Animal Descriptive Terms

Many pathogens - in particular viruses - are named from the animal in which they are most commonly found. Most people know for example, that the word “canine” refers to dogs. There are numerous other animal adjectives used in scientific literature, and some of these terms may be a source of confusion to readers. For instance, the pathogen name “cercopithecine herpesvirus” would mean, a herpesvirus found in monkeys.

This alphabetical list gives the meanings of animal descriptive terms. Some animals are assigned more than one descriptor. It is also helpful to know that many viruses are not necessarily found exclusively in one species of animal, even though the virus may be named after that species. Certain viruses (or components thereof) cross over to closely related species, and sometimes to more distantly related species.


Acarine – mite, tick
Accipitrine – hawk, falcon, or bird of prey
Acipenserine - sturgeon
Aedine - mosquito
Alaudine – skylark
Alcelaphine - antelope
Alcidine – auk, puffin, or murre
Alectorine – crane
Anatine – duck, mallard
Anguilline - snake
Anguine – snake
Anopheline – mosquito
Anserine – goose
Antilopine – antelope
Apian – bee
Aquiline – eagle
Arctian - moth
Arietine - ram
Asinine – ass
Aspine – asp
Atherine - smelt
Avian – bird or fowl
Avine - bird
Basilicine – basilisk lizard
Batrachian - toad
Bisontine – bison
Bobovine – gaur
Bombycine – silkworm
Bovine – cow, ox
Bubaline – hartebeest, antelope, buffalo
Bufotenine - toad
Buteonine – buzzard
Caballine – horse
Cameline – camel
Cancrine - crab
Canine – dog
Capreoline – roebuck
Caprine – goat
Cathartine – vulture, buzzard
Cebine – capuchin monkey
Ceratorhine - rhinoceros
Cercopithecine - monkey
Cervine – deer, elk, moose, stag
Charadrine – plover, snipe, woodcock
Chelonian – tortoise, turtle
Ciconine – stork
Clathrine – primitive sponge
Colubrine – kingsnake, gartersnake
Columbine – dove
Coralline – coral
Corvine – crow, raven, jackdaw, jay, magpie
Coturnine - quail
Cricetine – hamster, gerbil
Crocodiline – crocodile
Crotaline – rattlesnake
Cuculine – cuckoo
Culicine – mosquito
Cygnine – swan
Cyprine – carp
Cypseline - swift
Dacelonine – kingfisher
Dasyproctine - agouti
Dasyurine – dasyure
Delphine – dolphin
Didelphine – opossum
Didine – dodo
Dinornithine - moa
Draconine – dragon
Elaphine – deer, stag
Elapine – cobra, coral snake, mamba
Elephantine – elephant
Emberizine – bunting, sparrow
Equine – horse
Eusuchian - alligator
Falconine – falcon, hawk, kestrel
Feline – cat
Formicine – ant
Fringilline – finch
Fulicine – coot
Fuliguline – eider, sea duck
Gadine - cod
Gallid, galline – domestic fowl, chicken
Garruline – jay or magpie
Gazelline – gazelle
Giraffine – giraffe
Glirine - rodent
Gruine – crane
Halcyonine - kingfisher
Herpestine – mongoose
Hippocampine – sea horse
Hippopotamine – hippopotamus
Hippotigrine – zebra
Hircine - goat
Hirudine – leech
Hirundine – swallow, martin
Homarine – lobster
Hominine – human
Hyenine – hyena
Hylobatine – gibbon
Hyracine - hyrax
Hystricine – porcupine
Ibidine – ibis
Icterine – blackbird, oriole, meadowlark
Lacertilian – lizard
Lacertine – lizard
Laridine – gull
Larine – gull
Lemurine – lemur
Leonine – lion
Leporine – hare
Lepine – rabbit
Limacine - slug
Lumbricine – earthworm
Lupine – wolf
Lutrine – otter
Lyncine – lynx
Macropine – kangaroo
Macropodine – kangaroo, wallaby
Manatine – manatee
Megacerine – megaceros
Megacerotine - megaceros
Megapterine – humpback whale
Megatherine – giant ground sloth
Meleagrine – turkey
Meline - badger
Mephitine – skunk
Microtine – lemming, vole
Milvine – kite
Mimine - mockingbird
Monadine – monad, flagellated protozoan
Moschine – musk deer
Murine – mouse, rat
Muscicapine – flycatcher, bird
Musteline – weasel, mink, badger, ferret, etc.
Myoxine - dormouse
Myrmecine – ant
Myrmecophagine - anteater
Nestorine – kaka or kea
Noctilionine – bat
Octopine – octopus
Oniscine – songbird
Ophidian - snake
Orygine - oryx
Oscine – songbird
Ostracine – oyster
Otarine – fur seal, sea lion, seal
Ovibovine – musk ox
Ovine – sheep
Pandionine – osprey
Panorpine – scorpion fly
Pantherine – panther
Paradoxurine – palm-cat, palm-civet
Pardine – leopard
Parine – tit, titmouse
Passerine – perching bird, sparrow
Patelline - limpet
Pavonine – peacock
Pediculine – louse
Penduline – titmouse, bird
Percesocine – barracuda
Percine - perch
Perdicine - partridge
Phalacrocoracine – cormorant
Phalangine – phalanger
Phascolomian - wombat
Phasianine – pheasant
Philomelian - nightingale
Phocaenine – porpoise
Phocine – seal
Picine – woodpecker
Pieridine – butterfly
Pierine – butterfly
Piscine – fish
Porcine – pig
Procyonine – raccoon
Psittacine – parrot, macaw
Pteropine – bat, flying fox
Pullastrine - pigeon
Pulicine – flea
Pyrrhuline – bullfinch
Pyrrhuloxine – bunting, cardinal
Pythonine - python
Ralline – rail
Rangiferine – caribou, reindeer
Ranine – frog
Rhinerocerine – rhinoceros
Rucervine – Indian swamp deer
Rupicaprine – chamois
Sabelline – sable
Salamandrine – salamander
Saurian - lizard
Sciurine – squirrel
Scolopacine – snipe, woodcock
Serpentine – serpent
Simian – monkey, ape
Sittine – nuthatch
Soricine – shrew
Sphingine – hawkmoth, sphinx
Sphinxine – sphinx
Strigine – owl
Struthionine – ostrich, emu, rhea
Struthious – ostrich, emu, rhea
Sturnine – swallow, starling
Suilline – hog, pig
Suine – swine
Sylphine – sylph
Sylvicoline - warbler
Talpine – mole
Taurine – bull, ox
Termitine – termite
Testudine - tortoise
Tetraonine – grouse
Tigrine – tiger
Tolypeutine – armadillo
Trigine – sandpiper
Trochilidine – hummingbird
Trochiline – hummingbird
Troglodytine - wren
Turdine – thrush, bluebird, robin
Ursine – bear
Vaccine – cow
Vermian – worm
Vespine – wasp, hornet
Viperine – viper, snake
Vituline – calf
Viverrine – civet, mongoose
Volucrine – bird
Vulpine – fox
Vulturine – vulture
Zebrine – zebra
Zibeline - sable


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