[Coral-List] More on origin of hermatypic

Charles Booth booth at easternct.edu
Tue Jun 17 10:42:18 EDT 2008

Regarding my question about the origin of the term hermatypic, as it
pertains to corals - This from a friend of a friend:

³Brown (Composition of scientific terms) says that herma in Gr means, among
other things, "sunken rock, reef...".   I thought the derivation would be
found in the OED, but no such luck. Although there, I learned the origin of
the term hermaphrodite refers to hermes hermaphroditic son. ... I managed to
find the paper...that states Wells (1933)invented the term.  Schumacher &
Zibrowius does indeed have the answer on page 2, quoting Wells "The term
hermatypic, from herma, a reef, is therefore proposed to describe corals of
the reef-building type, the
living species of which possess symbiotic zooxanthellae within their

So, ³hermatypic² from the Greek, herma, meaning sunken rock or reef ­ this
would seem to be consistent with the Greek myth summarized by Sarah
Rathbone.  At least is it close enough for me...

Regards to all,

Chuck Booth

*   *   *   *   *   *   *
Dr. Charles E. Booth
Dept. of Biology
Eastern Connecticut State University
Willimantic, CT  06226

Ph: 860-465-5260
Email: booth at easternct.edu
FAX:  860-465-5213

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