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Glossary

Welcome to our entomological glossary. The glossary contains definitions for terms relating to Praying Mantis,

Welcome to our entomological glossary. The glossary contains definitions for terms relating to Praying Mantis, entomology, insects and other invertebrates. So, if you don't know your Antennae  from your Cerci or your Diapause from your Parthenogenic then this is the glossary for you.

Terms in this group

  •   Binomial naming system - the system used to name species.
  •     Biological classification - the process by which scientists group living organisms.
  •     Class - one of the seven taxonomic ranks used to classify living organisms. Class comes after Phylum and before Order.
  •     Conspecific - organisms of the same species.
  •     Family - one of the seven taxonomic ranks used to classify living organisms. Family comes after Order and before Genus.
  •     Genus - one of the seven taxonomic ranks used to classify living organisms. Genus comes after Family and before Species.
  •     Kingdom - one of the main divisions used in the biological classification/taxonomy of organisms.
  •     Linnaeus - the Swedish biologist who first described many species and developed the system of naming organisms that is still used today.
  •     Order - one of the seven taxonomic ranks used to classify living organisms. Order comes after Class and before Family.
  •     Phylum - one of the seven taxonomic ranks used to classify living organisms. Phylum is positioned after Kingdom and before Class.
  •     Species - Species is one of the seven taxonomic ranks used to classify living organisms. A species is a group of organisms that can breed and produce fertile offspring.
  •     Subspecies - a further division of species based on minor but constant differences in individuals.
  •     Taxonomy - the process of identifying and classifying living organisms.
  •     Uniramia - the subphylum within the Arthropoda that contains insect, centipedes, millipedes.
  • Brood parasitism - a form of parasitism whereby the parasite uses another organism to raise the parasite's offspring rather than the host's own offspring.
  • Caterpillar - the second stage in the life cycle of butterflies and moths.
  • Chorion - the outer shell of an insect's egg.
  • Chrysalis - the third stage in the life cycle of a butterfly or moth.
  • Cocoon - the protective covering around the pupae or chrysalis of some insects.
  • Complete metamorphosis - a type of metamorphosis in which an insect goes through four distinct stages: egg, larva, pupa, imago.
  • Cremaster - a series of hooks used to attach the pupa of a butterfly or moth to a twig or other structure.
  • Nuptial flight - the mating flight of some insects such as social bees and ants.
  • Nuptial gift - items provided by a male invertebrate to a female prior to mating.
  • Ootheca - a type of egg mass produced by several different groups of insect including Praying mantids and Cockroaches.
  • Order - one of the seven taxonomic ranks used to classify living organisms.
  • Order comes after Class and before Family.
  • Oviparity - reproducing by means of laying eggs.
  • Parasitoid - an organism that lives on or in another organism and eventually kills it.
  • Parthenogenesis - the reproduction of an individual whereby offspring are produced without fertilisation by a male.
  • Pharate - the adult insect prior to emergence from a pupa.
  • Pupa - the third stage in the life cycle of insects undergoing complete metamorphosis.
  • Puparium - an outer covering that protects the pupae of some flies (the Cyclorrhapha).
  • Semivoltine - a species taking more than one year to complete its life-cycle.
  • Teneral - the state of an insect immediately after moulting. At this time the insect's exoskeleton has not hardened and it may be pale in colour.
  • Univoltine - a species having one brood per year.
  • Viviparity - giving birth to live young (not eggs).
  • Wing bud - flattened structures possessed by nymphs from which the wings will develop in the adult insect.
  • Biological classification - the process by which scientists group living organisms.
  • Blattodea - an Order of insects that contains the cockroaches. Cockroaches are some of the most despised insects despite there being only about 25 species that are considered pests.
  • Coleoptera - the Coleoptera/beetles are regarded as the most species rich of all the Orders of insects.
  • Dermaptera - Dermaptera (or earwigs) are an Order of insects. The abdomen ends in characteristic pincers called cerci.
  • Diptera - the Diptera/true flies are an Order of insects. Characteristically they have one pair of wings  the hind wings being reduced to balance organs called halteres.
  • Embioptera - the Embioptera/Web-spinners are an Order of insects capable of producing silk from glands in their front legs.
  • Ephemeroptera - the Ephemeroptera/mayflies are an Order of insects with an aquatic larval stage. The adults are very short lived with some living for just one day.
  • Hemiptera - the Hemiptera/true bugs are an Order of insects including the aphids and shieldbugs.
  • Hymenoptera - the Order of insects containing the bees ants and wasps.
  • Insects - the largest Class of arthropods and the most diverse group of animals in the world.
  • Isoptera - previously the name given to the Order of insects containing the termites. Recent work has shown that termites are social cockroaches and not a separate Order.
  • Lepidoptera - butterflies and Moths/Order Lepidoptera are probably the most widely studied order of invertebrates. The Order comprises some 160 000 species.
  • Mantodea - the Mantodea (or Praying mantids) are an Order of predatory insects. Praying mantids get their common name from the stance they commonly adopt.
  • Mecoptera - the Mecoptera (or Scorpionflies) are an Order of insects containing around 300 species worldwide.
  • Megaloptera - the Order Megaloptera are primitive insects. The Order contains about 300 species. Insects in the Order are known by a variety of names including Alderflies Dobsonflies and Fishflies.
  • Microcoryphia - an Order of insects within the Apterygota (wingless insects).
  • Neuroptera - the Order Neuroptera are primitive insects. The Order contains about 4000 species. Insects in the Order are known by a variety of names including Lacewings  Antlions and Mantidflies.
  • Odonata - the Odonata (or dragonflies and damselflies) are an Order of insects. They have large  membranous wings and the larvae are usually aquatic predators.
  • Orthoptera - the Orthoptera (or grasshoppers and crickets) are an Order of insects. They commonly have large hind legs that are used for jumping.
  • Phasmatodea - the Stick and Leaf insects (Order Phasmatodea) are insects well known for their camouflage. They are commonly kept as pets.
  • Phthiraptera - wingless ectoparasites. There are two main kinds of lice (Order Phthiraptera); the biting lice and the sucking lice.
  • Plecoptera - the Stoneflies (Order Plecoptera) are a small group of aquatic insect. There are a little under 40 British species.
  • Psocoptera - the Psocoptera (or booklice and barklice) are an Order of insects. They are small insects but
  • despite being called lice  are not parasites.
  • Raphidioptera - the Order Raphidioptera are primitive insects. The Order contains about 200 species and are more commonly known as Snakeflies.
  • Siphonaptera - the Siphonaptera (or fleas) are an Order of insects. Fleas are well-known parasites on vertebrate animals including humans.
  • Strepsiptera - the Strepsiptera are an Order of insects. They are parasites living on other insects.
  • Thysanoptera - the Thysanoptera (thrips or thunderflies) are an Order of insects. They are small insects that can often be found on flower heads.
  • Thysanura - the Thysanura (or three-pronged bristletails) are an Order of insects. They are wingless and possess three filaments at the end of the abdomen.
  • Trichoptera - the Trichoptera (caddisflies or  more correctly
  • Caddises) are an Order of insects. They are well known for their larvae as  in many species
  • they form a case out of stones of organic matter in which they live.
  • Zoraptera - the Zoraptera (sometimes called Angel insects) are an Order of insects. They are small insects that live in groups.
  • Adenotrophic viviparity - a type of development where eggs hatch within the female insect and the larvae are nourished until ready to pupate. At this stage the larvae are laid and pupate immediately.
  • Aestivation - a period of summer dormancy.
  • Bivoltine - a species having two broods per year.
  • Brood parasitism - a form of parasitism whereby the parasite uses another organism to raise the parasite's offspring rather than the host's own offspring.
  • Caterpillar - the second stage in the life cycle of butterflies and moths.
  • Chorion - the outer shell of an insect's egg.
  • Chrysalis - the third stage in the life cycle of a butterfly or moth.
  • Cocoon - the protective covering around the pupae or chrysalis of some insects.
  • Complete metamorphosis - a type of metamorphosis in which an insect goes through four distinct stages: egg, larvae, pupae, imago.
  • Cremaster - a series of hooks used to attach the pupa of a butterfly or moth to a twig or other structure.
  • Diapause - the arrested development of an organism. Diapause is often the result of environmental conditions.
  • Drone - the name given to male bees.
  • Ecdysis - moulting of the arthropod cuticle.
  • Eclosion - the emergence of an insect from a pupa or egg.
  • Egg - the first stage in the life cycle of many insects and other animals.
  • Endopterygota - the development of the wings inside the body of an insect.
  • Exopterygota - the development of the wings outside the body in insects.
  • Exuvia - the cast-off outer skin of an arthropod after a moult.
  • Flying ant day - the colloquial name given to the day when winged ants emerge from their colonies and go on their nuptial flight.
  • Food plant - the type of plant eaten by a particular species.
  • Frass - the droppings of insect larvae.
  • Gall - a growth on a plant in response to the action of an insect.
  • Geometer - the larvae of Geometrid moths.
  • Gyne - the female reproductive of bees
  • ants and wasps. Usually the name used to describe the female before she has been on the nuptial flight.
  • Hermaphrodite - a hermaphrodite is an organism possessing both male and female sexual organs.
  • Imago - the adult insect.
  • Incomplete metamorphosis - a type of metamorphosis in which an insect hatches from an egg and then goes through several similar nymphal stages before reaching adulthood.
  • Insects - the largest Class of arthropods and the most diverse group of animals in the world.
  • Instar - an immature arthropod between moults.
  • Juvenile hormone - a hormone that inhibits development of a juvenile insect to an adult.
  • Larva - the juvenile form of an insect.
  • Leaf miner - the larvae of an insect living between the upper and lower surfaces of a leaf.
  • Life cycle - the stages of the life of an organism.
  • Life stage - an individual stage in the life of insects
  • each usually having a very different appearance to the other stages.
  • Maggots - the common name given to the larvae of some species of true fly (Diptera).
  • Metamorphosis - the process of development of an organism that involves distinct stages with an abrupt change between them.
  • Multivoltine - a species having many broods per year.
  • Nuptial flight - the mating flight of some insects such as social bees and ants.
  • Nuptial gift - items provided by a male invertebrate to a female prior to mating.
  • Ootheca - a type of egg mass produced by several different groups of insect including Praying mantids and Cockroaches.
  • Order - one of the seven taxonomic ranks used to classify living organisms. Order comes after Class and before Family.
  • Oviparity - reproducing by means of laying eggs.
  • Parasitoid - an organism that lives on or in another organism and eventually kills it.
  • Parthenogenesis - the reproduction of an individual whereby offspring are produced without fertilisation by a male.
  • Pharate - the adult insect prior to emergence from a pupa.
  • Pupa - the third stage in the life cycle of insects undergoing complete metamorphosis.
  • Puparium - an outer covering that protects the pupae of some flies (the Cyclorrhapha).
  • Semivoltine - a species taking more than one year to complete its life-cycle.
  • Teneral - the state of an insect immediately after moulting. At this time the insect's exoskeleton has not hardened and it may be pale in colour.
  • Univoltine - a species having one brood per year.
  • Viviparity - giving birth to live young (not eggs).
  • Wing bud - flattened structures possessed by nymphs from which the wings will develop in the adult insect.
     
  • Life cycle - the stages of the life of an organism.
  • Linnaeus - the Swedish biologist who first described many species and developed the system of naming organisms that is still used today.
  • Lyme disease - a disease caused by bacteria transmitted to a mammalian host by a tick.
  • Malaria - a disease caused by protozoan parasites.
  • Metamorphosis - the process of development of an organism that involves distinct stages with an abrupt change between them.
  • Mimicry - the circumstances whereby one species of organism resembles another.
  • Minibeast - a general term with no true biological meaning used to describe a variety of different invertebrates.
  • Mite - a group of small arachnids that have a very diverse habit ranging from parasitism to free-living organisms.
  • Modern evolutionary synthesis - the process of evolution which is based on the work of Charles Darwin but also includes more recent discoveries and findings from modern scientific research and genetics.
  • Mollusc - the molluscs animals in the phylum Mollusca are soft-bodied invertebrates including slugs snails squid and octopus.
  • Morph - insects that belong to the same species but have a distinctly different appearance.
  • Mullerian mimicry - two or more species with a similar appearance each has characteristics unpleasant to predators.
  • Mutualism - symbiotic relationship between two organisms where both organisms benefit from the relationship.
  • Myiasis - an infestation of the living tissues of a vertebrate animal by fly larvae.
  • Nanitic - small workers in a eusocial insect colony; usually these workers are from the first brood.
  • Natural history - the study of the natural world.
  • Necrophagous - a feeding behaviour where an organism feeds on carrion from an organism they did not kill.
  • Nocturnal - nocturnal animals are those that are active during the night.
  • Omnivore - omnivores are animals whose diet is primarily composed of a mixture of plant and animal matter.
  • Onisciform - a term used to describe the body shape of insect larvae that are flat and broad.
  • Opiliones - eight-legged invertebrates within the Class Arachnida.
  • Oviparity - reproducing by means of laying eggs.
  • Parasite - a parasite gets benefit from another organism (host) but has a detrimental effect on that organism.  Parasites do not kill their host directly.
  • Parasitism - a relationship between two organisms where one organism gets benefit from the other organism (host) but has a detrimental effect on it.  Parasites do not kill their host directly.
  • Parasitoid - an organism that lives on or in another organism and eventually kills it.
  • Parthenogenesis - the reproduction of an individual whereby offspring are produced without fertilisation by a male.
  • Phoresy - one organism using another to transport it to a new location.
  • Phylum - one of the seven taxonomic ranks used to classify living organisms.
  • Phylum is positioned after Kingdom and before Class.
  • Pollination - the process by which pollen from a plant's anther is transferred to another plant's stigma.
  • Predator - a predator is an animal that eats other animals.
  • Puddling - the aggregation of some insects on wet soil or dung to obtain moisture and nutrients.
  • Questing - a behaviour exhibited by ticks that increase the chances of them coming in to contact with a suitable host.
  • Raptorial - a phrase used to describe the grasping fore legs of some insects and other invertebrates.
  • Reflex bleeding - a defensive behaviour in some insects where a noxious fluid is exuded by the insect when threatened.
  • Saltatorial - a phrase used to describe the legs of some insects and other invertebrates that are modified for jumping.
  • Saproxylic - pertaining or related to dead or decaying wood.
  • Scarabaeiform - a term used to describe the body shape of insect larvae that are shaped like the letter C.
  • Sericulture - the commercial culturing of silkworms to produce silk.
  • Species - Species is one of the seven taxonomic ranks used to classify living organisms.
  • A species is a group of organisms that can breed and produce fertile offspring.
  • Stridulation - the act of producing sound usually by rubbing two body parts together.
  • Symbiosis - relationship between two different species.  The relationship may mean that just one species benefits both benefit or neither benefits.
  • Thanatosis - the behaviour of feigning death usually to deceive a predator.
  • Tick - a group of ectoparasitic arachnids.
  • Type specimen - a specimen that acts as the name bearer for a species.
  • Vector - a vector is an organism that acts as an intermediary host for a parasite and transfers the parasite to the next host.
  • Venom - a toxin made by one organism and injected into another through a sting or bite.
  • Ventral - the lower surface of an organism.
  • Vermiform - a term used to describe the body shape of insect larvae that are maggot-like.
  • Vestigial - a structure (in biology a bodily organ or appendage) that has been reduced to the point where it no longer functions.
  • Viviparity - giving birth to live young (not eggs).
  • Voltinism - the number of broods of an organism within a year.
  • Wood borer - insects that feed on wood by boring holes into it.
  • X chromosome - a sex chromosome.  Females have two copies of the X chromosome in their genome males have just one.
  • Xanthochromism - colouration of an animal that is unusually yellow.
  • Xenobiosis - several species living together but without sharing the raising of offspring.
  • Xylophagous - the behaviour of feeding on wood.
  • Y chromosome - a sex chromosome.  Males have one copy of this chromosome in their genome.  Females have no Y chromosome.
  • Yellow fever - a virus transmitted by mosquitoes.
  • Zoea - the free swimming larvae of many aquatic crustaceans.
  • Zoologist - someone who studies animals.
  • Zoology - the study of animals.
  • Zoonosis - an infectious disease that can be transmitted from an animal to a human.
  • Abdomen - one of the three main body parts of an insect and one of the two main body parts of spiders.
  •   Acrostichal Bristles - bristles found on the top of the thorax of some flies.
  •   Aedeagus - the reproductive organ of male insects.
  •   Androconia - scales on the wings of male butterflies and moths which produce scent.
  •   Antenna - paired sensory organs on the head of insects.
  •   Arista - a bristle found on the antennae of some species of fly.
  •   Arthropod - invertebrate animals that have a jointed exoskeleton.
  •   Asynchronous muscle - muscle that contracts more than once per nerve impulse.
  •   Axilla - the point at which thoracic muscles attach to the wing of an insect.
  •   Book lung - the main respiratory organ in many arachnids.
  •   Brachypterous - a term used to describe an animal with short or reduced wings.
  •   Calypter - a membranous flap that is located at the base of the wing in some species of fly.
  •   Cephalothorax - the anterior most of the two body sections of an arachnid.
  •   Cerci - paired appendages on the abdomen of many insects.
  •   Chelae - pincers or claws at the end of arachnid or crustacean appendages.
  •   Chitin - a tough
  • translucent material found in arthropod exoskeletons.
  •   Claw - the final segment in the leg of an insect.
  •   Clypeus - one of the plates forming the 'face' of an insect.
  •   Compound eye - the main visual organ in insects.
  •   Cornicle - tubular projections from the abdomen of an aphid.
  •   Costa - a region or vein at the front of an insect's wing.
  •   Coxa - the first segment (closest to the body) of an insect leg.
  •   Crop - part of an insect's gut. The crop is often used as a temporary store for food.
  •   Cuneus - a triangular region found on the fore wings of some Hemiptera.
  •   Cursorial - a phrase used to describe the legs of some insects and other invertebrates that are modified for running.
  •   Cuticle - part of the external skeleton of arthropods.
  •   Direct flight muscles - direct flight muscles are muscles connected to the wing of an insect.
  •   Discal cell - a cell in the wing of some insects.
  •   Distal - the part of an appendage (leg wing  antenna etc) that is farthest from the body.
  •   Dorsal - the upper surface of an organism.
  •   Ecdysis - moulting of the arthropod cuticle.
  •   Elytra - the hardened fore wings of beetles and earwigs.
  •   Empodium - A lobe or spine between the tarsal claws of many insects.
  •   Epiproct - a projection from an insect's tenth abdominal segment.
  •   Exoskeleton - a skeleton that is on the outside and encases all the muscles and organs of an organism.
  •   Eyespot - markings on an insect  usually the wings
  • that have a similar appearance to a mammalian eye. Commonly used to scare off potential predators.
  •   Facet - the hexagonal face on the ommatidia within a compound eye.
  •   Fang - hollow
  • pointed structures attached to the chelicerae of spiders that are used to deliver venom. Centipedes also possess fangs but these are different in structure.
  •   Femur - part of the insect leg between trochanter and tibia.
  •   Filiform - a term used to describe thin  thread-like antennae.
  •   Fossorial - a phrase used to describe the legs of some insects and other invertebrates that are modified for digging.
  •   Fovea - an area in the compound eye that provides greater visual acuity than the rest of the eye.
  •   Frenulum - a row of bristles used to connect the fore and hind wings in some insects.
  •   Gaster - the swollen section of a Hymenopteran abdomen.
  •   Glossa - an insect's tongue.
  •   Gut - the main digestive organ in insects.
  •   Haemocoel - the blood filled body cavity of many invertebrates.
  •   Haemolymph - insect blood.
  •   Haltere - a modified wing that is reduced to form a 'drum stick' shaped balance organ.
  •   Head - the anterior most of the three main body parts of an insect.
  •   Hydrostatic skeleton - a type of exoskeleton supported by fluid pressure.
  •   Indirect flight muscles - indirect flight muscles do not attach directly to the wing of an insect. Flapping is accomplished by deforming the shape of the thorax.
  •   Integument - the outer covering of an insect's body.
  •   Johnstons organ - a sensory organ used to detect sound near the base of the antenna.
  •   Jugum - an area of the fore wing in some insects that overlaps the hind wing and holds them together.
  •   Juvenile hormone - a hormone that inhibits development of a juvenile insect to an adult.
  •   Labium - an insect's lower lip.
  •   Labrum - an insect's upper lip.
  •   Lateral - the side of an organism.
  •   Malpighian tubules - the main excretory system of insects and some other invertebrates.
  •   Mandibles - a pair of mouthparts used for biting or cutting in Arthropods.
  •   Maxilla - part of an insect's mouthparts. They are paired and used to hold or manipulate food.
  •   Ocelli - ocelli are simple light detecting organs.
  •   Ocularium - a raised structure on the body of an Opilione that contains the eyes.
  •   Ommatidia - the individual unit within an insect's compound eye.
  •   Ovary - female reproductive organ that produces eggs.
  •   Ovipositor - a tube that is used for laying eggs.
  •   Pedicel - the thin structure connecting the thorax and abdomen.
  •   Pedipalps - appendages attached to the cephalothorax of arachnids.
  •   Plastron - an array of hairs or bumps used to trap air next to the body of some aquatic insects where it forms a physical gill.
  •   Pollen basket - a structure on the legs of bees in which pollen is carried.
  •   Proboscis - an elongated feeding tube attached to the head of an animal.
  •   Pronotum - a plate-like cover of the first thoracic segment.
  •   Pterostigma - a dark pigmented spot on the leading edge and towards the tip of the wing in some species of insect.
  •   Pulvilli - Lobes or pads between the tarsal claws of many insects that help the insect stick to a surface.
  •   Quadrilateral - a cell in the wing of a damselfly.
  •   Radius - an important vein within the fore wings of insects.
  •   Raptorial - a phrase used to describe the grasping fore legs of some insects and other invertebrates.
  •   Reflex bleeding - a defensive behaviour in some insects where a noxious fluid is exuded by the insect when threatened.
  •   Rostrum - a snout-like projection from the heads of some insects.
  •   Saltatorial - a phrase used to describe the legs of some insects and other invertebrates that are modified for jumping.
  •   Spinneret - an organ that produces silk. Spinnerets are possessed by spiders and some species of insect.
  •   Spiracle - openings on the thorax and abdomen of insects that allow the insect to breathe.
  •   Sting - a sharp organ used by some invertebrates to deliver venom.
  •   Stridulation - the act of producing sound  usually by rubbing two body parts together.
  •   Subesophageal ganglion - a mass of nerve cells that control the mouthparts of insects.
  •   Synchronous muscle - a type of muscle that beats once per nerve impulse.
  •   Tagma - the term used to describe each of the three main divisions of an insect's body.
  •   Tarsomere - sections within the tarsus - the final segment in the leg of an insect.
  •   Tarsus - the final segment in the leg of an insect.
  •   Tegmina - the thickened fore wing of some insects.
  •   Thorax - one of the three main body parts of an insect.
  •   Tibia - the fourth segment of an insect's leg.
  •   Tomentum - fine hairs that cover the bodies of some insects.
  •   Trachea - tubes attached to the spiracles allowing oxygen to diffuse into an insect's body.
  •   Tracheoles - thin tubes attached to the trachea within the body of an insect and permit gaseous exchange.
  •   Trichobothrium - hair-like structures of arachnids and some insects that are used to detect vibration.
  •   Trochanter - the second segment of an insect's leg.
  •   Tymbal - a cicada's sound producing organ.
  •   Tympanal organ - the hearing system of insects.
  •   Uric acid - a waste substance excreted by insects and many other terrestrial animals.
  •   Urticating hairs - defensive hairs possessed by some arachnids and insects that cause itching and irritation in mammals.
  •   Vein - structures that support an insect's wing.
  •   Venation - the arrangement of veins in an insect's wing. Venation is very important in the identification of insect species.
  •   Ventral - the lower surface of an organism.
  •   Wing bud - flattened structures possessed by nymphs from which the wings will develop in the adult insect.