Glossary definitions are derived in part from Snodgrass (1935), Torre-Bueno and Tulloch (1989), and Lawrence (1991; Order Coleoptera), or otherwise developed or elaborated upon by tool authors.


ampulla (pl. ampullae): A raised blister or blister-like raised area on the exoskeletal surface.

annular: Ring-shaped.

annular-biforous: In reference to a spiracular opening that is typically round, with two secondary air chambers or tubes.

antennomeres: The various subunits of the antenna, i.e., the scape, pedicel, flagellomeres, etc.

asperities: Areas or regions of the exoskeletal surface that are "roughened" in appearance, often with small to minute bubble-like dots or raised spine-like processes.


bidentate: Possessing two teeth or teeth-like processes.

bifid: Cleft, forked, or otherwise divided into two parts.

biforous: Possessing two openings.

brachypterous: Possessing shortened or abbreviated wings.

bracon: In reference to the larval head capsule, this is a ventral endoskeletal structure associated with the mouthparts that supports the hypopharynx; appearing as a transverse line between the ventral mandibular articulations.



capitate: Club-shaped or having a knob-like appearance.

cardo: In reference to the mouthparts, this is the basal division of the maxilla; typically in beetles this is a small structure.

carina (pl. carinae): A ridge or other elevated keel-like structure on the exoskeleton.

caudad: Pertaining to the posterior portion of the body; syn. posteriad.

connate: Adjoining or united along a part or the entire length of a structure.

contractile: A body region or structure capable of being retracted or withdrawn.

costa (pl. costae): An elevated ridge that is rounded on the top, i.e., not sharply pointed.

cowled: Appearing hood-like.

coxa (pl. coxae): The basal segment that articulates with the body proper; adj. coxal.

cribriform: Having perforations, or holes.

cuneiform: Appearing wedge-shaped.

cuticle: The outer covering of the epidermis, may be subdivided into epicuticle, subcuticle, etc.


deflected: Bent or turned to the side or downward.

deflexed: Abruptly turned downward.

denticulate: Having or appearing tooth-like.

dorsad: Of or pertaining to the dorsal, or back, of an insect.



elytra: The hardened or sclerotized forewings of adult Coleoptera, often appearing "leather-like."

emargination: A notched or inwardly produced margin or border.

endocarina (pl. endocarinae): An internal ridge or keel.

excavate: A depression or "scooped out" region.

exserted: Exposed or otherwise protruding.


fascia (pl. fasciae): A transverse line or band.

flabellate: Fan-like.

flagellomere: A single portion of a multiannulate antenna.

forewing: The first or anterior most set of wings, derived from the mesothorax.

frons: The anterior most sclerite of the head proper, which articulates with clypeus.

frontoclypeal region: Dorso-anterior region of the head comprising the frons and clypeus, which may or may not be demarcated by a suture.

funicle: The portion of the antenna distal to the scape and pedicel but proximal to the club segments.


galea: The lateral most lobe of the maxilla, often accompanied with various setae, spines, or other food manipulatory structures.

geniculate: Having the appearance of being elbowed.

gular: Pertaining to the ventral portion of the head, which is formed from the fusion of the postoccipital sclerites.


habitus: An image or other diagrammatic rendering that depicts an entire organism, i.e., ventral habitus, dorsal habitus, etc.

hypognathous: Having a ventral orientation to the mouthparts, with head vertical.

hypopharynx: The median lobe/sclerite directly posterior to the true mouth; typically adorned with variable teeth, spines, and sensory receptors; adj. hypopharyngeal.



integument: The outer layer of the insect cuticle.


labium: Mouthpart sclerite opposed to the labrum, typically located ventrally on head and often bearing paired palpi.

labrum: The most dorsal mouthpart located between the clypeus and the rest of the true mouth.

lacinia: The inner lobe of the maxilla.

lamellate: Appearing sheet-like.

lyriform: Having a lyre or hour-glass shape.


mala: A lobe of the jaw.

mandibles: The first or primary jaws. In wood boring beetle larvae they are responsible for the initial chewing of the substrate; adj. mandibular.

maxilla (pl. maxillae): The second jaws, comprising the segments cardo, galea, lacinia, palp, and stipes; adj. maxillary.

mesocoxa (pl. mesocoxae): The coxal leg segment of the mesothoracic body segment.

mesothorax: The middle thoracic body segment, between the pro- and metathoracic body segments.

metacoxa (pl. metacoxae): The coxal leg segment of the metathoracic body segment.

metathorax: The posterior thoracic body segment, following the pro- and mesothoracic body segments.

metatrochanter: The trochanter leg segment of the metathoracic body segment.

metaventrite: The ventral, i.e. sternal area, of the metathoracic body segment; formerly termed "metasternum".

mola: The basal portion of the mandible, typically used for grinding food.



palpus (pl. palpi or palps): A segmented mouthpart structure derived from either the maxilla or labium, typically having a sensory and/or manipulation function.

pectinate: Appearing comb or feather-like.

pedicel: The second segment of the adult antenna.

pentamerous: Pertaining to the number of tarsi, i.e. five tarsomeres present.

pleural: Relating to the lateral region of any body segment.

plica (pl. plicae): A fold or wrinkle.

postocciput: The cranial sclerite, or sclerite remnant; located posterior to the rest of the head and delimited by the postoccipital suture; adj. postoccipital.

procoxa (pl. procoxae): The coxal leg segment of the prothoracic body segment.

prognathous: Having an anterior orientation to the mouthparts, with head horizontal.

proleg: The cylindrical, ventral outgrowths of the larval abdomen, which may aid in locomotion or other ambulatory activities, but are not homologous with true legs.

pronotum: The dorsal portion of the prothorax.

prosternum: The ventral portion of the prothorax.

prothorax: The most anterior of the thoracic segments, prior to the meso- and metathoracic segments; adj. prothoracic.

pseudotetramerous: Pertaining to the number of tarsi, i.e. five tarsomeres present but appearing as having four tarsomeres, with second tarsomere greatly reduced and often obscured by first and/or third.

punctate: Having impressed puncture marking on the integument.

pygidium: The dorsal portion of the last visible abdominal segment.

pygopods: Foot-like appendages that may be used in locomotory functions.


R3: Typically, a capital case letter followed by a roman numeral indicates a particular branch of one of the primary wing veins, e.g., R3 = the 3rd branch of the radius vein.

rostrum: A snout-like modification of the mouthparts.

rugose: Having a wrinkled appearance.



scape: The first antennal segment.

scarabaeoid: Having a scarab-like appearance.

sclerite: A plate or region of the exoskeleton delimited by membranes or sutures.

sclerotized: (Of a cuticle), hardened through the sclerotization process.

serrate: Appearing saw-like.

seta (pl. setae): Cuticular hair-like projections; adj. setal.

setal: Having or pertaining to setae.

setose: Bearing setae; appearing hair-like.

spiracles: The external openings of the tracheal respiratory system.

squamous: Scale-like in appearance; bearing scales.

stemmata: The simple, circular, often lateral eyes in Coleoptera larvae.

stipes: The second segment of the maxilla, distal to the cardo, and bearing the lacinia, galea and palp.

suture: A groove, marking or other indication of the fusion point between two different skeletal plates or segments.


tarsi: The collective term for the distal leg segments attached to the tibia.

tarsomere: One of the segments of the tarsi.

tarsungulus: In Coleoptera larva, the terminal leg segment formed by the fusion of the claw and tarsus.

terga (sing. tergum; interchangeably used with tergite): Pertaining to the dorsal surface of any body segment.

tetramerous: Pertaining to the number of tarsi, i.e. four tarsomeres present.

thoracic: Pertaining to one of the three thoracic body segments, i.e., pro-, meso-, and metathorax.

tibia: The middle part of the leg between the femur and tarsi, often bearing setae, spines, denticles or other modification and which also may be modified in males for copulatory purposes.

trochantin: In some Coleoptera, a sclerotized remnant of the coxopleurite which articulates basally with the coxa.

tubercles: Raised bump-like structures on the integument.



unidentate: Possessing one tooth or tooth-like process.

urogomphi (sing. urogomphus): Paired sclerotized processes on the 9th abdominal segment of Coleoptera larvae.


ventrite: Term applied to a ventral portion of a body segment, i.e., sternite.

vestiture: A generalized term for the setal arrangement on the integument.

vitta (pl. vittae): A broad or ribbon-like stripe.


Key player updated February 2018
Content last modified: February 4, 2011