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GLOSSARY
for 

The Bugs of Hong Kong


A glossary (aka a vocabulary or clavis), is "an alphabetical list of terms in a particular domain of knowledge with the definitions for those terms". And boy, oh boy, did I come across a lot of new words and specialised terminology in writing this book. Traditionally, this glossary explaining those words would appear at the end of the book , but there was just not room, or time. Also this way I can continue to add more terms that could be helpful to the layman, new to wonders of bug study and science.
If you have any words to add, or would like to know more about, please let me know at info@wildcreatures.org. 

Glossary 

 

Aedeagus. The reproductive organ of male arthropods, through which they secrete sperm from the testes during mating with a female.

 

Alates. Having wings. For example, flying termites (winged reproductives) are known as the swarmers, or alates; After the alates land, they break off their wings. They are then known as dealates.

 

Anisoptera (dragonflies) and the Zygoptera (damselflies).

 

Anthropophilic. Parasites that prefer or seek humans as hosts rather than other animals.

 

Autotomous. The spontaneous casting off of a limb or other body part.  

 

Batesian mimicry. Where an edible and harmless species has evolved to imitate the warning signals of a harmful species/one avoided by predators.

 

Binomial. A two-part name, especially the Latin name of a species of living organism (consisting of the genus followed by the specific epithet).

 

Cephalothorax. Where the head and thorax are fused, like a spider.

 

Cibarial pump. A structure associated with a complex of muscles located in the head of the insect, controlling the ingestion and transfer of blood/liquids from its prey.

 

Clavate. club-shaped; thicker at the apex than the base; as in clavate

antennae that terminate in a gradual club or knob.

 

Cocoon. A protective case of silk or similar fibrous material spun by the larvae of moths and certain other insects as a cover for the pupa.

 

Conglobate. To roll up into a roughly spherical shape as a defensive mechanism.

 

Corbiculum. A special pollen basket on - for example - the honey bee;  the part of the hind leg of a bee that is specialised for carrying pollen.

 

Crepuscular. Appearing or active in twilight.

 

Diurnal.  Appearing or active during the day. 

 

Elytra. (Modified front wings). The anterior wings in beetles and some other insects that serve to protect the posterior pair of functional wings.

 

Entomologist. A person who studies or is an expert in the branch of zoology concerned with insects.

 

Epipharynx. An internal flap on some moths which sits at the base of the proboscis which allows them to squeak.

 

Epiproct. A projection dorsal to the anus.

 

Eusocial. (Of an animal species, especially an insect) showing an advanced level of social organisation, in which a single female or caste produces the offspring and non-reproductive individuals cooperate in caring for the young.

 

Filiform. Threadlike; as in filiform antennae which are slender and threadlike in form.

 

Frenulum. A wing-coupling device joining the forewing to the hind wing of a moth, so the wings can work in unison during flight. Butterflies do

not have frenulums, they have a humeral lobe (an area of overlap between fore and hind wings that acts as a suctionpad keeping the wings together during flight).

 

Gonopods. These are the special "sex" legs that male millipedes use

to transfer their spermatophore, or sperm packet, to the female.

 

Imago. The final and fully developed adult stage of an insect, typically winged.

 

Instar. A phase between two periods of moulting in the development of an insect larva or other invertebrate animal.

 

Koinobiont endoparasitoid. A parasitoid whose host continues to feed and grow after parasitisation.

 

Metamorphosis. The process of transformation from an immature form to an adult form in two or more distinct stages.

- Incomplete metamorphosis: where change is gradual, also through moulting, but with various nymph stages leading to an adult (egg, nymph, adult—like a dragonfly, grasshopper, or cicada). This is also called "hemimetabolous", with nymphal stages showing a gradual adult-like appearance.

- Complete metamorphosis (aka holometabolous metamorphosis) involves a pupa stage. Babies look very different from adults and often eat very different foods (egg, nymph, larva/pupa, adult—like a butterfly or a ladybird).

 

Morphology. The study and description of something's physical form.

 

Nocturnal. Appearing or active at night.

 

Obelisking. A particular behaviour of dragonflies, raising the abdomen and wings vertically towards the sun to reduce heat on hot sunny days.

 

Oothacae.  A type of egg mass, for example from a mantis or cockroach.

 

Osmeterium. A defensive organ which looks like a red snakes tongue, found in all papilionid larvae, in all stages.  For example the birdwing caterpillars possess a retractable organ behind their heads which they can evert. The osmeterium excretes a fetid terpene-based compound and is deployed when the caterpillar is provoked.

 

Ovipositor. A tubular organ through which the female deposits their eggs. 

 

Pharmacophagous.  Insects which are able to sequester specific substances in their body tissues, these can either be toxic or help with pheromone production. For example the tiger butterflies that you may see on dead and withered plants “leaf-scratching”, which is a specialised behaviour for gathering secondary plant substances.

 

Phylum. A principal taxonomic category that ranks above class and below kingdom.

 

Polyembryony. Some wasps just lay one egg, but that egg can

divide into many identical embryos, which is called polyembryony.

 

Polymorphism. When a male or female butterfly has two or more different forms (like the mormon butterflies). This can then get even more complicated by “seasonal polymorphism”, when the animals change form from a typically dry period (November–March) to wet seasons (April–October) for example, like the peacock pansy butterfly.

 

Pronatal shield.  A plate over the top of the thorax. 
Pronotum.  A plate-like cover of the first thoracic segment, extending over the animals back.

 

Puddling. A butterfly cannot live on sugar alone—it needs minerals

too—so it will occasionally sip from other sources which are rich in minerals and salts. This behaviour is called puddling. That’s why you can see butterflies drinking from mud puddles, or even on animal poo sometimes.

 

Setae. A stiff structure resembling a hair or a bristle; can be found on caterpillars, where these spines are poisonous.

 

Sexual dimorphism. Marked differences between male and female; can be size, shape, colour. 

 

Stridulation. Making a noise by rubbing body parts together.

 

Terga. The "upper" portion of an Arthropod segment other than the head.

 

Thanatosis. Playing dead. The bug becomes motionless, folding up their legs and sometimes falling to the ground. Dingdongthewitchisdead; a rereleased Judy Garland classic and an irreverent song about Mrs. Thatchers demise, put here to see if anyone actually reads any of this.

 

Viviparity. Unlike insects, which generally deposit eggs outside their bodies, scorpions produce live babies, a practice known as viviparity.

 

Voltinism.  A term used in biology to indicate the number of broods or generations of an organism in a year. For example  “univoltine", which means it has only one brood of offspring per year; or a moth species can be quadrivoltine (having four generations in a year),

 

Zoophilic. Parasites that prefer animals to humans as a source of food.

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