plural noun

lep·​i·​dop·​tera ˌle-pə-ˈdäp-tə-rə How to pronounce lepidoptera (audio)
: insects that are lepidopterans

Examples of lepidoptera in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This watch sends butterflies around the dial as violets dance in an imaginary breeze for 12 seconds before returning those tiny lepidoptera to display the time on a retrograde scale. Allen Farmelo, Robb Report, 12 Apr. 2024 While in the Eje Cafetero, check-out the lepidoptera at Jardin Botánico de Quindío, where some 50 species flit about a netted enclosure. Yellow butterflies flew around Gabriel García Márquez's grandparents' house in Aracataca, where he was born and lived as a child. Christopher Baker, Travel + Leisure, 7 Jan. 2022 Want to explore your local lepidoptera? Catherine Hoffman, Discover Magazine, 13 June 2017 How exactly did a space dedicated to the study and preservation of the lepidoptera land in the crosshairs of far-right extremists? Fidel Martinez, Los Angeles Times, 3 Feb. 2022 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, 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, 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, 19 Apr. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'lepidoptera.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1773, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of lepidoptera was circa 1773

Dictionary Entries Near lepidoptera

Cite this Entry

“Lepidoptera.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lepidoptera. Accessed 20 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


plural noun
lep·​i·​dop·​tera ˌlep-ə-ˈdäp-tə-rə How to pronounce lepidoptera (audio)
: insects that are lepidopterans

Medical Definition


noun plural
lep·​i·​dop·​tera ˌlep-ə-ˈdäp-tə-rə How to pronounce lepidoptera (audio)
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
: insects of the order Lepidoptera
lepidopteran noun or adjective
lepidopterous adjective
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