araçari (ärəˈsärē/ärəˈkärē)

Hi everyone!

When my family was in Costa Rica during spring break, we had a chance to visit the Toucan Rescue Center near San Jose. The Rescue Center cares for injured animals and in some cases, rehabilitates them and releases them back into the wild. The Rescue Center doesn’t just limit its efforts to toucans as its name suggests but also, sloths, owls, and monkeys.

The common name for the toucan featured in today’s post is Collared Araçari. Araçaris are small brightly colored toucans that belong to the genus Pteroglossus.

The genus name Pteroglossus comes from the Greek roots pter- meaning wing/feather and -gloss meaning tongue/language. Unfortunately, my pictures do not show the feathery tongue of the toucan. However, feel free to do a simple internet search to convince yourself that they do indeed have feather-like tongues!

The species name of this araçari is Torquatus. A torque (or torq/torc) is a twisted metal necklace worn by ancient Gauls, Germans, and many other ancient cultures. Torque comes from the Latin verb torquere meaning to twist or turn. If you look closely at the pictures of the araçari, you will notice a beautiful ring resembling a torq around its body.

The ‘Snettisham Great Torc’, is a treasure of the ancient world. It is made from an alloy of gold, silver and copper, and weighs over 1 kg. Image from http://www.britishmusuem.org

Can you think of any other words that contain the roots mentioned in this post? Be sure to comment and let me know!

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