Name That Animal: Challenge #7 (Halloween Edition)

If you see this creature on Halloween, beware, it is deadly. (image via www.topito.com)

I say goodbye to my friends after a successful night of trick-or-treating. I am suddenly aware of how long I’ve been out and look for short cut home. The crescent moon shines weakly as I see a familiar-looking alley way that I immediately turn into. My boots click on the uneven, old, brick pathway. The night is eerily silent and acherontic, save the wind howling around me. It feels as if the temperature has plummeted sharply and I shiver. I start walking faster and feel a sense of relief when I reach the warm safety of home.

As I reach for the doorknob, I feel a burning sensation pierce the back of my hand. A  mephitic odor diffuses through the stygian darkness. I look down and see a spider – no,  not a spider, but a terrifying spider-like creature quickly skittering away. I hastily snatch up my phone and with trembling hands, manage to capture an image of this crazy creature.

For the next several hours, I feel odd and queasy. I wake up in the middle of the night with a splitting headache and decide that I need to go to the emergency room. As I get ready, I walk past my window and something draws my attention. I gaze at the reflection, and I see two bright yellow eyes peering back at me.

I am admitted to the hospital with an unknown condition, most likely caused by the bite of the bizarre creature. I try to tell the doctors that the culprit looks like a cross between a strigiform and an araneiform, but they simply stare at me quizzically, and blame the bite for my deluded state. Help me name the heinous creature that has cursed me.

Greek:

arachno-                                             spider

-pod-                                                    foot

xantho-                                               yellow

brunne-                                              brown

-morph-                                             shape, form

dasy-                                                   shaggy, woolly

octo-                                                    eight

-soma, somato-                                 body

-ops, opto-                                          eye

nyct-                                                    night

-haema, haemato-                            blood

Latin:

=strix                                                owl

strigi-                                                owl

-iform                                               in the shape of

fasciat-                                             banded

vittat-                                               striped

flav-                                                  yellow

hirsut-                                              hairy

aranei-                                             spider

oculi-, -oculus                                 eye

noct-, nocti-                                    night

sanguini-                                         blood

 

If you haven’t already done so, be sure to check out  Name That Animal Challenge #1, Name That Animal Challenge #2, Name That Animal Challenge #3, Name That Animal Challenge #4Name That Animal Challenge #5, and Name That Animal Challenge #6.

 

 

 

lethifold (lēthə-fōld)

A Lethifold is shroud of darkness that preys upon sleeping wizards or Muggles. (image from www.moviepilot.com)

In Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, Newt Scamander states that a Lethifold is a very rare creature that dwells in tropical climates. A Lethifold looks like a black cloak that floats along ominously during the night seeking victims who are sleeping. Once its prey has been suffocated thoroughly, it simply digests them in their beds, leaving no trace of its victims.

Since Lethifolds are stealthy killers, it is difficult to find much information about them. However, Flavius Belby, who survived a Lethifold attack, wrote the earliest account of Lethifolds in 1782. During the attack, Belby writes that he tried to overcome the Lethifold by using a Stupefying Charm and an Impediment Hex, neither of which worked. Finally, Belby cast the Patronus Charm, which repelled the Lethifold successfully.

The Ministry of Magic rates these highly dangerous creatures XXXXX, meaning that they are known to kill wizards and it is not possible to train or domesticate them.

Lethifold contains the Latin root leth-, meaning deadly or fatal. Leth- was probably influenced by the Greek word “lethe,” referring to the mythological river in the Underworld whose waters caused spirits to forget everything about their former lives. It makes sense that the word “lethe” would later influence the Latin “leth-” because if a person forgets who he is and loses all his memories, he loses his sense of self which is similar to death.  Since the Lethifold is a deadly creature, this name seems apropos.

Join me next week as we continue exploring fantastic creatures from the Harry Potter world. I hope you are all enjoying these posts as much as I am enjoying writing them!

quintaped (kwint-əped)

The Quintaped is a highly dangerous, carnivorous wizard-killer that should be avoided at all costs. (image from harrypotter.wikia.com)

In Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, Newt Scamander describes the “quintaped” as a  “highly dangerous carnivorous beast with a particular taste for humans” (pg. 67).

The Quintaped is commonly found in northern Scotland, on the Isle of Drear. According to legend, there were two wizarding families that lived on the Isle of Drear, the McCliverts and the MacBoons. The leaders of each of these clans faced off in a duel, which ultimately led to the death of the McClivert chief. To avenge their leader’s death, the McCliverts transfigured every single MacBoon into a horrible five-legged beast.

Unfortunately for the McCliverts, the transfigured MacBoons were even more dangerous in their new form. The MacBoons ended up killing all of the McCliverts. The MacBoons remained in this monstrous state for there were no remaining wizards left to change them back into their former selves.

The Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures has attempted to capture and un-transfigure a Quintaped to no avail. The Ministry of Magic has classified Quintapeds as XXXXX, meaning that they are “known wizard killers” and are “impossible to domesticate or train” (pg. xxxv).

Quintapeds are aptly named, the Latin root quint- means five while –ped means foot. Interestingly enough, the leader of clan MacBoon was named “Quintius,” which might explain why they were transfigured into five-legged creatures.

Campanula (kam-pan-yə-lə)

This picture shows the little bell shaped flowers of the campanula. (Photo credit to Wikipedia)

This week we will be exploring the word campanula, commonly known as the bellflower. Varieties of this plant include biennials, annuals and perennials. For those of you who may not know, a biennial plant is a plant that grows leaves, roots, and stems in its first year of development and flowers during the second year. The flowers of the plant come in many different colors, including white, lavender, pink and blue. Campanula comes from the Latin root campan, which means bell and includes the suffix -ula meaning little. As you can see in the picture, the flowers really do look like little bells.

aquilegia (a-kwə-lē-jē-ə)

Rocky Mountain Columbine, the state flower of Colorado.

Spring is in the air and I decided to get to the roots of different flowers (yes, I know that’s a bad joke).  Let’s explore the word aquilegia, also known as columbine.  These beautiful flowers have delicate petals and have a star shape with yellow centers.  Some have long spurs that fan out behind the blossom.  Aquilegia comes from the Latin root aquil, meaning eagle. It is named this because the flower petals look like an eagle’s claw.  The Rocky Mt. Columbine, shown in the picture, has been Colorado’s state flower since 1899. Can you think of any words with the root aquil in them?