abdomen: the third and last segment of an insect's body

anal cell: cell A of either the forewing or hind wing

anepimeron: the dorsal portion of the mesepimeron

antenna: the sensory organ emerging from the front of the head, usually between the compound eyes and above the clypeus; includes the flagellum, scape, and pedicel

antennal socket: where the first segment is attached to the head and allows the insect to move and rotate the antenna easily

anterior: of or towards the front or head

anterodorsal: anterior of the dorsum

apex: the end or most distal area of any structure

apical: towards the apex; farthest away from the body

aposematic: having warning coloration, indicating that an insect is unpalatable, venomous, or otherwise dangerous


basal: towards the base; closest to the body

base: the beginning or most proximal area of any structure

basitarsus: the basal tarsomere; also known as tarsomere 1

bifid: divided or forked into two branches or parts

bipectinate: describing pectinate antennae of which each segment has two projections, one on either side

bivoltine: describing a life cycle with two generations per calendar year

brood: the young of an insect

brood parasite: a parasite of immature insects


carina: a ridge or raised edge

cell: a membranous area of the wing between veins; in a nest or honeycomb, a small chamber in which the egg is placed and larva develops

cercus: structures emerging posterolaterally from the apex of the abdomen

clavate: club-like thickening toward the tip; often used to describe antennae

clypeus: the sclerotized area on the front of the head located between the antennal insertions and labrum

cocoon: a silky case spun by the larvae of many insects for protection in the pupal stage

collateral damage: additional but subordinate; secondary; unintentional

compound eye: an eye consisting of an array of numerous small visual units

concave: describing an inward curving surface, opposite of convex

conspecific: belonging to the same species

convex: describing an outward curving surface, opposite of concave

corbicula: a flattened area on the tibia; pollen basket

costa: the robust vein on the anterior margin of the wing; vein C

coxa: the first and most basal segment of the leg

cross-fertile: also called Allogamy, the fusion of male and female gametes (sex cells) from different individuals of the same species


defoliate: to eliminate a sizeable portion of the foliage of a tree, either by feeding on the leaves or otherwise causing a severe decrease in the photosynthetic ability

diapause: a non-active period of no development

dimorphic: having two forms, usually in the context of a taxon with different male and female morphology

distal: furthest from the body, opposite of proximal

distitarsus: the apical tarsomere

dorsal: of or on the top surface of the body or structure

drone: a male bee in a colony of social bees, which does not work but can fertilize a queen


emarginate: notched at the margin

endemic: both native and unique to a particular region

episternum: the anterior part of the thoracic pleuron

eusocial: showing an advanced level of social organization, in which a single female or caste produces the offspring and nonreproductive individuals cooperate in caring for the young

extant: in existence; opposite of extinct

extinct: not in existence; opposite of extant


fecund: describing an organism with high fecundity

fecundity: ability to produce a high number of offspring; potential reproductive abundance

femur: the third segment of the leg between the trochanter and the tibia

filiform: threadlike; slender and of even diameter

flagellomere: a segment of the flagellum of the antenna

flagellum: the third section of the antennae that includes all the segments beyond the pedicel; segments of the flagellum are known as flagella

fons: the sclerotized anterodorsal part of the head

forecoxa: the coxa of the foreleg

forefemur: the femur of the foreleg

foreleg: the first and anterior-most leg of the body

foretarsus: the tarsus of the foreleg

foretibia: the tibia of the foreleg

forewing: the anterior wing of each pair of wings; usually the largest wing of the pair

frass: solid larval excrement

furrow: a groove or linear depression


gaster: the swollen part of the abdomen behind the waist

gastral: of or relating to the stomach or digestive tract

gena: the area of the head between the compound eye and clypeus; also called the cheek

girdle: cut through the bark all the way around (a tree or branch), typically in order to kill it or to kill a branch to make the tree more fruitful


hemolymph: the "blood" of an insect, a fluid plasma containing nucleated cells

herbaceous: describing a plant that does not have a woody stem and is often close to the ground; e.g., grasses, forbs, and vegetable plants

hibernacula: a shelter occupied during the winter by a dormant insect

hind leg: the third and posterior-most leg

hind wing: the posterior wing of each pair of wings

hindocelli: the two basal ocelli with 3 present

Holarctic: describing the region of the Northern Hemisphere that includes both the Nearctic and Palearctic regions

holoptic: eyes that meet along the median dorsal line of the head

holotype: the specimen designated as the type species or type subspecies

hyaline: transparent; glossy


instar: a stage of development between molts in insects; often is a larval stage

integument: the epidermis and cuticle of the exoskeleton surface


katepimeron: ventral section of the mesepimeron


labial palpus: appendage emerging laterally from the labium

labrum: a sclerotized structure on the front of the head between the clypeus and mandibles

lance: the dorsal portion of the ovipositor; paired but fused into one

lancet: the ventral portion of the ovipositor; paired

larva: the immature stage of holometabolous insects

lateral: of or towards the side of the body


malar space: the minimum distance between the base of the mandibles and the ventral margin of the compound eyes

mandible: the primary mouthpart used for biting and chewing; jaw

maxillary palpus: appendage emerging laterally from the maxilla; often segmented

mesepimeron: the dorsal portion of the mesopleuron, located under the wing

mesepisternum: the ventral portion of the mesopleuron, located between the forecoxae and the midcoxae

meson: the midline of the body

mesonotum: the second segment of the dorsum of the thorax

mesopleuron: the central lateral part of the thorax includes the mesepisternum and mesepimeron

mesoscutellum: the anterior section of the scutellum

mesoscutum: the central and dorsal portion of the thorax between the scutellum and postnotum

metanotum: the last segment of the dorsum of the thorax

metapleuron: the posterior lateral part of the thorax including the metepimeron and metepisternum

metascutellum: the posterior section of the scutellum

metasoma: is the posterior section of the insect body

metatarsomere: the posterior tarsomere

metepimeron: the dorsal portion of the metapleuron

metepisternum: the ventral portion of the metapleuron

midleg: the second and middle leg between the foreleg and hindleg

midocellus diameter: width of the middle ocellus measured from side to side in frontal view; used to measure facial dimension

monophyletic: describing a group of all known descendants arising from a common ancestor

multivoltine: describing a life cycle with many generations per calendar year

mystax: a brush of stiff hairs on the lower part of the face


Nearctic: describing the region of the Northern Hemisphere that includes North America and south through northern Mexico

Neotropical: describing the region of the Western Hemisphere that is tropical; includes southern Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America

New World: the Western Hemisphere; the continents of North and South America

nocturnal: active at night

notum: the dorsum of the thorax above pleural region; separated into pronotum, mesonotum, and metanotum

nuptial flight: a flight of sexually mature social insects in which mating take place and which is usually a prelude to the forming of a new colony


occiput: the posterior surface of the head

ocellus: a simple bead-like eye, often on the dorsum of the head in groups of 1-3

oculomalar space: the distance between the eye and the mandible

Old World: The Eastern Hemisphere; the continents of Asia, Australia, Africa, and Europe

oviposit: to deposit or lay eggs, especially by means of an ovipositor

ovipositor: the female organ that deposits eggs and is used to drill into plane tissue, located at the apex of the abdomen, made up of the lance and lancet


Palearctic: describing the region of the Northern Hemisphere that includes Europe, Asia south to the Himalayas and Northern Africa

palpomere: a segment of a palp

palpus: jointed structure emerging from the labium and maxilla

paraphyletic: describing a group with members arising from a common ancestor, but not including all of the known descendants of that ancestor

parasitoid: an insect whose larvae live as parasites that eventually kill their hosts

pectinate: comb-like in form

pedicel: the second antennal segment, between the scape and flagellum

Perennial: living for several years

petiole: the narrowed region between the thorax and abdomen also called the "wasp waist"; a slender stalk

pheromone: a chemical substance produced and released into the environment by an animal

phylogeny: evolutionary history of a group of organisms

phytophagous: feeding on plants

phytotoxic: toxic to plants; poisons and sometimes kills plant tissue

polyphyletic: describing a group with members arising from different phylogenies, not sharing a common ancestor

postenal: located posterior to the gena; of the postgena

postocellar distance: the dorsal portion of the head located between the occiput and ocelli

postocular: located behind the eye

preapical: close to, but anterior to, the apex

predator: an animal that naturally preys on others

prepupa: the active, non-feeding life stage in which the larva prepares to enter the pupal stage

proboscis: an elongated sucking mouthpart that is typically tubular and flexible

proleg: in a larva, the paired leg-like appendages of the abdomen that assist movement; the "legs" beyond the 3 pairs of thoracic legs on a larval body

pronotal: relating to the pronotum

pronotum: the anterodorsal part of the thorax, often situated posterior to the head

propleuron: a lateral scleral sclerite located between the pronotum and episternum near the anterior of the body

proximal: nearest to body, opposite of distal

pubescent: describing a surface with short, dense hairs

pulvillus: soft pads used for surface adhesion

punctate: covered with many small punctures, holes or pits

pupa: the intermediate and inactive life stage of holometabolous insects, between larva and adult

pupate: for a larva to become a pupa


queen: a reproductive female in a colony of social hymenoptera


radial cell: a cell on the wing located in the radial sector on the apical half of the wing; also known as 1R1, 1Rs, 2Rs, 3Rs


scape: the first antennal segment

sclerotized: hardened, rigid

scutellum: a central part of the notum, located between the scutum and postnotum

scutum: the central part of the notum located anterior to the scutellum, divided into two parts

serrate: toothed; often describing the ovipositor or antennae

sessile: attached directly; describing the broad and complete connection of the thorax to abdomen; opposite of petiolate

seta: hair-like structure

setaceous: bristle-like in form

spatulate: spoon-shaped; slender at the base and widened and rounded at the apex

speciose: describing a taxon that includes a high number of species

spiracle: an external opening to the respiratory system of an insect; appears as a pore or small hole

sternite: a sclerotized segment of the abdominal sternum

sternum: the ventralarea of the thorax or abdomen

submarginal cell: a cell on the wing located below the anterior margin and surrounding the stigma on the apical side of the wing; also known as 2R1, 3R1, 4R1

subsocial: living in aggregations but lacking organizational structure as in true social insects; can describes insects with tendencies to protect or care for their young, feed gregariously, and build cocoon masses

suture: a marked line where two plates are fused

sympatry: the occurrence of two or more populations sharing the same geographic area and coming into contact frequently


tarsal claw: sharpened appendage emerging from the apex of the tarsus

tarsomere: a segment of the tarsus

tarsus: the fifth and last segment of the leg

taxonomy: the branch of science concerned with classification

tegula: a thin, plate-like structure emerging from the base of the forewing

tergite: a sclerotized segment of the tergum

tergum: the dorsal area of the abdomen

thoracic: of or on the thorax

thorax: the second and middle segment of the body, between the head and abdomen

tibia: the fourth segment of the leg, between the femur and the tarsus

trochanter: the second segment of the leg, between the coxa and femur

truncate: ending abruptly; cut off squarely; opposite of tapering

tubercle: a raised, round bump or protuberance

tyloid: a large longitudinal keel or sensory patch on the ventral side of several flagellar segments


univoltine: describing an insect with a life cycle of one generation per year


vein: a tube-like, often darkened, stucture on the wings

venation: the network of veins on a wing

ventral: of or on the underside of the body or structure

vertex: the dorsal portion of the head between the compound eyes, between the occiput and frons


worker: a member of the nonreproductive, laboring caste in semisocial and eusocial species