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Entomology Glossary


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A

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Abiotic:    non-living.
Abomasum:    fourth and final region of stomach in Ruminantia.
Acarinum:     small invagination in the abdomen of Old World carpenter bees providing protection for symbiotic mites.
Accessory genitalia:     seen only in Odonata on sternites of second and third abdominal segments.
Acetylcholine:     an acetyl ester of choline involved in the synaptic transmission between nerve cells.
Acetylcholine esterase:     enzyme within the synaptic gap that hydrolyses acetylcholine to choline and acetic acid.
Acicular:     pointed, needle shaped.
Acidopore:     flexible setae fringed nozzle in formicine ants.
Acrididae:    short-horned grasshoppers Orthoptera suborder Caelifera.
Acrostichal bristle:    
the two rows of setae which are seen lying on either side of the thorax in diptera.
Active immunity:     resistance to a disease acquired by an animal as the result of antibody production in response to antigens.
Aculeate:     to possess a sting-hymenoptera.
Acuminate:     tapering down to a point.
Adeagus:     the inserted part of the male genitalia in copulation carrying the sperm into the female.
Adecticous:     arthropods having non-articulated, often reduced mandibles.
Aedeagus     intermittent organ of males of most insect groups, often used for identification.
Aeshnidae:     dragonflies.
Aestivation:     dormancy in hot dry conditions analogous to hibernation in cold environments.
Alar Squama:     central or middle of the three outgrowths seen at the base of wings in various flies.
Alitrunk:     thorax and propodeum of narrow waisted hymenopterans.
Alula:     outer of the three outgrowths seen at the base of wings in various flies.
Annulate:     with ring-like markings.
Antennae:     sensory organs on the head-usually elongate.
Antenodal Veins:     in dragonfly or damselfly wings, the small cross-veins between the base and the nodus.
Anterior:     frontal region.
Aphididae:     order Hemiptera, suborder Homoptera, soft bodied insects feeding on plant sap, greenfly, blackfly.
Apical:     concerning the tip.
Apocrita:     order Hymenoptera, ants bees, wasps.
Apodeme:     internal projection of cuticle for the attachment of muscles in insects.
Apodous:     without legs.
Aposematic:     a Color form or behavior which serves as a warning of distaste or danger, such as the yellow and black of a wasp.
Appendage:     organ or limb attached to the body by a joint.
Appendix:     short vein, especially that seen as a short continuation after a main vein has changed direction.
Apterous:     without wings.
Apterygote:     Any of the primitive insects which have never developed wings during their history- bristletails.
Aquatic:     living in water.
Aradidae:     order Hemiptera, barkbugs, most feed on fungi under the bark of dead trees.
Arbovirus:     term applied to a virus that can replicate in both arthropods and vertebrates.
Areolate:     division of an area into smaller areas-areolae-by lines or cracks such as a insects wing.
Arista:     bristle-like outgrowths from the third antennal segment of some diptera.
Aristate:     bearing an arista- Tsetse flies.
Arolium:     pad found between the claws on an insects foot.
Arthropoda:     a major division within the Animal Kingdom having external skeletons.
Assassin bug:     general name of bugs belonging to the family Reduviidae.
Attini:     foliage cutting ants which feed on fungi grown on cut foliage, subfamily Myrmicinae.

 


B

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Bacterium:     Bacteria in the blood.
Bacilluria:     Having bacteria in the urine.
Bacteriostatic:     preventing the growth of bacteria.
Basal Lamina :    one of two layers that form the basement membrane, a amorphous sheet which underlies epithelial cells.
Basal:     the base of a structure-usually that nearest to the body.
Basitarsus:     first and usually the largest segment of the tarsus.
Bedbug:     Cimex lectularius.
Bee-flies:     common name for Bombyliidae.
Bibionidae:     fever flies, March flies. Order Diptera.
Bifid:     split in two.
Biological Control:     control of pest species by the use of other living organisms.
Biotic:     living.
Bipectinate:     concerned mainly with the antennae-feathery like extensions projecting out from two sides of a central axis.
Biting Lice:     Mallophaga.
Biting Midges:     Ceratopogonidae.
Blattodea:     cockroaches.
Blister beetle:     Meloidae.
Bombus:     bumble-bees.
Bombyliidae:    bee-flies, order Diptera, suborder-Brachycera.
Bot Fly:     common name for Gasterophilidae and Oestridae.
Brachypterous:     to have short wings.
Buccal:     pertaining to the mouth.
Buffalo Gnats:     common name for blackflies, Simuliidae.
Bugs:    common term for Hemiptera.
Bulb:     rounded expansion of an organ.
Bursa Copulatrix:     part of female genitalia which receives sperm and the adeagus, used as an identifying structure.
Butterflies:     Lepidoptera.
Byrrhidae:    pill beetles, order Coleoptera.
Byssoid:     to consist of fine threads.
 

C

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Caddis Flies:     order Trichoptera.
Cecum:     a pouch in which in some animals houses a bacterial population which is involved in the digestion of cellulose.
Calliphoridae:     a suborder of Dipteran flies- blowflies such as greenbottles and bluebottles.
Callus:     rounded swelling used especially to describe swollen regions at the front and back of certain diptera.
Calopterygidae:     family of damselflies.
Calypter:     also known as the thoracic squama, the inner most of three outgrowths at the base of the wing in certain diptera.
Campanulate:     bell shaped.
Campodeiform:     concerning larva-elongated, flattened with developed legs and antennae, seen in many beetles.
Cantharidae:     family of soft-bodied beetles-soldier beetles and sailor beetles.
Capillary:     smallest, narrowest blood vessel in the blood circulatory system of a vertebrate.
Carabidae:     major family of beetles-ground beetles.
Cardo:     secondary jaw, comprised from basal segment of the maxilla.
Carina:     a pronounced ridge.
Caste:     one of the distinct forms that make up the population of social insects, in honeybees-queen, drone, worker.
Catabolism:     degradation of food molecules that results in energy.
Cauda:     terminal protrusion, such as that on aphid for manipulating honeydew.
Caudal:     concerning the tail end.
Cell:     area of wing formed by wing veination.
Cerci:     paired appendages, usually long arising from the end of the abdomen.
Cervical:     just behind the head, concerning the neck.
Chaetae:     stiff hairs, singular-chaeta.
Chaetotaxy:     arrangement of chaetae, important in classification especially in diptera.
Chitin:     polysaccharide material, tough relatively waterproof, forms bulk of insect cuticle.
Ciliated:     bearing minute setae, hairs in many non-insects.
Clavate:     distal end being swollen, club-shaped, usually referring to antennae.
Clavus:     posterior wing region in heteroptera.
Clypeus:     part of an insects face just above the labrum.
Coarctate:     concerning pupae-enclosed in last larval skin protecting pupa, seen in Cyclorrapha flies.
Cocoon:     silken case protecting pupa, seen in many Lepidoptera.
Contiguous:     meeting or touching.
Corbicula:     pollen basket on the hind leg of many bees.
Corium:     main part of wing in heteropteran bug.
Cornicle:     tubular outgrowths from the distal end of aphids, plural conicles.
Costa:     one of the major wing veins forming the front margin of the wing, abbreviated to C.
Costal cell:     cell formed between the costal and sub-costal vein.
Coxa:     basal leg segment, frequently fixed to body and immovable.
Cremaster:     cluster of small hooks, less often one large hook, used to grip pupal support in Lepidoptera pupa.
Cross-vein:     any vein joining two longitudinal veins.
Cubitus:     major longitudinal vein in the rear half of the wing, abbreviated to Cu.
Cuneus:     triangular region of forewing in some heteropteran bugs.
Cursorial:     adapted for running.
 

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Dentate:     with teeth.
Denticulate:     with small teeth like projections.
Diapause:     suspended animation seen in many immature stages of insects.
Discal Cell:     prominent often large cell near the center of the wing.
Dorsal:     concerning the back-upper surface of an animal.
Dorso-central Bristles:     two rows of setae running along either outer side of the acrostichal bristles on the thorax of diptera.
Dorso-lateral:     towards the dorsal surface.
Dorso-ventral:     towards the ventral-lower-surface.
Dorsum:     upper surface of an animal-the back.
 

E

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Ecdysis:     molting process in insects.
Ectoparasite:     parasite which lives on the outside of its host-fleas and lice are examples.
Elbowed Antenna:     antennae with a distinct bend, or angle, between two segments, usually the first and second.
Elytron:     tough forewing of beetles and earwigs, plural elytra.
Emarginate:     a distinct notch in the margin.
Embolium:     narrow region along the margin of the forewing in certain heteropteran bugs, separated by a groove.
Empodium:     a either bristle-like or pad-like structure between the claws on the feet of diptera.
Endoparasite:     parasite that lives inside its host.
Endopterygote:     insect in which wings develop inside the body of early stages, total metamorphosis and a pupal stage are present.
Epimeron:     posterior part of any side wall of the three thoracic segments.
Epipharynx:     part of many insect mouth parts attached to the posterior surface of the labrum.
Epiproct:     appendage arising from midline of last abdominal segment, just above the anus.
Episternum:     anterior part of any of the three thoracic segments.
Eruciform:     concerning larva-cylindrical with stumpy pseudopods at rear and true thoracic legs at front-caterpillars.
Exarate Pupa:     pupa with all appendages free.
Excavate:     hollow seen in the coxa of many beetles, the coxa are hollow to allow the housing of the femora when the legs are folded.
Exopterygote:     insect in which the wings develop gradually outside the body, incomplete metamorphosis and no pupal stage.
Exuvia:     old cast off skin of an arthropod.
Eye-cap:     a covering over the eye formed from the base of the antennae, seen in certain small moths.
 

F

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Facet:     surface of an ommatidium.
Femur:     third segment of an insects leg, often the largest.
Filament:     a thread like structure.
Filiform:     thread like, applied to the antennae.
Flabellate:     with projecting flaps on one side, applied usually to the antennae.
Flagellum:     distal pert of antennae, beyond the second segment.
Fossorial:     adapted for digging.
Frenulum:     coupling mechanism of fore and hind wings in moths.
Frons:     upper section of an insects face.
Frontal Bristles:     two vertical rows of bristles on the face of a fly.
Frontal-orbital Bristles:     short row of bristles on a fly's head between the frontal bristles and the eye.
Furcula:     forked spring of a springtail.
 

G

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Galea:     outer branch of the maxilla.
Gall:     abnormal growth seen in plants due to an insect within its tissues, commonly aphids, gall wasps and gall midges.
Gaster:     abdomen in Hymenoptera except for the first segment which is fused to the thorax.
Gena:     part of an insects head below the eye, the cheek.
Genal comb:     row of spines on the lower gena of certain fleas.
Geniculate:     abruptly bent.
Genitalia:     copulatory organs of an animal.
Genus:     closely related species sharing certain features.
Gill:     breathing organ of aquatic animals- in insects usually bodily outgrowths infused with tracheae.
Glabrous:     hairless.
Glossa:     one of a pair of lobes at the tip of labium, usually small, in honeybee are greatly elongated and used to suck up nectar.
Gynandromorph:     animal with a mixture of male and female characteristics.
 

H

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Haltere:     one of the balancing organs in dipteran flies, these club shaped organs are the modified rear wings.
Hamuli:     small hooks on the front edge of the hind wing to link it to the fore wing in Hymenoptera.
Haustellate:     organ for sucking liquids.
Hemelytron:     forewing of a heteropteran bug, has a membranous tip.
Hemimetabolous:     insect which has an incomplete metamorphic life cycle, no pupal stages.
Heteromerous:     unequal numbers of tarsal segments on all legs.
Holometabolous:     insect which has a complete metamorphic life cycle, with pupal stages.
Holoptic:     eyes touching on top of head, seen mainly in diptera.
Homonym:     two species which have been given the same scientific name, when discovered one species has to be renamed.
Honeydew:     sweet liquid extruded from the anus of aphids.
Host:     organism either on which or in which one or more parasites are living.
Humeral Angle:     front basal part of wing at the part close to its attachment to the thorax.
Humeral vein:     small cross vein in the humeral region of the wing running from the costa to the sub-costa.
Hyaline:     to be clear and colorless in structure.
Hypermetamorphosis:     life cycle in which there can be two or more different types of larvae.
Hyperparasite:     an organism which is parasitic on a parasite.
Hypognathous:     possessing a vertical head with mouthparts at the bottom.
Hypopharynx:     part of an insects mouth parts arising behind the mouth and in front of the labium.
Hypopleural Bristles:     row of bristles which curve round on the side of the thorax of some dipteran flies.
 

I

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Imago:     a adult insect.
Inquiline:     animal that shares a home with a unrelated animal with no apparent adverse effect on the animal.
Instar:     insect stages seen between molts.
Integument:     outer cuticle or epidermis of insect and helminthes.
Intercalary Vein:     longitudinal vein arising from the wing margin inwards but not connecting with any main veins.
 

J

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Joint:     an articulation between two parts.
Jugum:     thin lobe projecting from the base of the forewing and overlapping the hind wing linking the two together, seen in moths.
 

K

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Keel:     also called a carina- a narrow ridge.
 

L

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Labellum:     expanded tip of labium, seen in many dipteran flies, used to soak up fluids.
Labial:     pertaining to the labium.
Labium:     lower lip of an insects mouth.
Labrium:     upper lip of an insects mouth.
Lacinia:     inner branch of the maxilla.
Lamella:     thin plate like structure.
Lamellate:     to possess lamellae often used in reference to antennae.
Larva:     name for immature insect that are different to adults-maggot differs from the adult fly.
Lateral:     the sides.
Ligulae:     the lobes at the tip of the labium.
 

M

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Mandible:     jaw of an insect, can be in many forms- drawn out to a long hollow tube in mosquitoes or compact and toothed as in grasshoppers.
Mandibulate:     mandibles suited to biting and chewing.
Marginal Cell:     a cell in the wing bordering the outer front margin.
Mazilla:     one of two structures that lay behind the jaws in insects, plural maxillae.
Maxillary:     concerning the maxllae.
Media:     longitudinal vein running through the central region of the wing in most insects, abbreviated to M.
Membranous:     thin delicate structure, usually transparent.
Mesonotum:     dorsal surface of the second thoracic segment.
Mesopleuron:     sclerites that comprise the side walls of the mesothorax.
Mesoscutellum:     hindmost of the three divisions of the mesonotum, often more or less triangular.
Mesoscutum:     middle division of the mesonotum.
Mesosternum:     ventral surface of the mesothoracic sclerite.
Mesothorax:     second thoracic segment.
Metamorphosis:     changes seen in an insect as it transforms from larvae to adult.
Metanotum:     dorsal surface of metathorax.
Metapleuron:     sclerites comprising the side wall of metathorax.
Metatarsus:     basal segment of tarsus or foot.
Metathorax:     third segment of thorax.
Moniliform:     concerning antennae-bead-like segments, each separated from the next.
Molt:     to shed the outer covering of the body.
 

N

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Nodus:     kink or notch on the costal region of a dragonfly wing, also used for the cross vein just behind the notch.
Notaulix:     one of the longitudinal grooves on the mesonotum of certain hymenopterans.
Notopleuron:     triangular region in certain diptera behind the humeral callus.
Notum:     dorsal surface of any thoracic segment.
Nymph:     young stages in hemimetabolous insects.
 

O

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Obtect Pupa:     pupa in which the appendages are fixed to the rest of body-butterfly chrysalis.
Occipital Suture:     groove running around the posterior of the head in some insects, it separates the vertex from the occiput.
Occiput:     hind most region on the top of the head.
Ocellar Bristles:     bristles around or between occelli in certain flies.
Ocellar Triangles:     area usually distinct from the rest of the head on which occelli of diptera are housed.
Ocellus:     simple eyes of some insects, usually in groups of three on the top of the head.
Ommatidium:     single unit which together form the compound eye of insects.
Ootheca:     egg case produced by cockroaches and some other insects.
Oral Vibrissae: large bristles situated just above the mouth in some diptera, usually referred to as vibrissae.
Oviparous:     egg laying.
Ovipositor:     structure used for egg laying, can be either concealed or very long as in some hymenopterans-Ichneumon wasps.
 

P

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Palp:     leg like structure comprised of varying numbers of segments arising from the maxilla, major role is food tasting.
Paraglossa:     paired lobes on the outer edges of the labium.
Paraproct:     one of two lobes found either side of the anus.
Parasite:     organism which spends either all or most of its life in association with another animal from which it acquires food.
Parthenogenesis:     reproduction in which eggs develop normally without fertilization, common in aphids.
Pecten:     structure found on the base of the antennae in some insects-comb-like in structure.
Pectinate:     usually applied to antennae- fine branches that arise from a main axis.
Pedicel:     second antennal segment: also name given to the tiny waist of ants.
Petiolate:     attached by a narrow stalk, some warble fly eggs for example.
Petiole:     narrow waist of hymenoptera.
Pictured:     used to describe mottled wings of certain Diptera and other insects.
Pilose:     densely covered in setae, antennae of male mosquitoes.
Pleural:     concerning the side walls of the body.
Pleural Suture:     vertical or diagonal groove on each of the thoracic pleura.
Pleuron:     side wall of a thoracic segment.
Plumose:     usually applied to antennae-having numerous feathery branches.
Pollen Basket:     pollen carrying region on the hind leg of bees-also called the corbicula.
Porrect:     extending horizontally forward, usually referring to the antennae.
Posterior:     facing or concerning the rear.
Postmentum:     basal region of the labium.
Postscutellum:     division of the mesonotum, well developed in some flies.
Post-vertical Bristles:     bristles found on the head of some flies behind the occelli, can be divergent, parallel, or crossing.
Pre-apical:     arising just before the tip.
Prementum:     distal region of the labium from which the labial palps and the ligula arise.
Prepupa:     a resting stage seen in some insects before entering the pupal stage.
Proboscis:     name given to various mouths that are designed for sucking.
Prognathous:     a horizontal head which has the mouth parts at the front.
Proleg:     a fleshy stumpy leg seen on some larval insect stages, blackfly larvae and caterpillars are examples.
Pronotal Comb:     row of spines on the hind region of the pronotum of some fleas.
Pronotum:     the dorsal surface of the prothorax which in some insects shields the head (Blattodea).
Propodeum:     first abdominal segment in the Apocrita insect group, being fused with the thorax.
Prosternum:     ventral surface of the first thoracic segment.
Prothorax:     first thoracic segment.
 

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Quadrilateral:     cell near the base of a damselfly wing, shape of this cell is used as a feature to determine damselfly families.
 

R

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Radial Sector:     posterior of the two main branches of the radius, can have several branches of its own, abbreviated to Rs.
Radius:     one of the main longitudinal veins which runs near the front margin of the wing, abbreviated to R.
Raptorial:     adapted to seizing to prey, birds of prey and the preying mantis.
Reticulate:     to be covered with a network pattern.
Rostrum:     beak, usually applied to a piecing mouth of a bug.
Rudimentary:     not well developed.
 

S

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Scape:     first antennal segment.
Scarabaeiform:     applied to larva, to have a thick body, strong legs on thorax and well developed head, lamellicorn beetle larvae.
Sclerite:     the individual hard plates that form the exoskeleton.
Scopa:     can be the brush setae or the pollen basket of bees used to collect pollen.
Scopula:     small tuft of setae.
Scutellum:     the third and major division of the dorsal surface of a thoracic segment.
 

T

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Tarsus:     insect foot.
Tegmen:     leathery forewing of certain insects, grasshopper for example.
Tegula:     lobe which overlies the base of the forewing.
Tergite:     primary sclerite forming dorsal surface of any body segment.
Tergum:     dorsal surface of any body segment.
Thorax:     middle of the three divisions seen in an insects body.
Tibia:     leg segment between the femur and the tarsus.
Trachea:     minute tube which permeates through the insects body carrying air to the cells.
Transverse Suture:     suture running across the thorax of many flies.
Triangle:     triangular region near the base of a dragonfly wing.
Triungulin:     active first instar of the oil beetle and some of its relatives.
Trochanter:     segment of the leg found between the coxa and the femur.
Truncate:     to end abruptly, squared off.
Tymbal:     sound producing organ of cicada.
Tympanum:     auditory membrane in certain insects.
 

U

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Univoltine:     animals which only one generation a year reaches maturity.
Unques:     the claws at the tip of the feet in Diptera.
 

V

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Ventral:     lower side of the body.
Vertex:     top of the head, between the eyes.
Vestigal:     poorly developed.
Viviparous:     to bear living active young rather than eggs.
 

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Wing pads:     the undeveloped wings seen in nymphs, they appear as two flattened pads on opposing sides of the abdomen.
Workers:     name given to a type of caste found in social insects, in Hymenoptera they are sterile females, in Isoptera they can be male or female, both of which are sterile.
 

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Xylophagous:     wood eating.
 

Y

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Yaw:     movement of a body in a lateral plane where the front region moves in one direction with the hind region moving in the corresponding opposite direction, occurs in flying and jumping insects.
 

Z

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Zooneuston:     animals that are associated with the water surface e.g. Hemiptera-water measurer.
Zoonosis:     disease that can be transmitted to humans from animals.
Zymogenous:     organisms that are transient to a particular habitat.