee wrote:Well John, you kinda sorta answered your own question with the quote indicating that the origin of the word 'Oregon' is not known for certain. Why would some poor taxonomist have any idea regarding the obscure derivation of the word for that region? Certainly you cannot be asking about a mere variation in spelling, can you?
Sorry ackee ... I didn't post the question correctly. I was looking for the origin of the word, how it came to be. Words are sometimes made up of other words, and combinations of words and different language too. Oreganus isn't in the dictionary ... so myself being a Cliff Claven (per my sister) I just had to know.

User avatar
chris_mcmartin
Posts: 2433
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 11:13 pm
Location: Greater Houston TX Area
Contact:

Re: Question: What is the etymology of the word oreganus

Post by chris_mcmartin » July 8th, 2017, 6:22 pm

A less thorough explanation than Jeff's excellent answer:
Crotalus viridis oreganus Holbrook, 1840 Northern Pacific Rattlesnake
NL belonging to the state of Oregon — ref. to type locality, "banks of Oregon or Columbia River"
OD Crotalus viridis oreganus Holbrook, 1840 - N. Amer. Herp., Ed. 1, Vol. 4, p. 115, pl. 29 [24 in text]
I mention this one because it's from this page, which I always find helpful: http://ebeltz.net/herps/etymain.html

User avatar
Porter
Posts: 1993
Joined: March 19th, 2011, 6:43 pm

Re: Question: What is the etymology of the word oreganus

Post by Porter » July 8th, 2017, 7:57 pm

They're all diamondbackback rattlesnakes damn nabbit :oops: ...then they found a variation that had o's instead of diamonds. Pfft... Who can understand what those indians are saying about the round blotched buzztails down by the river anyway... :roll:

Post Reply