This is a previously scheduled post, as I am currently in transit to China for a collections trip, and I do not know what internet and/or WordPress access I will have. As part of the preparations for the trip, I translated several Mandarin taxonomic keys for species known from the region, using my knowledge of Chinese, my experience with ant taxonomy, and, of course, Google Translate. During this process, I’ve become acquainted with the Chinese names for various genera. So, for today’s Mandarin Monday Meanings, I will discuss xiǎojiāyǐ:
Obviously, these ants are quite small. They can also be house pests, most infamously Monomorium pharaonis, the pharaoh ant. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that the Mandarin word for the genus is, literally, “little house ant” (xiǎo = small, jiā = house, yǐ = ant). The name makes the species sound rather endearing – who wouldn’t want a little house ant to visit their home every once in a while? One species’s name , “Monomorium minimum“, is also pretty fun to type, as it only requires a single use of the left hand!