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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Explanation of Terms Used in Entomology, by
John. B. Smith

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Title: Explanation of Terms Used in Entomology

Author: John. B. Smith

Release Date: September 23, 2007 [EBook #22748]

Language: English


Produced by Jon Richfield


Professor of Entomology in Rutgers College, Etc.





\'7bScanner's note: This book is about a century old at the time of scanning. I found it in the discard pile of a local university library. I find the book to be of exceptional historical interest in the insights it gives into the development of early modern entomological science. It also is of practical value as a source for terms that are obscure to modern users because they are no longer current. Such works are extremely difficult to rid of all errors, so treat any really suspicious looking passages with reserve. I have avoided the use of non-alphabetic symbols as far as I could, for example Greek letters and male, female and hermaphroditic symbols, but if you encounter difficulties, those might be the source. Also, the colour table at the end is not really much good for anything beyond general impressions; not only are the paper and ink old, but between my scanner and your screen or printer, there is room for too much misinterpretation of precise colour, for anyone to take it seriously. \'7d



A *

B *

C *

D *

E *

F *

G *

H *

I *

J *

K *

L *

M *

N *

O *

P *

Q *

R *

S *

T *

U *

V *

W *

X *

Y *

Z *



PLATE 1. Structures of the External Body Wall. *

PLATE II. Structures of Head, Mouth, Thorax & Genitalia *

PLATE III. Venation According to the Comstock System. *


When, some time since, in consequence of continuing demands, the Brooklyn Entomological Society resolved to publish a new edition of its Explanation of Terms used in Entomology, and entrusted the writer and two associates with the task of preparing the same, it was believed that a little revision of definitions, the dropping of a few obsolete terms and the addition of a few lately proposed, would be all that was necessary. It was to be a light task to fill idle time in summer, report to be made in fall. Two years have passed since that time; the associates have dropped by the way; the manuscript contains five times the number of terms in the original "Explanation." and if it is published now, it is not because I believe it to be complete; but because I do not believe it can be made complete except as the result of criticism and voluntary addition by specialists throughout the country.

It is twenty-six years since the original list was published and nothing can better illustrate the advances made than a comparison between the old and the new Glossary. No one realizes better than I the fact that as students have increased in each order, each has followed an independent line of research, absolutely without regard to the work done elsewhere. In consequence, we have several terms for the same thing in many cases and, in an equal number, several meanings to the same term. As no one man can now-a-days cover the entire field of Entomology, it goes without saying that I was compelled to rely partly upon books and partly upon the good nature of correspondents to make the work even approximately complete.

The first notable contribution came from Professor Justus W. Folsom, of Urbana, Illinois, who sent me over 2000 cards of terms collected by himself and his assistants, and these added materially at the beginning of the work. A number of correspondents were good enough to send in lists of terms in Coleoptera, Lepidoptera, Orthoptera, Hemiptera and Neuroptera, and to refer me to literature where explanations of other special terms could be found.

After the cards were so far advanced as to warrant a preliminary manuscript, Dr. Philip P. Calvert of the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Nathan Banks of Washington, D. C., and Mr. C. W. Johnson of the Boston Society of Natural History went carefully over the entire work and by their criticisms and additions contributed materially to such merit as it possesses. To these gentlemen and to the many others not specifically mentioned I give thanks for their assistance, and if there have not been more co-workers it has been only because of the time element that seems to demand the best that is ready, rather than a delay to secure perfection.

It would be interesting to go at length into the history of the correspondence to determine what sort of terms should or should not be included and to bring out the hopeless divergencies existing ; but all that is important here is to state briefly what has been included and what omitted.

Common English terms even if descriptive, when used in their ordinary dictionary sense, have not been included as a rule; but this is subject to many exceptions. Latin terms and derivatives, even if used in their usual sense have been generally included; but compounds made up of adequately defined descriptive terms are generally omitted. Adverbial or adjective forms have been omitted whenever it has been considered safe, and so have terms prefixed by sub-, supra- and the like, indicating degree or position. In doubtful cases the terms have been included and defined. All terms of venation are, so far as possible, reduced to the Comstock system which is the only one that has been satisfactorily worked out for all orders, and a series of figures is added to explain this system so far as seems necessary. It has not been considered feasible to determine the proper use of terms applied differently in different orders or families; that is scarcely within the scope of a work of this kind.

Terms used in embryological and histological study have been included only so far as seemed necessary to an understanding of the general works, and no attempt has been made to cover the terms applied to musculature and other details of microscopic structure : this has seemed rather to be outside of the scope of the present essay.

All color terms are reduced so far as possible to terms of the Windsor and Newton system of water colors which are standard in the English-speaking world, and the color plate shows solid blocks of those colors that seem necessary to explain all modifications except metallics, blacks and whites. \'7bScanner's note: color plate may be excluded, partly because it is in poor condition.\'7d

The figures illustrating body structures and other details have been drawn under my supervision by Mr. John A. Grossbeck, and are meant to be guides merely—else the glossary would exceed its scope.

In the admission that the work is incomplete, no apology is intended for its publication; it is merely a statement of fact to encourage constructive rather than destructive criticism. It is hoped that those who note errors or omissions will communicate them to the writer so that when another edition is needed, as it will be before many years are past, a standard work may be possible.


New Brunswick, N.J. April 1906


Definitions of general application are as a rule given first, where more than one is necessary ; next those of limited use, and finally the specific meaning in each order in which there is any notable difference.

Where a word has more than one ending, the difference is given after a hyphen which represents the stem word: e. g., ametabola -ous; the latter in place of ametabolous, which indicates the possession of the characters peculiar to the ametabola. Where there is an English and a Latin ending, the former is usually given with the word and the other is added: e. g., aequilate -us, instead of aequilatus, there being no difference in the application. Usually the singular form of the word is first given, and the plural ending is added ; e. g.,

antenna -ae,

cenchrus -ri,

desideratum -ata ;

but occasionally, when the plural is more commonly used, e. g., epimera -eron, this is reversed and the singular ending is added: when the two are different in form, e. g., foot and feet, the words are given separately, and so when there is a difference in the application, as in

uncus and unci.

In the definition of color terms the words in brackets [ ] refer to the equivalent color as named on the plate, or the combination needed to produce it.

The names in parentheses ( ) are those of the writers whose definitions are used, or who have used the term in the sense defined. In the terms of venation, these parentheses occur most frequently.

Most of the signs and abbreviations are those in common use

:= equal to, or the same as ;

q. v., which see ;

pl., plural ; abb., abbreviated.

The abbreviated names are:

Comst., for Comstock ; Coq., for Coquillett;

Meig., for Meigen ; Nort., for Norton:
O. S., for Osten-Sacken: and Will. for Williston.


A: prefix, is privative; wanting or without.

Ab: off; away from.

Abbreviated: cut short; not of usual length.

Abdomen: the third or posterior division of the insect body: consists normally of nine or ten apparent segments, but actual number is a mooted question: bears no functional legs in the adult stage.

Abdominal: belonging or pertaining to the abdomen.

Abdominal feet: see pro-legs.

Abdominal groove: the concave lobe of the inner margin of secondaries enveloping the abdomen beneath, in some butterflies.

Abdominal pouch: in female Parnassiids, a sac-like ventral cavity, formed by material secreted during copulation.

Abductor: applied to muscles that open out or extend an appendage or draw it away from the body: see adductor.

Abductor mandibulae: the muscle that opens the mandibles.

Aberrant: unusual; out of the ordinary course.

Aberration: a form that departs in some striking way from the normal type; either single or occurring rarely, at irregular intervals.

Abiogenesis: spontaneous generation.

Abnormal: outside the usual range or course; not normal.

Aborted: a structure developed so as to be unfit for its normal function obsolete or atrophied.

Abraded: scraped or rubbed.

Abrupt: suddenly or without gradation.

Abscissus: cut off squarely, with a straight margin.

Absconditus: hidden, concealed; retracted into another.

Acalyptrata: those muscid flies in which alulae are absent or rudimentary.

Acanthus: a spine, spur or prickle.

Acaudal -ate: without a tail.

Accessory: added, or in addition to.

Accessory carinae: in Orthoptera the lateral carinae of the face.

Accessory cell: a cell not commonly present in the group; in some orders of definite location as, e.g. in Lepidoptera, usually a small cell at the end of the subcosta, giving rise directly or indirectly to veins 7 to 10:= 1st radius 2 (Comst.); = areole.

Accessory glands: any glands opening into the ducts of the reproductive system.

Accessory sac: a glandular structure of the female reproductive system containing a sticky secretion.

Accessory subcostal vein: the vein given off from the subcosta and branching toward the apex of the wing in Perlidae.

Aceous or aceus: suffix; similar to, or of the nature of.

Acephalous: without a head.

Acerata: arthropods without true antennae Arachnids and Limulus

Acetabular caps: Hemiptera; the coxal cavity.

Acetabuliform: like a shallow saucer with more or less incurved sides.

Acetabulum: the cavity into which an appendage is articulated; specifically the coxal cavity, - q.v.; also applied to a cup-like cavity in the sucking mouth of maggots.

Achreioptera: ordinal term proposed for the coleopterous family Platypsyllidae.

Achromatic: free from color; tissue that does not stain readily.

Acicular: needle-shaped; with a long, slender point.

Aciculate: a surface that appears as if scratched with a needle.

Acidotheca: the pupal sheath of the ovipositor.

Acini: granulations, like those on a blackberry: the terminal secreting tubes of glands.

Acinose -ous: a surface set with acini.

Acone: applied to compound eyes in which the individual ocelli have no crystalline cone or lens; see eucone. \'7bScanner's note: this is no longer a valid usage for the word "ocelli". Currently the term is. See "ocellus" and "ommatidium".\'7d

Acoustic nerve: connects the auditory pits or other organs of hearing with special ganglia.

Acridophagus: preying and feeding on grasshoppers.

Acrostichal bristles: Diptera; two rows of bristles on the middle of the dorsum; specifically, minute peculiar bristles on the dorso-central region of Dolichopodidae.

Aculeata: Hymenoptera; the stingers, including bees and wasps.

Aculeate: prickly; armed with short, sharp spines; specifically, in Hymenoptera furnished with a sting which is a modified ovipositor and connected with a poison sac.

Aculeus -ei: a prickle; a small sharp point; specifically, an ovipositor, especially when sting-like, as in Hymenoptera; in male Tipulidae a slender, horny, often curved and pointed piece, projected when the forceps is open.

Acuminate: tapering to a long point.

Acupunctate: a surface with fine punctures as if made with a needle.

Acutangulate: forming, or meeting in an acute angle.

Acute: pointed: terminating in or forming less than a right angle.

Acutilingual: with a sharp pointed tongue or mouth structure, as in some bees.

Acutilingues: bees with a short pointed tongue: see obtusilingues.

Addorsal: close to but not quite on the middle of the dorsum.

Addorsal line: in caterpillars, is longitudinal, a little to one side of the dorsal and between it and the subdorsal line.

Adductor: applied to muscles that draw an appendage to the body or bring parts into apposition: see abductor.

Adductor mandibulae: the muscle that draws in or closes the mandible.

Adeloceratous: with concealed antennae: see cryptocerata.

Adephagous: belonging to the Adephaga: pentamerous, predatory, terrestrial beetles with filiform antennae and predatory habits: see hydradephagous.

Adherent: attached or clinging to.

Adipose: fat or fatty: see fat-body.

Adiscota: insects that develop into adults without forming imaginal discs; see discota.

Adminicula: supports or props: the spinous processes on the abdomen of boring and burrowing pupae.

Adnate: adjoining; adhering or growing together: closely connected.

Adpressed: laid or pressed to; contiguous.

Adsperse -us: with markings of closely crowded small spots.

Adsternal: situated next or close to the sternum.

Adult: the stage when an insect is sexually mature and ready to reproduce normally.

Aduncate -cus, -catus: a part gradually bent through its whole extent.

Adventitious: occurring accidentally, out of the ordinary course, without apparent reason.

Adventral line: in caterpillars, extends along the under side between the middle and the base of legs.

Adventral tubercle: on the abdominal segments of caterpillars on the inner base of the leg, and correspondingly on the apodal segments; constant: is number VIII of the abdominal series (Dyar).

Aeneous -eus: shining bronze or brassy.

Aenescent: becoming or appearing bronzed or brassy.

Aequale: equal.

Aequilate-us: of equal breadth throughout.

Aerial: living in the air; applied to flying insects.

Aeriductus: a spiracle: the tracheal, gill-like structures of aquatic larvae: more specifically the tail-like extensions of rat-tailed maggots and some aquatic Hemiptera.

Aeroscepsin: an indefinite sense of perception supposed to be located in the antenna.

Aeroscepsy: The faculty of observing atmospheric changes: supposed to be located in the antenna.

Aerostats: a pair of large air sacs at base of abdomen in Diptera.

Aeruginose -us: the color of verdigris [blue green].

Aestival: occurring in summer.

Aestivation: applied to summer dormancy.

Afferent: carrying inwardly or toward the centre.

Affinis: related to: similar in structure or development.

Afternose: a triangular piece below antennae and above clypeus: see postclypeus.

Agamic -ous: reproducing without union with a male.

Agamogenesis: reproduction without fertilization by a male: see parthenogenesis; gamogenesis.

Agglomerate: heaped or massed together.

Agglutinate: stuck or glued together; welded into one mass.

Aggregated: crowded together as closely as possible.

Agnathous: without jaws; specifically applied to those Neuropteroid series in which the mouth structures are obsolescent.

Aileron: the scale covering the base of primaries in some insects; see tegulae in Diptera = alula and squama, q.v.

Air-sacs or vesicles: pouch-like expansions of tracheal tubes in heavy insects, capable of inflation and supposed to lessen specific gravity.

Air-tube: a respiratory siphon.

Ala -ae: a wing or wings.

Alar appendage: see alulet.

Alar frenum: a small ligament crossing the supra-alar groove toward the root of the wing: Hymenoptera.

Alary: relating to the wings: applied also to the wing muscles of heart.

Alate -us: winged; with lobes similar to wings in appearance though not necessarily in function.

Albi, albus: white.

Albicans: formed or made of white.

Albidus: white with dusky tinge.

Albinic: of the character of an albino.

Albinism: that condition in which there is an absence of color or a whitening in a form usually colored.

Albino: a colorless individual of a species that is normally colored.

Albumen: the white of egg or the substances in the tissues which have the same characteristics.

Albumin: the characteristic substance forming the white of egg.

Albuminoid: like or of the character of albumen.

Alimentary canal: the digestive tract as a whole; begins at the mouth and extends through the body to the anus.

Alitrunk: that part of the thorax to which the wings are attached: in many Hymenoptera, includes the 1st abdominal segment.

Alizarine: a transparent, orange red [alizar crimson].

Alleghanian faunal area: is that part of the transition zone comprising the greater part of New England, s. e. Ontario, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, eastern N. Dakota, n. e. S. Dakota, and the Alleghanies from Pennsylvania to Georgia.

Alligate -us: fastened or suspended by a thread; like the chrysalis of Papilio, etc.

Alliogenesis: when the development includes an alternation of generations (q.v.), as in Cynipids.

Alluring glands: glandular structures diffusing an odor supposed to be attractive to the opposite sex.

Allux: next to the last joint of tarsus; in Rhynchophora.

Alpine zone: = arctic zone, q.v.

Alternation of generations: where a species that occurs in both sexes periodically produces only parthenogenetic females; the latter, in turn, producing the sexed form; occurs in Cynipidae and some Homoptera: see heterogeny.

Altus: above: applied to a part raised above the usual level.

Alulae: Diptera; a pair of membranous scales above the halteres, behind the root of the wing, one above or before the other; the anterior attached to the wing and moving with it, the posterior fastened to the thorax and stationary; see calyptra; squama; squamula; lobulus; axillary lobe; aileron; scale; tegulae: Coleoptera; a membranous appendage of the elytra which prevents dislocation.

Alulet: Diptera: the lobe at basal posterior part of wing; = alar appendage; posterior lobe: and has been used as = alula.

Alutaceous: rather pale leather brown [burnt sienna]: covered with minute cracks, like the human skin.

Alveolate: furnished with cells: deeply pitted.

Alveolus: a cell, like that of a honeycomb.

Amber: a transparent, clear, pale yellowish brown; of the color of amber [a mixture of pale cadmium yellow and a little burnt umber].

Ambient vein: Diptera; the costal vein when it extends beyond the apex and practically margins the wing.

Ambrosia: bee-bread: the food cultures of certain Scolytid beetles.

Ambulatoria: that series of Orthoptera in which the legs are fitted for walking only; Phasmids.

Ambulatorial: fitted for walking or making progress on the surface.

Ambulatorial setae: specialized hairs or bristles, situated on the ventral segments of the abdomen of some Coleoptera. Ambulatory: moves by walking; formed for walking.

Ametabola -ous: insects without obvious metamorphoses, in which the larvae usually resemble the adult and the pupae are active.

Ametabolion: an insect that has no distinct metamorphoses.

Amethystine -us: bright blue with a reddish admixture; clear like an amethyst [between mauve and lilac].

Amnion: the inner of the two membranes enveloping the embryo.

Amnion cavity: a tube-like insinking from the ventral plate of the embryo, extending cephalad.

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