What is the singular form of Archaea?

GS microHero at compuserve.com
Mon Feb 10 02:36:47 EST 1997

Kunio Ihara wrote:
> Dear microbiologist:
> I have a question.  What is the correct singular form of Archaea? The
> form "Archaeum" was appeared in some papaers and the form "Archaeon" was
> in another paper.  Which was correct? Or, both form were correct?  This
> may be simply linguistic problem .
> If you have some information, please let me known.
> Thank you in advance.
> Kunio Ihara  (Nagoya University, JAPAN)

The ending "-um" is correct for a Latin neuter noun singular. The ending 
"-on" is correct for a Greek singular noun where the plural form ends in 
"-a". I think "Archae- " is a Greek derived name, in which case 
"Archaeon" is correct. If you've seen it thus in the literature that is 
almost certainly the correct form. Another one is "Chlamydia" which is 
the plural of "Chlamydion" - although most people think that "Chlamydia" 
is singular and "Chlamydiae" is the plural.

Graham Shepherd
microHero at compuserve.com

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