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Glossary of entomology terms

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abdomenthird (posterior) major division of the insect body
aberrationa form that departs in some striking way from the normal type; either single or occurring rarely, at irregular intervals
abioticof or characterized by the absence of life or living organisms
acrodendricliving in tree tops
adultthe stage when an insect is sexually mature and ready to reproduce normally
aedeagusmale copulatory organ
Alaethe membranous wings
alatewinged, having wings
algophagousfeeding on algae
allochthonousopposite of autochthonous, originating from outside a system, non-native, introduced
allopatrictwo or more forms of a species having essentially separate distributions
alpineclimate zone 2000 - 3000 m, montane grasslands and shrublands. Mountain Pine or Mugo Pine (Pinus mugo) limit
antennapaired, segmented sensory appendages
anteriorconcerning of facing the front, towards the head
antifungaldestructive to fungi, or suppressing their reproduction or growth; effective against fungal infections
apextip, pointed end of a structure
apicalat or towards the apex
apomorphya derived characteristic of a clade. Any feature novel to a species and its descendants
apterouswithout wings
aquaticliving in the water
arborealliving in, on or among trees
aridapplied to regions in which the normal rainfall is insufficient to produce ordinary farm crops without irrigation, and in which desert conditions prevail
aroliumpretarsal pad-like structure
arthropodaa phylum of the animal kingdom that includes bilaterally symmetrical animals with hard, segmented bodies bearing jointed appendages
Australisecozone including Australia and Tasmania
autapomorphya derived trait that is unique to a particular taxon
autochthonousoriginating where found, indigenous


basalat or towards the base, closer to the point of attachment
binominal nomenclatureformal system of naming species, devloped by Carl Linnaeus
biocenosisa self-sufficient community of naturally occurring organisms occupying and interacting within a specific biotope
biotopea portion of a habitat characterized by uniformity in climate and distribution of biotic and abiotic components
bivoltinehaving two generations per year
borealfrom or belonging to the north, faunal region with cool, wet summers and cold winters
boreomontanedisjunct distribution in the boreal forest with relic populations in the mountains (Alps, Carpathians) and in bogs in the North German Plain
brachypteroushaving shortened wings


campicolousliving on fields
cantharidina type of terpenoid (molecular formula C10H12O4), is a poisonous chemical compound secreted by many species of blister beetle, and most notably by the Spanish fly (Lytta vesicatoria)
canthariphilattracted by cantharidin
cardothe basal joint of the maxilla in insects
carnivorouspreying or feeding on animals
Caspianof or relating to or characteristic of the Caspian Sea
caudalat or towards the end
cavernicolousliving in caves
cerci(sing. cercus) slender, paired and segmented sensory appendages arising from the tenth abdominal segment of some insects
cf.(lat. confer, compare, consult) indicates that a species needs to be seen in context of its comparison to another, but by definition is not confirmed as the same
chitinbiopolymer (polysaccharide, closely related to cellulose), major component of the arthropod cuticle
clypeuspart of the insect head between labrum and frons
cocoona protective case of silk or similar fibrous material spun by the larvae of moths and other insects that serves as a covering for their pupal stage
Coleopteraorder beetles
coleopterologythe branch of entomology that studies beetles
colinclimate zone 150-450 m, oak limit (Quercus spp.); European Beech (Fagus sylvatica), Sessile oak (Quercus petraea), Pedunculate oak or English oak (Quercus robur)
coll.specimen in the collection of
commensalismsymbiosis, two or more species living together such that one benefits but neither loses fitness
compound eyean eye consisting of many individual elements each of which is externally represented by a facet
coprophagousfeeding on dung or excrement
coprophilousliving or growing on excrement
copulathe act of sexual union
copulationthe act of sexual union
corticolousgrowing or living on tree bark
cosmopolitanoccuring throughout most of the world
coxathe proximal (basal) leg segment
cuticleexternal skeletal structure of the insect


degradationany significant reduction in the fertility of a soil, whether in the course of its natural development or by direct or indirect human action
det.(lat. determinavit) determined by
detriticolousliving in detritus
detritophilousliving in decaying plant matter
diapausea period of hormonally controlled quiescence, esp. in immature insects, characterized by cessation of growth and reduction of metabolic activity, often occurring seasonally or when environmental conditions are unfavorable
dimorphisma difference in size, form, or color, between individuals of the same species
disjuncttwo closely related taxa are widely separated geographically
distalreferring to the part of an appendage that is farthest from the body
diurnalactive at daytime
dorsalon the upper surface


ectoa combining form meaning "outer", "outside", "external", used in the formation of compound words
ectoparasitea parasite that lives on the outside of its host
edaphicrelated to or caused by particular soil conditions, as of texture or drainage, rather than by physiographic or climatic factors
elytron, elytramodified, hardened forewing of the beetles
endemicrestricted to a well defined geographical region
endoa combining form meaning "within", used in the formation of compound words
endoparasitea parasite that lives internally (inside its host)
entomologythe branch of zoology that deals with insects and, specifically, the hexapods
entomopathogeniccausing a disease or diseases in insects (usually bacteria, viruses, protozoans or fungi)
epipleurathe outer side of a beetle's wing-cover when it is inflexed or turned down so as to cover partially the side of the thorax and abdomen
euryhalineable to tolerate waters over a wide range of salinity
eurythermic(also eurythermal) able to tolerate a wide range of temperatures
eurytopicable to adapt to a wide range of environmental conditions, widely distributed
eutrophicwaters rich in mineral and organic nutrients that promote a proliferation of plant life, especially algae
exoskeletonrigid or articulated envelope that supports and protects the soft tissues of certain animals
exudateliquid excretion (from glands) to the outside
exuviathe cast-off outer skin of an insect or other arthropod


facultativein general, not obligatory but rather capable of adapting to different conditions
familya rank in a taxonomic classification, above both genus and species and below order
fecessolid bodily waste discharged from the large intestine
femurthe third segment of the insect leg, following coxa and trochanter
fertilecapable of initiating, sustaining, or supporting reproduction
floricolousliving on flowers
fossilextinct in the Pleistocene (the previous geological period) or before
fossorialdigging or adapted to digging
frontalreferring to the front of head or anterior aspect of any part
fungicolousliving in or on fungi


genusa taxonomic category ranking below a family and above a species and generally consisting of a group of species
glabrouswithout hairs
granivorousfeeding on grain and seeds
gulathe upper part of the throat or gullet
gynandromorphan organism that contains both male and female characteristics. A gynandromorph can have bilateral asymmetry, one side female and one side male, or they can be mosaic.


habitatthe region or place which an insect inhabits or where it was taken
habitusbody-build, general appearance
halobiontan organism that lives or grows in a salty environment
halophilicspecies living in salt marshes, or near the sea
halotolerantadapted to conditions of high salinity without being dependent of them
heliophilicattraction or adaptation to sunlight
hemimetaboloushaving an incomplete metamorphosis, with no pupal stage in the life history
hemolymphthe bloodlike fluid of invertebrates having open blood-vascular systems
heteromerouswith the parts not corresponding in number, referrring to the number of tarsi of the legs
holarcticecozone referring to North America, Europe, Northern Africa and Eurasia
holomediterraneanthe entire Mediterranean region
holometaboloushaving a complete metamorphosis, with larval and pupal stages in the life history
holotypea single specimen selected by the author of a species as its type, or the only specimen known at the time of description
hostthe organism in or on which a parasite lives; the plant on which an insect or other arthropod feeds
humeralof, relating to, or located in the region of the humerus or the shoulder
humicolousliving in humus
hyalineglassy or transparent
hybridthe progeny from the mating of two species
hydrophilichaving an affinity for water, living in water
hygrophilousmoisture loving
hypermetamorphosea type of life history in which the larvae adopts 2 or more distinct forms during its development
hypogaeicliving primarily underground
hypognathousmouthparts are directed downwards and backwards from the head from the insect's normal position


imagothe adult insect
immaturenot mature, unripe, not arrived at perfection of full development
in in litteris, in correspondence, communicated in writing, used for an unpublished source
indet.indeterminate, indeterminable
intersegmental membranemembrane between two sclerites of the body
interspecificarising or occurring between species
intraspecificarising or occurring within a species
invasive speciesnon-indigenous species that adversely affect the habitats they invade
isomerouswith parts that are similar or identical in number, referrring to the number of tarsi of the legs


juvenilenot fully grown or developed, young


kleptoparasitea "thief parasite," an organism that gets food by stealing it from another organism that it lives in close association with, possibly in the way of killing the brood to reach their broodsubstrate
K-strategistorganism that uses a survival and reproductive 'strategy' characterised by low fecundity, low mortality, longer life and with populations approaching the carrying capacity of the environment, controlled by density-dependent factors


labiumlower lip
labrumupper lip
larvaa stage of insect complete metamorphosis between the egg and pupal stages. The feeding, growing, nonreproductive stage of insect development
larva coarctataa false pupa: applied to the fifth stage, or coarctate pupa, of those insects which undergo hypermetamorphosis. Also called semipupa.
lateralconcerning the sides
lectotypesingle specimen selected from among the syntypes to serve as the only name-bearing type specimen
leg.(lat. legit, has collected) found/caught by
lignicolousgrowing or living on or in wood
limnophilousliving in ponds or marshes
lithophilousthriving in stony or rocky habitats
littoralof or pertaining to the shore of a lake, sea, or ocean
locus typicustype locality, place where a type was found


macropterouslong or large winged
mandiblethe jaws, jaw-like in biting and chewing insects
marginalof, relating to, located at, or constituting a margin, a border, or an edge
maxillasecond (lower) pair of jaws
medialtowards the middle
mentumchin, the front median plate of the labium in insects
mesoa prefix meaning middle or intermediate
mesophilicregarding temperature and humidity the medium conditions are preferred, avoids extremes
mesosternumthe second segment of the thorax
mesothoraxthe second segment of the thorax
metaa prefix meaning hind, rear
metamorphosischange in the body form larval stage to adult
metapopulationa population perceived to exist as a series of subpopulations, linked by migration between them. However, the rate of migration is limited, such that the dynamics of the metapopulation should be seen as the sum of the dynamics of the individual subpopulations.
metasternumthird and last segment of the thorax
metathoraxthird and last segment of the thorax
microcavernicolousliving in small cavities, like burrows and warrens
microsculpturefine texture of the cuticula, e.g. transverse linear, isodiametric cellular, etc.
mimesisresemblance to an inedible object in the environment
mimicryresemblance to a harmful or impalatable species
minefeeding tunnel formed by larvae in plant tissue, e.g. leafs, stems or fruits
molluscophagousfeeding on molluscs, e.g. snails, bivalves
monoa prefix meaning one, single, alone
monophagouseating only one kind of food (usually plants)
montane800 - 1600 m, rye and wheat crop limit
morphologythe branch of biology that deals with the form and structure of organisms without consideration of function
multivoltineproducing several broods in a single season
muscicolousliving in moss or hepatics
mycetophagousfeeding on fungi
myrmecophilousant-loving: applied to insects that live in ant nests


Nearcticecozone including most of North America
necrophagouseating dead and decaying animals
nectarivorousfeeding on nectar
Neotropicecozone including Central and South America
neotypea specimen later selected to serve as the single type specimen when an original holotype has been lost or destroyed, or where the original author never cited a specimen
nidicoloussharing the nest of another species of animal
nivalclimate zone above 3000 m, alpine desert, permafrost and above snow line
nocturnalactive at night
nomenclaturea system of names, or naming of species of animals and plants scientifically
nymphthe intermediate growing stage in the life cycle of arthropods with an incomplete metamorphosis, usually having much the same morphological appearance as the adult


obligaterefers to an organism that is restricted to a particular set of environmental conditions or behaviour, without which it cannot survive
ocellussimple eye consisting of a simple beadlike lens
oligophagousfeeding on a restricted range of food substances, especially a limited number of plants
ommatidiumone of the single eyes forming the compound eyes of crustaceans, insects, and other invertebrates
omnivorousa general feeder upon animal or vegetable food, or both
oogenesisprocess of formation of the egg (ovum, pl. ova), the female gamete
orthognathousmouthparts are directed downwards from the head from the insect's normal position
ovaryfemale sexual gland in which the ova, or eggs, are formed
ovipositorthe organ used for laying eggs


Palaearcticecozone including Eurasia and North Africa
Palaetropicarea of the tropical and subtropical regions of the Old World, including almost the whole of Africa, India and Southeast Asia
palpusa feeler; especially, one of the jointed sense organs attached to the mouth organs of insects
paludicolousliving in marshy habitats
parapatricreferring to organisms whose ranges do not significantly overlap but are immediately adjacent to each other
parasitean organism that lives at the expense of another usually without killig ist host
parasitoidan organism that lives at the expense of another an finally killing its host
paratypeany additional specimen listed in the type series, where the original description designated a holotype
parthenogensisa form of reproduction in which eggs develop normally without being fertilised
pelophilousthriving of creatures in habitats rich in clay
petricolousinhabiting rocks
pheromonea chemical used in the communication between individuals of the same species (used e.g. for aggregation, alarm, courtship, sex attraction, trailmarking)
pholeophilouspreferring darkness or shade
phoresis(also phoresy) a form of symbiosis when the symbiont, the phoront, is mechanically carried about by its host. Neither is physiologically dependent on the other.
phorontanimal living in a form of symbiosis where it is mechanically carried about by its host
photophobicintolerant of, or avoiding, conditions of full light
phyllophagousfeeding upon leaf tissue
phylogenythe evolutionary relationship between organisms. The phylogeny of an organism reflects the evolutionary branch that led up to the organism.
phytophagouseating plants
phytophilousfond of plants
planarclimate zone under 150 m
plesiomorphya character state that is present in both outgroups and in the ancestors
pollenophagousfeeding on pollen
polyembryoniethe production of two or more embryos in one seed
polyphagouseating many kinds of food
polyporicolousliving on polypore fungi
ponto-mediterraneanSouth-East Europe around the Mediterranean
populationall the organisms that constitute a specific group or occur in a specified habitat
posteriorconcerning or facing the rear
praticolousliving on meadows
predatoran organism hunting and eating other animals
primary pestan injurious organism that attacks an immaculate substrate and is the leading cause of a damage
prognathousmouthparts are directed forwards from the head from the insect's normal position
pronotumthe upper (dorsal) plate of the prothorax
prosternumthe first segment of the thorax
prothoraxthe first segment of the thorax
proximalconcerning the basal part of an appendage - the part nearest to the body
psammophilousliving in sandy places
pseudochrysalisa false pupa: applied to the fifth stage, or coarctate pupa, of those insects which undergo hypermetamorphosis. Also called semipupa.
pubescencea covering of soft short hairs, or down, as one some plants and insects; also, the state of being so covered
pubescentcovered with short, soft hair
pygidiumthe posterior part of the body in certain invertebrates



recentof, belonging to, or denoting the Holocene Epoch
relictan organism that at an earlier time was abundant in a large area but now occurs at only one or a few small areas
rheophilousthriving in or having an affinity for running water
rhizophagousfeeding on roots
ripicolousdwelling on river banks: riparian
R-strategistorganism that uses a survival and reproductive 'strategy' characterised by high fecundity, high mortality, short longevity; populations controlled by density-independent factors
ruderal areapioneer habitats resulting from human activity


s.l.(lat. sensu lato) in the wider sense
s.str.(lat. sensu stricto) in the stricter sense
saprophagouseating decaying organisms
scapethe first segment of the antenna
scleritehardened body part in the exosceleton of insects
sclerotizationhardening of the cuticle by the cross-linking of the protein chains in the exocuticle
sculpturetexture of the cuticula, e.g. puncture, granules, wrinkles, etc.; see also microsculpture
scutellumthe posterior third of the mesonotum
secondary pestan injurious organism capable of damaging only weakend or stressed or already damaged substrates
serratetoothed like a saw
sexual dichromatismsystematic difference in color between individuals of different sex in the same species
sexual dimorphismsystematic difference in form between individuals of different sex in the same species
silvicolousgrowing in or inhabiting woodlands
spermathecaa small sac-like branch of the female reproductive tract of arthropods in which sperm may be stored
sphagnetumplant society characterized by sphagnum
sphagnicolousliving in Sphagnum
stenophagousutilizing only a limited variety of foods or food species, eating only a narrow range of food
stenotopicable to adapt only to a narrow range of environmental conditions
steppicolousliving in steppe environments
sternitethe ventral piece in a ring or segment
stigmaa spiracle or breathing pore
stipesthe second joint of a maxilla of an insect or a crustacean
stridulationthe production of sound by rubbing two ridged surfaces together
stylopizedinsect hosts that have been attacked by endoparasitic stylopids (Strepsiptera), e.g. Hympenoptera like bees and wasps, but from other orders as well
subalpine1500 - 2500 m, Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris), Norway Spruce (Picea abies), Swiss Pine (Pinus cembra, Arve or Zirbel) limit and European Larch (Larix decidua) limit
subfamilya taxonomic rank between family and tribe
subgenustaxonomic group between a genus and a species
submontaneclimate zone 450 - 800 m, European Beech (Fagus sylvatica), Silver Fir or European Silver Fir (Abies alba) and Norway Spruce (Picea abies).
subpopulationa population that is part of a larger population
subspeciesa well-marked form of a species differing from the type in some character of color or maculation which is recognizable but does not prevent a fertile union
subterraneanliving under the surface of the earth
subtribea taxonomic rank between tribe and genus
successionthe gradual and orderly process of change in an ecosystem brought about by the progressive replacement of one community by another until a stable climax is established
symbiosisa long-lasting, close and dependent relationship between two organisms of different species
sympatricorganisms whose ranges overlap or are even identical, so that they occur together at least in some places
synanthropicassociated with humans or their dwellings
synapomorphya derived trait that is shared by two or more taxa of shared ancestry
synonymdifferent scientific names that pertain to the same taxon
syntypeany of two or more specimens listed in a species description where a holotype was not designated


t.(lat. teste) reviewed/confirmed by
tarsusthe leg segment distal to the tibia, comprising 1-5 tarsomeres
taxona category in the classification of living organisms. The taxa (the plural of taxon) in the Linnean system are kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species.
taxonomythe theory and practice of naming and classifying organisms
tergitethe primary plate or sclerite forming the dorsal surface of any body segment
terricolousliving on or in the ground
tetramerichaving four parts, or parts arranged in groups of four, referrring to the tarsi of insects
thanatosisfeigning death
thermophilicapplied to species living in hot places
thoraxthe chest, split into prothorax (anterior chest), mesothorax (middle chest) and metathorax (posterior chest)
tibiathe fourth leg segment, following the femur
tomentuma covering of dense, matted, woolly hairs
tracheaone of the tubules forming the respiratory system of most insects and many arachnids
tribea taxonomic rank between family and genus. It is sometimes subdivided into subtribes
trichomea filamentous or hairlike structure of a gland, e.g. in myrmecophilous beetles
triungulinthe active first instar larva of some parasitic, hypermetamorphic Neuroptera and Coleoptera
trochanterthe second leg segment, following the coxa
troglobiousorganisms, whose life cycle takes place completely in a cave
troglophilousfrequent inhabitant of the caves, adapted ecologically but not morphologically
trogloxenouscasual inhabitants of caves, whose long permanence in the caves could cause them to die
typethe type provides the objective standard of reference whereby the application of the name of a nominal taxon can be determined; see also holotype, paratype, syntype, neotype and lectotype


ubiquistspecies that is not bound to any particular habitat
univoltinehaving but a single generation a year


vagilehaving freedom to move about
ventraltowards or at the lower surface
vicariancethe separation or division of a group of organisms by a geographic barrier, such as a mountain or a body of water, resulting in differentiation of the original group into new varieties or species
vid.(lat. vidit, has seen) seen/reviewed by



xerophilousapplied to species living in dry places
xerothermicboth dry and hot climate or area
xerothermophilousapplied to species living in hot and dry places
xylodetriticolousliving in decayed wood
xylophagouseating wood



zoophagousfeeding on animals