plural noun
lep·​i·​dop·​tera | \ ˌle-pə-ˈdäp-tə-rə How to pronounce lepidoptera (audio) \

Definition of lepidoptera

: insects that are lepidopterans

Examples of lepidoptera in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And its butterfly garden allowed visitors to walk through a room brimming with hundreds of monarchs, common sergeants, tailed jays and other fluttering lepidoptera. Jerry Dicolo | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "Crippled by tourism drop, Audubon to shutter Insectarium; eyes move of exhibits to Aquarium," 5 Sep. 2020 Biologists have long hypothesized that the evolutionary transformation within the species lepidoptera could be traced back to the moths’ understandable desire to avoid getting eaten by nocturnal bats. Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "A new theory on how moths evolved into butterflies is also a lesson in career changes," 23 Oct. 2019 Most moths are nocturnal; butterflies are essentially moths that have evolved to be diurnal, or active during the day, says Robert Robbins, a curator of lepidoptera at the National Museum of Natural History. Anna Diamond, Smithsonian, "What’s the Difference Between Moths and Butterflies and More Questions From Our Readers," 19 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lepidoptera.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of lepidoptera

circa 1773, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for lepidoptera

Time Traveler

The first known use of lepidoptera was circa 1773

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Cite this Entry

“Lepidoptera.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lepidoptera. Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for lepidoptera


noun plural
lep·​i·​dop·​tera | \ ˌlep-ə-ˈdäp-tə-rə How to pronounce lepidoptera (audio) \

Medical Definition of lepidoptera

1 capitalized : a large order of insects comprising the butterflies, moths, and skippers that as adults have four broad or lanceolate wings usually covered with overlapping and often brightly colored scales and that as larvae are caterpillars
2 : insects of the order Lepidoptera

Other Words from lepidoptera

lepidopteran \ -​rən How to pronounce lepidoptera (audio) \ noun or adjective
lepidopterous \ -​tə-​rəs How to pronounce lepidoptera (audio) \ adjective

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