Glossary of Lepidopteran terms

Glossary of Lepidopteran terms

:"Tornus" redirects here. For the gastropod genus, see "Tornus (gastropod).This glossary describes the terms used in the formal descriptions of lepidopteran species. Like all insects, adult butterflies have three distinctive segments to their bodies, the head, thorax and abdomen. The head has the eyes, the mouth parts and antennae. The mouth parts have a proboscis formed from the maxillae. The legs and wings arise from the thorax. The abdomen is free of appendages in the adults. The venation and scale colour patterns on the paired fore and hind wings are usually the first characters used in identification. In the case of certain species, the identity can only be established using the structure of genitalia or by use of molecular techniques. Since mimicry is common in Lepidoptera, care must be taken while carrying out identification from physical characteristics alone.

Terms

Head and body

*

Abdomen : Body of the insect , towards the posterior of the thorax.

*
Anal valves : Exposed claspers at the end of the abdomen.

*
Antennae : The long feelers situated on the head and close to the eyes. They are however not tactile but used for detecting airborne scents and currents.

**In Papilionoidea the antennae end in bulging tips called clubs.
**In Hesperioidea they have hooked tips and the club is found just before the tip.
**In some Lycaenidae like the genus "Liphyra" the antenna tapers gradually.
*
Catenulated : Antennae with ringed appearance.

*
Clasp or clasper : A part of the male genitalia used for clasping the female. There is one on either side.

*
Erect : Referring to the "palpi" when vertical, i.e. the axis of the palpi is at right angles to the axis of the body.

*
Labial palpi or Palpi : Comparatively large processes that originate from below the head and curve forward in front of the face that sometimes appear like a beak.(lp on the figure right

*
Porrect : Referring to the palpi when horizontally projecting in front of the face. In this case, the aixis of the palpi is parallel to the axis of the body.

*
Spiracle : Respiratory openings on the thorax and abdomen that allow air to enter the trachea.

*
Thorax : The part of the body that lies between the head and the abdomen.

Wings

*

Admarginal (adjective) : Along the margin.

*
Anal angle : The posterior corner of the wing (same as "tornus").

*
Androconium or androconia (plural) : Specialised microscopic scales on the wings of male butterflies, believed to be scent scales for attracting the female.

*
Annular : Ring-shaped.

*
Apex / Apical area : The anterior corner of the wing.

*
Areola (plural: areolae) : A small subdivision at the base of the wing cell, or a small "window" on the upper side of a wing scale.

*
Base / Basal area of wing : Region close to the point of attachment to the thorax.

*
Brand : Raised area on the wing surface, circular, ovate, or elongated, which is covered with special scent scales or "androconia", found in males of some species. Also called sex mark.

*
Catenulate : Markings consisting of rings connected together like a chain.

*
Cell : The central area surrounded by veins. It can be closed by veins or open.

*
Cilia : Fine hairs along the edges of the wing.

*
Costa / Costal area : The leading edge of the wing.

*
Crenulate : Term used to describe the outer edge of the wing, when it is scallopped, i.e., convex at the end of each vein, and, concave in between.

*
Dentate : As for "crenulate" but with the projections at the end of each wing being toothlike.

*
Disc / Discal area : The central band passing through the cell.

*
Dorsum / Dorsal area : Referring to the trailing edge or hind-margin of the wing, extending from the "base" to the "tornus". "Dorsal" alternately, also refers to the back, i.e. the upper part of the body, from above.

*
Fascia (plural Fasciae) : Refers to a colour pattern with a broad band.

*
Eyespot or Ocelli : Spots resembling mammalian eyes. Can also be used to refer to simple eyes.

*
Interspace : The region between adjacent veins.

*
Irrorated or "írroration"': Old term used usually to indicate a sprinkling of scales interspersed among scales typically of a different colour.

*
Lunule : Crescent marks usually found along the margin.

*
Nervure : Older term for vein. Adnervural is used to describe for instance lines running adjacent and alongside the veins.

*
Stigma (plural Stigmata) : Prominent cells on the forewings of some moths. Their size, shape and colour can be useful in identifying some species.

*
Strigae : Refer patterns with thin lines.

*
Terminal and marginal : Along the margin.

*
Termen : The edge of the wing most distant from the body

*
Tornus / Tornal area : The posterior corner of the wing (same as "tornus").

*
Vein : Hollow structures formed from the coupling of the upper and lower walls of the wing. They provide both rigidity and flexiblility to the wing.
(See also Insect wing and Comstock-Needham system)

Legs

*

Coxa : Part of the leg, nearest the body

*
Femur : Second part of leg from the body, connects "coxa" to the "tibia".

*
Tarsus : The part of a leg on which the butterfly/moth walks.

*
Tibia : Third part of leg between "femur" and "tarsus".

Caterpillar

*

Osmeterium : fleshy structure on some larvae, often discharging odorous chemicals.

*
Onisciform : A woodlouse shaped, flattened platyform appearance of a larva.Glossary - Integrated Pest Management Resource Centre [http://www.pestmanagement.co.uk/lib/glossary/glossary_o.shtml] .]

*
Proleg : fleshy leg like structures arising from the abdominal segments of caterpillars. These prolegs have crochets or curved hooks.

1. Head2. Thorax3. Abdomen4. Spiracle5. Anal clasper6. Proleg7. Segment8. Thoracic leg9. Antenna]

Pupa

*

Cremaster : most butterfly pupae are attached to a surface by a silken pad spun by the caterpillar and a set of hooks (cremaster) at the tip of the pupal abdomen.

*
Girdle : a strand of silk used to prop up the pupa. Found especially in the Papilionidae.

Abbreviations

Wings

*

cv : costal vein.

*
dcv : disco-cellular vein.

*
DSF : Dry Season Form.

*
F or FW : Forewing.

*
H or HW : Hindwing.

*
mv : median vein.

*
pcv : precostal vein.

*
scv : subcostal vein.

*
UN : Underside of wings, or below.

*
UNF or Unf : Underside of the forewing only.

*
UNH or Unh : Underside of the hindwing only.

*
UP : Upperside of wings, or above.

*
UPF or Upf : Upperside of the forewing only.

*
UPH or Uph : Upperside of the hindwing only.

*
WSF : Wet Season Form.

tatus

*

C: Common.

*
NC : Not Common.

*
NR : Not Rare.

*
R : Rare.

*
VC : Very Common.

*
VR : Very Rare.

ee also

* Anatomical terms of location
* Butterfly
* Caterpillar
* Comstock-Needham system
* Insect wing
* Pupa

References

* (1932) The Identification of Indian Butterflies. (2nd Ed), Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, India.


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