Glossary of (technical) terms

These are some of the terms that are frequently used in these pages and also in discussions about Butterflies. If you wish to add a term, to help with the completeness of the list use the small form at the bottom. Your help would be much appreciated.

Abdomen. The body of the Butterfly behind the thorax.

Aberration. A genetic or environmentally produced variation on the usual form of the species. For example very cold conditions can produce very dark forms of some species.

Aestivation. A summer version of hibernation. Especially prevalent in very hot dry regions.

Androconica. Male scent scales for attracting females.

Antenna. The clubbed sensory organs projecting from the front of the head.

Anterior. Towards the front (head) of the Butterfly.

Basal. Towards the base of the wing.

Bivoltine. Having two broods.

Calcareous. Generally alkaline soils.

Caterpillar. See larva.

Cell. Centre of the wing. See diagram.

Chorion. The outer casing of an egg.

Chrysalis. See pupa.

Cremaster. Hooks on the pupa for attaching to silk pads.

Desiccation. Drying out. Happens to plants in high summer and can also happen to captive bred pupae.

Diapause. Suspension of life. e.g. Hibernation and aestivation.

Dimorphism. Two different forms of the same species. Can be concurrent of seasonal forms.

Distal. The furthest point from the body.

Dorsal. The upper part of the body.

Ecdysis. The process of skin shedding.

Endemic. Restricted to a particular region.

Frons. The 'face'. Area between the eyes of a butterfly.

Gyandromorph. Having both female and male characteristics. Various types.

Hibernation. The suspension of activity during the winter, cold period.

Homonym. A name accidentally used for two different species.

Imago. The adult butterfly.

Instar. A stage of larval development.

Larva(e). The second stage of a Butterflies life.

Lunule. A crescent shaped mark. Like the moon, lunar.

Macular. Spotted

Marginal. The outer edges of the wings.

Melanism. The preponderance of blackness.

Metamorphosis. The change of stage in the life of a butterfly.

Micropyle. The minute opening in a butterfly egg.

Mimicry. The similarity of two species for advantage.

Monophagous. A species which only uses one species as a hostplant.

Ocellus. Eye-spots.

Oligophagous. A species which uses several closely related hostplants.

Oviposit. Lay eggs.

Ovipositor. The structure a female has for laying eggs.

Ovum. Egg

Polymorphism. The occurrence of many forms of the same species.

Polyphagous. A species which uses hostplants from different genera.

Polyvoltine. Having many broods each season.

Postdiscal. A wing area, see diagram.

Posterior. Towards the end of the butterfly.

Proboscis. The feeding tube of a butterfly.

Pupa. The third stage in a butterflies life.

Submarginal. A wing area, see diagram.

Thorax. The middle section of an insects body.

Univoltine. Having one brood per season.


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