[Taxacom] exuvia versus exuvium

Michael A. Ivie mivie at montana.edu
Fri Jun 6 14:38:04 CDT 2008

T.B. is the authority here, as usual.  Technically, the words are not 
strictly of classical origin, and therefore are defined by the field's 
standard, in this case T.B. There is no singular.

 From the Oxford Latin Dictionary:  /exuuiae  ~arum, f. pl./refers to 1. 
armour stripped from a defeated enemy; 2. the skin stripped from a dead 
beast, the slough of a snake; and 3. the special attributes of gods 
carried in processions. There is no singular.  This word was adapted to 
the molt product of an insect when used scientifically. 

Never think Wikpedia is an authority for anything! It is populated by 
anonymous people of dubious (definitionally, because they are anonymous) 
knowledge, with clearly not enough to do. It lacks all real quality 
control, and is a was of time.  Any student that turns in anything with 
a Wikipedia source gets an automatic "F" from me (they are warned ahead 
of time).  Comic books are of equal standing as authorities.  
Corrections only last until the next idiot visits.  Stick with solid 

Doug Yanega wrote:
> Hi, all. I seem to be embroiled in an argument, and having trouble 
> getting a definitive answer. Which is the proper singular form of the 
> term "exuviae" - is it exuvia, or exuvium? I learned it as the 
> latter, and some sources back this up, but other sources (including 
> but not limited to Wikipedia) insist it is the former.
> The confusing thing is that Torre-Bueno's glossary of entomology 
> (usually a definitive source) says that the term only exists as a 
> plural, and lists BOTH exuvia and exuvium as "synonyms" of exuviae. 
> In other words, neither (according to T-B) is technically correct - 
> which, if true, is still quite unsatisfactory, given that there is 
> surely a need to HAVE a singular term to refer to a cast exoskeleton. 
> Maybe someone after Torre-Bueno made a decisive statement to settle 
> the issue?
> If it is definitively NOT "exuvia," I need to change the Wikipedia 
> entry accordingly, but this requires a genuinely authoritative source 
> that can be cited, to prevent well-meaning folks from trying to 
> revert it back. Torre-Bueno's approach (recognizing only the plural 
> form) will clearly not work there.
> Why can't things be simple? ;-)


Michael A. Ivie, Ph.D., F.R.E.S.

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