According to David H. A. Fitch:
"Caeno" = "ceno" from Gk. for recent (as in pleistocene).
"Rhabditis" from Gk. for rod-shaped. A recently proposed genus of rod-shaped organisms.
"Elegans", for the elegant sinusoidal movement.
Who first described it: E. Maupas (1899) first mentioned Rhabditis elegans in his work "La mue etl'enkystement chez les nematodes", Arch. Zool. Exper. et Gen. 7:563-628. He provided a fuller description of the species the following year (1900), the reference cited more often: "Modes et formes de reproduction des nematodes", same journal, 8:463-624. In his influential revision of genus Rhabditis in 1952, Guenther Osche ("Systematik und Phylogenie der Gattung Rhabditis (Nematoda)", Zool. Jb. Syst. 81:190-280) recombined the species epithet with a new subgenus name, Caenorhabditis, making the full species name: Rhabditis (Caenorhabditis) elegans Maupas, 1899 (Osche, 1952). In the following year (1953), Ellsworth C. Dougherty raised many of Osche's subgenera to the genus level, causing our beloved worm to change its name to: Caenorhabditis elegans (Maupas, 1899) Dougherty, 1953. Some taxonomists still adhere to the name Rhabditis (Caenorhabditis) elegans because "lumping" allows a broader consideration of species thatcould be related (i.e., some of Dougherty's genera may not be monophyletic).
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Updated 09/10/2002; Created 12/07/2000; Questions & comments