[Taxacom] canliculate

Les Watling watling at hawaii.edu
Tue Aug 4 13:06:22 CDT 2020

I was curious about canaliculate being used to describe a U-shaped
structure so I checked various dictionaries online. One a medical
dictionary made the distinction between canliculate and valleculate. The
former is more like a canal, i.e., with steep sides, and the latter is more
wide valley-like. In the medical dictionary the valleculate is used for
wide depressions and canaliculate for narrower, probably more steep-sided

Geologists tend to just use U-shaped or V-shaped for valleys carved by
glaciers (in the former case) or rivers and streams (in the latter case),
but it seems that maybe medicine and botany have coined specific terms,
based most likely on Latin words, for structures or features with specific

When I first started out in taxonomic work, I was concerned that my
vocabulary of adjectives, in particular, was not very good. So, I bought a
book called Bersteins Reverse Dictionary, which helped a lot, but wasn't as
easy to use as one might think.

In the end, in taxonomy, words are great if their meaning is not too broad
or ambiguous, but I can also agree with Ken Kinman that maybe using
"U-shaped" is better than trying to come up with a word that has more
precision than that....


Les Watling
Professor, Dept. of Biology
216 Edmondson Hall
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Honolulu, HI 96822
Ph. 808-956-8621
Cell: 808-772-9563
e-mail: watling at hawaii.edu

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