Zyzzyva

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Zyzzyva /ˈzɪzɪvə/ is a genus of South American weevils, often found on or near palm trees.[1] It was first described in 1922 by Thomas Lincoln Casey, Jr., based on specimens obtained in Brazil by Herbert Huntingdon Smith.[2]:2,369

Casey describes Zyzzyva ochreotecta in his book Memoirs on the Coleoptera, Volume 10:[2]:369–370

Rather broadly oblong-oval, convex, densely clothed with scales, ochreous and very uniform above, completely concealing the sculpture; beak (♂) scarcely longer than the prothorax, thick, distinctly arcuate, compressed basally, finely, closely punctate, longitudinally furrowed and carinate above; antennae obscure rufous; prothorax two-fifths wider than long, the sides parallel and nearly straight in basal two-fifths, thence oblique and nearly straight to the apex, which is truncate and much less than half as wide as the base; parallel scales dense and directed longitudinally in great part; elytra a third longer than wide, a fifth or sixth wider than the prothorax and nearly two and one-half times as long, the sides parallel, broadly, circularly rounded in apical third, the sutural angle not reëntrant; pygidium closely but not densely clothed with slender and suberect pale squamules; under surface without sexual mark, the first ventral suture fine but very distinct throughout, the others coarse, the fourth not reflexed at the sides. Length 4.3 mm.; width 2.0 mm. Brazil (Santarem). One specimen.

Zyzzyva has achieved notoriety for being the last word in several English-language dictionaries.[3][4][5] Casey is commonly credited with naming the genus, although the etymology of the word is unclear.[5][3][1] One theory is that the word was inspired by Zyzza, a former genus of leafhoppers.[3] An entomologist at New York's Museum of Natural History speculated that Casey made up the word as a joke, "to have the last word."[5]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Andrews, Travis M. (2017-06-27). "The Oxford English Dictionary has a new last word. Bet you can't pronounce it". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2017-06-27. Retrieved 2021-06-27.
  2. ^ a b Casey, Thomas L. (1922). Memoirs on the Coleoptera. 10. Lancaster, PA: New Era. doi:10.5962/bhl.title.15993. BHL page 15912352.
  3. ^ a b c Martin, Katherine Connor (2017-06-16). "New words notes June 2017". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University. Archived from the original on 2021-06-27. Retrieved 2021-06-27.
  4. ^ "What is the absolute last word in any dictionary?". Dictionary.com. Archived from the original on 2014-08-23. Retrieved 2021-06-27.
  5. ^ a b c Storer, Doug (1981-04-24). "He Looks Like A Pig, A Bear, Kangaroo..." Amazing But True. The Evening Independent. St. Petersburg, FL. p. 6-B. Retrieved 2021-06-27.
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Zyzzyva: Brief Summary

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Zyzzyva /ˈzɪzɪvə/ is a genus of South American weevils, often found on or near palm trees. It was first described in 1922 by Thomas Lincoln Casey, Jr., based on specimens obtained in Brazil by Herbert Huntingdon Smith.:2,369

Casey describes Zyzzyva ochreotecta in his book Memoirs on the Coleoptera, Volume 10::369–370

Rather broadly oblong-oval, convex, densely clothed with scales, ochreous and very uniform above, completely concealing the sculpture; beak (♂) scarcely longer than the prothorax, thick, distinctly arcuate, compressed basally, finely, closely punctate, longitudinally furrowed and carinate above; antennae obscure rufous; prothorax two-fifths wider than long, the sides parallel and nearly straight in basal two-fifths, thence oblique and nearly straight to the apex, which is truncate and much less than half as wide as the base; parallel scales dense and directed longitudinally in great part; elytra a third longer than wide, a fifth or sixth wider than the prothorax and nearly two and one-half times as long, the sides parallel, broadly, circularly rounded in apical third, the sutural angle not reëntrant; pygidium closely but not densely clothed with slender and suberect pale squamules; under surface without sexual mark, the first ventral suture fine but very distinct throughout, the others coarse, the fourth not reflexed at the sides. Length 4.3 mm.; width 2.0 mm. Brazil (Santarem). One specimen.

Zyzzyva has achieved notoriety for being the last word in several English-language dictionaries. Casey is commonly credited with naming the genus, although the etymology of the word is unclear. One theory is that the word was inspired by Zyzza, a former genus of leafhoppers. An entomologist at New York's Museum of Natural History speculated that Casey made up the word as a joke, "to have the last word."

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