I am looking for a word meaning "of the nature of being a species." The cold and unforgiving logic of grammar suggests this word would be "specieal," but beyond not being a word, it would also be confused as a misspelling of "special."

An example of what I'm looking for would be "integral," meaning "of the nature of being integrated." In a sentence that would be, "that gear was integral to the operation of the motor."

Likewise, in a sentence I would use my new found word as such:

"Swinging from tree branches is _________ [specieal?] to Howler Monkeys."

Edit for Mitch

The word I'm looking for means something more than "intrinsic to" or "specific to." It's really not exclusive in nature. It describes something (often a characteristic) that identifies or is common to a species — even though it might also be "endemic" to another species. Let's use humans (homo sapiens) as an example. "The gift of reason is _____ to homo sapiens." Whatever the word is (and the examples below aren't bad, though each has its pros and cons), it would be equally used for "A nose central to the face and protuding to protect the nostrils is ______ to homo sapiens."

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    a species-dependent characteristic? – Lambie Apr 23 '18 at 17:54
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    @Lambie, I need to say no because it makes little sense to describe a gear as an "integration-dependent" characteristic or object. Or, well, maybe it does. Huh. – JBH Apr 23 '18 at 18:20
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    It is unclear what you want your word to mean, Is swinging through trees something that separates Howler monkeys from other monkeys? Monkeys from non monkeys? Is swinging through trees a necessary property of Howler monkeys? Or something else? – Mitch Apr 23 '18 at 23:11
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    @EdwinAshworth, I don't know what you mean. How do the examples demand that? – JBH Apr 23 '18 at 23:23
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    @Laurel's example ‘the differences between them can only be on the specific level’ corresponds to the meaning of 'specific' 'relating to species or to a particular species'. But 'Rod photopigment deficits in albinos are specific to mammals' {NCBI obviously cannot be using this narrow definition as Mammalia constitute a class. This is the 'limited to or affecting only one particular thing' sense of 'specific to'. The word 'specific' would answer both your title question and your complete-the-sentence question, but using different polysemes. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 23 '18 at 23:43

The word specific is used in biology for this purpose:

Relating to species or a species.

‘the differences between them can only be on the specific level’
Oxford Dictionaries

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    Regrettably, I'm not writing to an audience that would understand this distinction (I didn't know it either). It's fabulous, but I suspect it will lead to misinterpretations: as if I'm saying no other monkey would swing from branches. – JBH Apr 23 '18 at 18:21
  • Specific is absolutely correct in context, and I upvote. And if you did say "swinging from tree branches is specieal/specific to Howler Monkeys", then "no other monkey swings from branches" is just what you'd have to mean @JBH. Or else swinging from branches cannot be considered "of the nature of being a species" as applied to howler monkeys, and it would have to be considered generic (of the genus, not of the species) if almost all species of monkeys do it, and not specifically howler monkeys. Howling fit to wake the dead every morning is more speceial in their case, methinks! – English Student Apr 24 '18 at 2:00

Hallmark means a typical, definitive or identifying characteristic. Cambridge Dictionary defines it as

a typical characteristic or feature of a person or thing: [example:] Simplicity is a hallmark of this design

Source: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/hallmark

When you say

Screaming and howling from the trees is a hallmark of Howler Monkeys

the "species" part is understood because "howler monkey" is a species. Nor does it imply that this is a feature exclusive to that species. If you want to be extremely clear you can use the terms "species hallmark" or "species characteristic" as in (random example from Google)

language is a species characteristic of humans: No human society has ever been discovered that does not employ a language (...)

Your audience will understand that "species characteristic" means "characteristic of all members of the species." Or you can go very deep with "species-level characteristic" which exactly expresses your meaning.


One approach could be Iconic, or one of it's synonyms:

Synonyms for iconic adj emblematic archetypal epochal exemplary paradigmatic quintessential

These words might require reworking of your sentence or using the word 'trait' or 'attribute'

Perhaps Quintessential works well ?

quintessential from Dictionary.com

1. of the pure and essential essence of something:

the quintessential Jewish delicatessen.

2. of or relating to the most perfect embodiment of something:

the quintessential performance of the Brandenburg Concertos.

Reworking your sentences:

"Swinging from tree branches is a quintessential trait ~of~ Howler Monkeys."

"Howler Monkeys can be recognized by their quintessential style of swinging from tree branches.

"Gears are such a quintessential components of automobile motors that do-it yourself car-buffs are sometimes called 'gear-heads'.

another could be :

emblematic emblematical at Dictionary.com

1. pertaining to, of the nature of, or serving as an emblem; symbolic.

Emblematic works better with a visual I believe "The emblematic Head-to-tail white stripe on black fur of a skunk

  • What about hallmark? – English Student Apr 24 '18 at 3:07
  • @EnglishStudent Hallmark is all yours if you want ; ) not a bad answer – Tom22 Apr 24 '18 at 4:23
  • It seemed to fit your theme, thanks @Tom22. OK I will see if I could post it as an answer. – English Student Apr 24 '18 at 4:32

"Swinging from tree branches is inherent to Howler Monkeys."


inherent ADJECTIVE
1 Existing in something as a permanent, essential, or characteristic attribute.

‘As social creatures, our need for human interaction is essential and inherent.’

  • OP's question is unclear, but does require a reference to a biological species. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 23 '18 at 23:46

Special (adj.) c. 1200, "better than ordinary," from Old French special, especial "special, particular, unusual" (12c., Modern French spécial) and directly from Latin specialis "individual, particular" (source also of Spanish especial, Italian speziale), from species "appearance, kind, sort" (see species).

Meaning "marked off from others by some distinguishing quality" is recorded from c. 1300; that of "limited as to function, operation, or purpose" is from 14c.

  • Swinging from tree branches is special to Howler Monkeys.

I just happen to like the way that sounds, it sounds natural to me; furthermore, there is plentiful evidence from a simple google search of old books, that breeders of domestic livestock commonly used special to mean original or wild (i.e. unmixed) breeds:

In the United States, and British America, the process of absorption, or abolition of all the old special breeds, and of the amalgamation of all into one general race, which may fairly be termed specially "American," possessing a very large admixture of thorough blood, has gone on far more rapidly than in England—

(Among horse breeders, thorough blood is considered pure- or thorough-bred.)

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    I wondered if "special" was affiliated and I'm seriously tempted to use it. My concern is that it's general public interpretation is "something different or unique" rather than "of the nature of a species." But I'm tempted... oh, I'm tempted.... – JBH Apr 23 '18 at 23:13

Innate, according to ODO:

Inborn; natural.

Example sentence from the same source:

‘That capacity is not innate to them: it must be socialized into them by educational institutions.’

In your example:

"Swinging from tree branches is innate to Howler Monkeys."

Attribution: "Innate | Definition of Innate in English by Oxford Dictionaries." Oxford Dictionaries | English. Accessed April 23, 2018. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/innate.

  • OP's question is unclear, but does require a reference to a biological species. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 23 '18 at 23:46

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