Funny Name of Microorganisms: Don’t try to find answer from these names

Last updated on June 6th, 2021

Naming microorganisms is a very challenging game. Some of the names of microorganisms are given in honor of those persons who have discovered this organism. In some cases, the name of a particular organism is derived from the place of its discovery, and in other cases, the name reflects some of the salient features of the organisms such as Staphylococci (grape like cluster: morphology), Mycobacteria: (containing Mycolic acid: salient feature).

But today I am talking about those popular names of microorganisms, inferences taken based only on those names result in the funny answer! I have found students getting confused and writing unrelated properties of these organisms. After seeing the name, they just guess the properties, which may not be correct.  

Here are the some:

  1. Chickenpox: The question asked was, “write properties of a virus causing Chickenpox“. I got the answer: It is a poxvirus and it infects chicken.
    But: Chickenpox is a disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus, a member of the herpes simplex virus family, not a pox virus.
  2. Histoplasma Capsulatum: When asked about Histoplasma in a viva, a student replied: It’s a protozoan and it is capsulated.
    But:  As its first name suggest, it is not a protozoan,  It’s a fungus. As its second name suggest, it is not a capsulated organism, it does not bear any capsule.
  3. Haemophilus influenzae: In spite of its name, Haemophilus influenzae does not cause influenza (the “flu”) flu is caused by influenza viruses.

About Acharya Tankeshwar 473 Articles
Hello, thank you for visiting my blog. I am Tankeshwar Acharya. Blogging is my passion. I am working as an Asst. Professor and Microbiologist at Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Patan Academy of Health Sciences, Nepal. If you want me to write about any posts that you found confusing/difficult, please mention in the comments below.

3 Comments

  1. hello sir how are you i hope fine and enjoying life as a microbiologist sir m facing a problem for a few days thats about whether to choose microbiology as an mphil subject or histopathology or hematology i am intrested in micro but some profesionals asked me not join it but histo so i just want to have an advice from you what should i do

    • Dear Zia
      Based on the information you have provided here, it’s difficult to suggest best options for you. Please check, Pros and Cons of each along with your passion. I hope, you will be able to take best decision for yourself.

    • Dear Mr Sir Zia .R
      I personally in my opinion think that personally you should do what you want to do, peronsally, i think this is the most important choice in life for example in my peronaly onion that you should like do me zoology.
      Thnka you mr sir

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