Minute spines.

Plural of aculea.

With aculeae.

Minute, hair-like outgrowths of the cuticle covering the wings and other structures beneath the scales of primitive moths; microtrichia.

Tapering to a long point.

A longitudinal line a little to one side of the mid-dorsal line.

The area between the adfrontal sutures and the ecdysial lines on the larval head.

The suture separating the adfrontal area from the craniumSee ecdysial suture.

To pass the summer in a dormant state.

Plural of alveolus.

A cuplike depression in the body wall from which a seta arises.

Bump-like protuberances used for locomotion; usually ventrally or dorsally on the abdomen.

Plural of ampulla.

The mesal sclerotised prong ventrad of the anal plate and adjacent to the anus; used to eject frass.

A spine-like mesal horn on the eighth abdominal segment (of most sphingid larvae and the domestic silkworm.)

Any and various protrusions near the anus.

In caterpillars and other larvae, the dorsal shieldlike covering of the last abdominal segment (= suranal plate, anal shield, epiproct). See also suranal plate.

Prolegs on the last abdominal segment (A10).

A sclerotised middorsal plate on ab­dominal segment 10 (A10) of the larva. See anal plate.

Narrow anal opening that may be transverse or vertical.

A simple, circular or oval spiracle with one opening.

Ringed, but not truly segmented.

Small secondary rings into which a segment or appendage is divided; a partial dorsal subdivision of a body segment formed by transverse creases in the integument.

Plural of annulus.

In the form of rings, or ringlike.

Ring encircling a segment or other structure.

Plural of antacorium.

Ring of membrane connecting antenna with head or segmental membrane of segments.

Just proximad of the apex.

An anterior and usually more lightly sclerotised part of the clypeus to which the labrum is attached.

Second before the last.

Toward the front.

Front; in front of.

Abdominal segments A1–A5.

In front of and toward the upper part (dorsum.)

In front of and toward the lower part (venter.)

Tip of a structure.

Area at, or adjacent to, the tip of a structure.

See apodous.

Without legs.

The separation of the new epidermis from the old cuticle in preparation for ecdysis.

The more derived (recent) state of a sequence of homologous characters. Compare plesiomorphy.

Warning feature(s); usually refers to the bright, often contrasting colours of distasteful or toxic species, but applies equally to alerting odours or similar features.

A sclerotised part, usually of the head capsule, separated at ecdysis; a functional, rather than homologous, subdivision.

Close together.

Setae, spines, or sclerotised processes.

A connection or joint between two structures.

Setae or hairs absent.

Rudimentary, reduced.

Slender and gradually tapering.

Touching, in contact with.

Faunal region including Australia (and Tasmania), New Guinea and New Zealand.


Divided into two parts; forked.

Spiracular opening separated into two adjacent openings by a septum.

Forked, two-branched.

Crochets arranged in a single row of two alternating lengths.

Divided into two parts.

Having two branches or appendages.

Crochets with the bases arranged in two rows.

Two setae.

Having two generations per year.


Deciduous, easily detached or shed.

Plural of callus.

A rounded swelling of the cuticle.

An elongate larva, with well-developed thoracic legs and prognathous head, usually active and predaceous.

Plural of cardo.

The basal segment of a maxilla between the head and stipes.

Feeding on other animals or materials of animal origin.  See also predaceous.

Typically a larva with a conspicuous head, three pairs of thoracic legs, and prolegs; the larva of a butterfly, moth, sawfly, or scorpionfly (= eruciform).

Toward the tail or posterior end.

Pertaining to the tail or posterior end.

A long, often median, tapered process at the end of the body.

Toward the head or anterior end.

Pertaining to the head; anterior.

Pertaining to the neck or cervix.

Ventral gland on the prothorax of some caterpillars.

Membranous region between the head and prothorax (neck).

The arrangement and nomenclature of setae. See setal map.

A simple, sclerotised, elevated projection, usually bearing a single (often plumose) seta, or up to three simple setae.

Plural of chalaza.

A sense organ responsive to chemical stimuli.

With opposable, non-sucking mouthparts.

A nitrogenous polysaccharide occurring in the cuticle of arthropods.  See also sclerotin.

Deposited, or filled,with chtin.  See also sclerotised.

Fringed or lined with fine hairs.

Club-like, or enlarged toward the tip; clavate setae.

A hooked, usually paired, structure at the tip of the tarsus.

The Y-shaped line of weakness on the head capsule along which the integument splits at time of moulting (= ecdysial line, epicranial suture).

Split or forked.

With the distal part enlarged.

The sclerite between the frons and labrum.

A manner of feeding where the animal is hidden from view. Includes internal feeders (e.g., borers) and those hidden by silk etc. Compare exposed feeder.

A knoblike process forming part of an articulation by fitting into a depression (i.e., mandibular condyle).


Becoming closer together at one end.

Feeding on animal dung.

Sclerotised or horny.

A small process similar to a chalasa, but without a seta.

Dorsal, median arm of the cleavage line; a longitudinal suture along the midline of the head, extending from the epicranial notch to the apex of the clypeus (the stem of the frequently Y-shaped epicranial suture). See epicranial suture.

The proximal (basal) segment of the leg.

Plural of coxa.

The sclerotised part of the head capsule.

With small regular indentations, wavy, scalloped.


Terminal sclerotised hook on the larval prolegs, usually arranged in rows or circles.

Plural of crochet.

Alternate spelling of crochet.

Comb-like row of bristles.

The non-cellular skin of insects consisting of chitin and protein; in larvae it is shed at intervals to allow growth.

With the dorsum curved or humped and the venter flat.


Bent downward.

Curved downward.


Small tooth on inner margin of claw.

With minute toothlike projections or edges; with little teeth or notches.

Numerous small projections on surface of body.

A delay in development that is not the direct result of prevailing environmental conditions.

With two condyles, or two processes articulating the mandible to head capsule.


Occurring in two distinctive forms.

Toward the tip or end; farthest from the body.

Active during daylight.

Toward the top.

At the top or above.

A cavity on the dorsal side of the mandibular base that articulates with a condyle (dorsal mandibular articulation) on the cranium.

A longitudinal line along the dorsomeson.

The area between the dorsal and lateral areas.

At the top and near the midline.

The middle of the top.

The upper surface.


Plural of ecdysis.

Lines of weakness lateral from the adfrontal sutures of the larval head along which the head capsule splits at ecdysis.

Where the head capsule usually splits during moulting; laterad of the adfrontal areas.

Moulting, shedding the cuticle.

1. Hatching from the egg.  2. The ecdysis at the end of pupal development.

With mouthparts exserted or exposed.

A parasite that lives on the outside of its host. Compare endoparasite.

A parasitoid that lives on the outside of its hostCompare endoparasitoid.

With a dent or notch in the margin.

A parasite that lives inside of its host. Compare ectoparasite.

A parasitoid that lives inside its host. Compare ectoparasitoid.

See endognathous.

Feeding on insects.

See epicranium.

The cranium above the frons.

That area of the thoracic pleuron immediately adjacent to the coxa and posterior to the pleural suture.

Inner surface of labrum.

Dorsal lobe of terminal abdominal segment. See suranal plate.

That region of the thoracic pleuron immediately adjacent to the coxa and anterior to the pleural suture.

Upper part of the frame surrounding the opening of the buccal cavity, continuous with pleurostoma on each side and hypostoma below; area just behind or above the labrum; used by various authors as a synonym of anteclypeus, clypeus, postclypeus, or anterior margin of frons.

The suture between the frons and the clypeusSee frontoclypeal suture.

larva with a well-developed head, thoracic legs, and abdominal prolegs.

Capable of being everted or projected outward.


From, or out of. Often used with regards to the host plant the specimen was collected from (e.g. ex Malus).

Mode of feeding where the animal is visible. Compare concealed feeder.

Projecting from the body; protruding.

The cast cuticle of the larva or pupa (plural only).

A coloured, eye-like spot on the larval body, usually ringed with one or more contrasting colours.



Without true segments. See prolegs.

Plural of fastigium.

The extreme point or front of the vertex of the head.

Plural of femur.

The third and usually largest segment of an insect leg, located between the trochanter and tibia.

A long, slender structure.

Hairlike or threadlike; slender and of equal diameter.

The pellet-like excrement of caterpillars.

Median sclerite on the face of the head delimited above by epicranial arms and below by frontoclypeal suture; sometimes termed frontal area.

See frons.

A seta on the frons. One of two setae on the frons of caterpillars.

The V- or U-shaped suture formed by arms of epicranial suture that delimit frons; the two branches of the epicranial suture on either side of the frons.

Area occupied by the frons and clypeus.

The suture separating the frons from the clypeusSee also epistomal suture.

Fused frons and clypeus of the larval head.

Feeding on fungi.


Tapered at both ends and widened in the middle (spindle-like).


The part of the head dorsad (or caudad) of the mandibles; the cheek.

Plural of gena.

Bearing one or more swellings or protuberances.

A structure that is gibbose.

Smooth, without setae.

Approximately spherical.

Having a granular surface.


Nutrient-carrying fluid contained within the haemocoel (body cavity) of insects and other invertebrates.

In larvae, a group of long parallel setae arising from a verricule.  (In adults, a tuft of long, parallel hairs in male moths which are often expanded and displayed during courtship and which often disseminate pheromones).

Alternate spelling of haemolymph.

A mesoseries of crochets with smaller or rudimentary crochets at both ends (many arctiids).

Having two or more different forms.

A protective retreat made out of silk or other material, in which a larva hides or hibernates; an overwintering retreat or shelter, usually applied to early instars.

Faunal region combing the Nearctic and Palaearctic Regions.

Life cycle with complete metamorphosis (i.e., larva, pupa, imago).

With all crochets the same length. Compare heteroideous.

A stiff, pointed cuticular process.

A caterpillar with a dorsal spine or horn near the end of the abdomen (Sphingidae).

The plant or animal on which an insect feeds.

With the head vertical and mouthparts directed ventrad. Compare prognathous.

The median inner mouthpart structure anterior (in a hypognathous head) to the labium (dorsal in a prognathous head) that may bear taxonomically useful structures.


An adult.

Partly overlapping like roof shingles.

Not marked or spotted.

The stage between larval moults, from egg eclosion to pupation.

The exoskeleton or outer body wall of the insect body.

The membrane joining two segments of the insect body.


The prespiracular wart or group of setae on the prothorax (Fracker).  (The L group of Hinton).

With a distinct ridge (usually ventrally).


A pair of small, segmented sensory structures arising on the distolateral portions of the labium.

Fused sclerites forming the ventral part of the mouth.

The upper, hinged sclerite of the mouth.

The combined labrum and epipharynx.

A thin plate or leaflike process.

Plural of lamella.

Made up of a number of lamellae.


The feeding, sexually immature, developmental stage of an insect; the caterpillar.

Plural of larva.

Toward the side, away from the midline.

To the side, or at the side of.

An incomplete circle of crochets closed laterally and open mesially.

An insect that feeds and usually lives between the upper and lower surfaces of a leaf, often forming distinctive patterns.

Inhabiting still waters, such as lakes, ponds, or swamps.

A caterpillar with several prolegs reduced or missing, usually on abdominal segments A3, A4, and A5, and that moves by looping its body forward (Geometridae: some Noctuoidea).  See also semilooper.


Macrolepidoptera. The more recently diverged or relatively more 'advanced' moth families, consisting of Mimallonoidea, Drepanoidea, Noctuoidea and Bombycoidea. Pyraloidea plus Macroheterocera are a monophyletic group.

Marked (spotted) with pigmented areas of varying shape.

Sclerotised, usually dentate jaw of the larva and, in moths, rarely of the pupa or adult.

The paired mouthparts posterior to the mandibles, serving as accessory jaws and provided with sensilla that assist in the selection of food.

Plural of maxilla.

Paired, usually segmented, appendages of the maxillae.

In the middle.

Toward the meson.

At, or pertaining to, the meson.

The vertical middle plane of the body.

The dorsal part of the mesothorax.

An incomplete circle of crochets closed mesally and open laterally.

The lateral part of the mesothorax.

A longitudinal row of crochets on the mesal side of a proleg; if curved, less than two-thirds of a circle.

The ventral part of the mesothorax.

The middle segment of the thorax bearing the mid legs and, in the adult, the fore wings.

Change in form during development.

The dorsal part of the metathorax.

The lateral part of the metathorax.

The ventral part of the metathorax.

The first (basal) tarsal segment.

Small moths with wingspans of less than 20 mm. This is not a natural or monophyletic group and cannot be defined taxonomically, unlike the Macroheterocera.

Minute spines on the body, usually visible only under magnification (aculeae, spinules).

Minute, ciliate processes of the cuticle.

Feeding on only one species.

Crochets arising in a single row and in many alternating lengths.

Crochets arising in several rows.

Crochets arising in three or more concentric circles.


The North American part of the Holarctic Region, including Alaska, Canada, Greenland, the continental United States and Central Mexican Plateau.

Biogeographic region including South America, the West Indies and Middle America south of the Central Mexican Plateau.

With node(s) or enlargement(s).

Knot-like swelling.

Plural of notum.

The tergum or major plate of a thoracic dorsum.


Blunt, not pointed or acute.

Plural of ocellus.

The simple eye in adult insects, sometimes (incorrectly) applied to larval stemmataCompare stemmata. (May also refer to eye spot-like patterns on the wings of adult moths and butterflies).

An active larva with well-developed thoracic legs.

A flattened, ovate larva, resembling some terrestrial isopods.

Capable of being opposed or meeting one another, as in the mandibles of chewing insects.

Referring to the lengths of crochets (See uniordinal, biordinal, triordinal).

Plural of osmeterium.

A fleshy, eversible, odoriferous, usually forked glandular process (eversible through a dorsal, median slit in the prothorax of papilionid caterpillars).


That part of the Holarctic Region including Europe, Africa north of the Sahara, and Asia as far south as the Himalayas.

Alternate spelling of Palaearctic.

See palpus.

Pleural of palpus.

Pleural of palp.

One of a pair of segmented appendages of the maxillae or labium, provided with sensilla.

A soft minute bump or projection; a small, sclerotised ring-like structure on the integument from which setae arise.

Pleural of papillae.

An animal that lives in or on its host, at least during a part of its life cycle, feeding on it, but usually not killing it.  Compare parasitoid.

Living as a parasite or parasitoid.

An internal or external parasite that ultimately causes the death of its host. Compare parasitic.

The lateral areas of the cranium, between the frontal and occipital areas.

With branches like a comb.

A fleshy, bump-like, non-segmented leg rudiment.

On a slender stalk.

Crochets arranged in an incomplete oval or circle.   See latero- and mesopenellipse.

Next to last.

A sclerotic ring surrounding the outer spiracular opening.

Attached with a narrow stalk or petiole.

A substance secreted by an individual that produces a certain response in other individuals of the same species.

Feeding on plants or materials of plant origin.

The group of setae just above the thoracic legs or prolegs (Fracker).  (SV group of Hinton).
One of a pair of lateral lobes of the labrum, usually bearing setae.
Covered with soft hair.

Plural of pinaculum.

A sclerotised plate bearing one or more primary larval setae.

A modified pinaculum forming a relatively broad pigmented band encircling or partially encircling a pale area surrounding a seta.

Distal part of a proleg bearing the crochets but never bearing setae.

Plural of planta.

A larger sclerotised area of the body.  See anal or suranal plate; compare pinaculum.

The more basally derived (primitive, older) state of a sequence of homologous characters. Compare apomorphy.

Plural of pleuron.

The lateral area of a segment.

With many small branches; featherlike.
Having many forms.
Feeding on several species (of plants usually).

A larva with legs on most segments.

The major and more posterior region of a divided clypeus; the caudal (dorsal) portion of a transversely divided clypeus.

Toward the rear.  See caudad.

Caudal or rear.

The region immediately behind the gena.

Pleural of postgena.

The proximal sclerite of the labium; sometimes divided into a submentum and mentum.

Caudad of the spiracles.

Just before the apex.

An animal that kills its hosts (prey), requiring more than one to complete its life cycle.  Compare parasite, parasitoid.  Alternate spelling of predacious.

Alternate spelling of predacious.

An animal that kills its hosts (prey), requiring more than one to complete its life cycle. Compare parasite, parasitoid.

Adapted for wrapping around.

The distal part of the labium, bearing the palps, glossae (and sometimes paraglossae), or the ligula.

The L group of setae anterior to the spiracle on the prothorax.

The L group of setae anterior to the spiracle on the prothorax (Kappa group of Fracker).
Those setae with definite locations and numbers and found on all instars.  Primary setae are here defined as both primary and subprimary setae. Primary setae are those present in the first instar larva, whereas subprimary setae are only gained in the second instar. 
Extended or projecting.

With the head horizontal and mouthparts directed forward.

Fleshy, leg-like, ventral, abdominal organs in larvae, used for walking.
The first or anterior segment of the thorax.

Any projection with or without setae.

Nearest to the point of attachment.

With soft, short, fine hairs.

An integumental fold, especially on the dorsum in soft-bodied larvae.

Pleural of puca.

Paired lobes at the tip of the tarsus, associated with the claws.

Pleural of pulvillus.

Lobelike or padlike; shaped like a pulvillus; pulvilliform empodium.

A lobe or pad beneath the base of the tarsal claw.

A small impression on the larval cuticle, like that made by a needle.

The relatively inactive, transformation stage between the larva and the adult of holometabolous insects.

Plural of pupa.


A temporary suspension of activity or development in response to a brief period of unfavourable conditions.


A structure resembling a sclerotised comb on the larval hypopharynx.

Curved backward.


With the head withdrawn into the prothorax.  Mouthparts-arising near the rear of a prognathous head.

Capable of being drawn in.

Reduced in size, barely developed.

Roughly wrinkled.

Small or minute elevations that are close together.


Feeding on dead or decaying materials.

A hardened body plate.

The brown substance produced by tanning of protein, deposited in certain areas of the exoskeleton and produces hard, often thickened plates or sclerites.  See also chitin.

Hardened and tanned, so that it is yellow to black in color.

Plural of scolus.

An outgrowth of the body wall in larvae, bearing branches or setae.

Those setae with indefinite locations and numbers, and usually not present on the first instar.

A caterpillar with only one or two prolegs reduced or missing, usually on abdominal segments A3 and A4; in locomotion only small loops are formed (some Noctuoidea and Erebidae). See also looper (Geometridae).

With mouthparts directed neither anteriorly (prognathous) nor ventrad (hypognathos).

A sense organ.

Referring to the number of rows of the bases of the crochets.

A hairlike projection of the body wall that is articulated in a socket; those present in first-instar larvae are primary setae; those acquired later may be subprimary or secondary setae.

Bearing setae.

Pleural of seta.

A diagrammatic representation of the arrangement of setae in larvae.

Bearing setae.

Cuticle hardened and tanned, so that it is yellow to black in colour.  See also chtinised.

Spatula-shaped, spoon-shaped; flat, rounded, and broad at tip, narrowed at the base.

A minute pointed spine or process.

An unarticulated thornlike process arising from the cuticle. Compare spur; seta.

The organ beneath the larval head through which silk is extruded from the silk glands.

Minute spines (microspines).

Plural of spinule.

Covered with spinules.

A lateral aperture of the body wall through which air passes to the tracheae.

The line coinciding with or near the spiracles.

Plural of stadium.

The time period between moults.


Elongated anal prolegs of some notodontid larvae.

A simple visual organ usually present on each side of the larval head. Compare ocellus.

Plural of stemma.

Plural of sternum.

A sclerotised plate on the venter of a thoracic or abdominal segment.

The main sclerite or area of the venter of a segment.

With grooves (and ridges).

Below the anus.

A line below the dorsal or addorsal line (if present).

Nearly equal.

The basal part attaching the labium to the head.

Nearly parallel.

Those setae having a definite position, but appearing in the second instar (not present in the first instar); otherwise similar to primary setae.

A line below the spiracles.

A line just above the bases of the prolegs.

Plural of sulcus.

A groove or furrow.

A group of families more closely related to one another than to other families.

Above the anus.

Above the spiracles.

Above the anus = supraanal.

The area on the dorsum of the last abdominal segment (A10), frequently rather heavily sclerotised. See also anal plate; anal shield.

A sclerotised projection on the meson of the suranal plate (postcornu).

Lobes dorsal to prolegs and ventral to spiracular lobes.

A groove or furrow.  See also sulcus.

The sharing by two or more taxa of the more basally derived ('primitive') of a homologous pair or sequence of character states. Compare synapomorphy, and see plesiomorphy, apomorphy.

The sharing by two or more taxa of the more recently derived (apomorphic) of a sequence of homologous characters.

One of two or more names that have been applied to the one species; the older, valid name is the senior synonym, and the more recent, invalid name is a junior synonym.


Plural of tarsus.

The most distal part of the leg, usually containing five segments.

A sclerotised plate on the dorsum of a thoracic or abdominal tergum.

The dorsal portion of a body segment ( = notum on thorax).


A locomotory response caused by the stimulus of touch causing larva to cling to surfaces with which they come into contact.

Reaction of the larva to contact or touch.

The fourth segment of the leg.

Plural of tibia.

Sensory seta, long and unusually fine.

Crochets arranged transversely to the long axis of the body.

Divided into three parts.

Crochets arranged so the tips are of three alternating lengths.

The small second segment of the leg, between the coxa and the femur.

Square at the end.

A group of setae.


Crochets arranged so they are of a single length or slightly shorter toward the ends of the row. See biordinal, triordinal.

Crochets arranged in a single row with their bases in line.

An itchy and sometimes purulent type of skin rash.

Setae or hairs in some larvae causing a skin reaction (urticaria), either mechanical (barbs) or via cutaneous poison glands.


The entire under surface of the body. In the abdomen, below the spiracle line.

Of the venter.

All prolegs on any abdominal segment except the last, which are the anal prolegs.

A dense tuft of upright, parallel setae.

A slightly convex plate bearing divergent secondary setae, usually occupying the position of a primary larval seta.

Plural of verruca.

The top of the head.

Weakly developed or degenerate; only a remnant left.


Feeding on wood.