lepidopteran


lep·i·dop·ter·an

noun \-rən\

Definition of LEPIDOPTERAN

:  any of a large order (Lepidoptera) of insects comprising the butterflies, moths, and skippers that as adults have four broad or lanceolate wings usually covered with minute overlapping and often brightly colored scales and that as larvae are caterpillars
lepidopteran adjective
lep·i·dop·ter·ous \-tə-rəs\ adjective

Origin of LEPIDOPTERAN

New Latin Lepidoptera, from lepid- + Greek pteron wing — more at feather
First Known Use: circa 1901

lepidopteran

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any of the more than 155,000 species constituting the order Lepidoptera (Greek: “scaly wing”): butterflies, moths, and skippers. The name refers to the dusting of minute scales that covers the wings and bodies of these insects. A slender proboscis is used for sucking. Nearly all lepidopterans are plant eaters, and species are found on every continent except Antarctica. Females may lay from a few to a thousand or more eggs at a time. All lepidopterans undergo complete metamorphosis. Many types move from one region to another, sometimes crossing thousands of miles of ocean, but the only species that truly migrates—the same individuals making a two-way flight—is the monarch butterfly.

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