Abdomen: the back section of the insects, behind the point of attachment for the wings and legs.
Ametabolous: in insects, a type of metamorphosis in which all stages but the egg look the same apart from size
Boundary layer: the layer of low flow that occurs when fluids (water, air, etc) flow over the surface of objects in the stream. See the Water Penny entry for a more detailed description of how a boundary layer works.
Bug: an insect that belongs to the order Hemiptera. See the post about bugs for more information.
Complete metamorphosis: see holometabolous
Decomposer: an organism that helps break down a dead organism
Elytra: the hardened forewings of beetles. Elytra means “sheath” in Greek. See the post about bugs for more information.
Entomologist: a scientist who studies insects
Exoskeleton: the hard, tough outer covering of insects
Exothermic: organisms that are largely unable to produce their own body heat and regulate their temperature mostly through behavioral means
Flier: in odonates, the behavioral group which includes insects that rarely land and observe their territories on the wing. Contrast with perchers.
Forewings: the front pair of wings in insects with wings.
Hemielytra: the specialized forewings of the true bugs (Order: Hemiptera) that are leathery on the upper half and membranous on the lower half. Hemielytra means “half sheath” in Greek. See the post about bugs for more information.
Hemimetabolous: insects that undergo incomplete metamorphosis and have a life cycle that consists of egg, nymph, and adult
Hemiptera: the order name for the group containing the true bugs. All members of this group have hemielytra and piercing-sucking mouthparts.
Hindwings: the back pair of wings in insects with wings
Holometabolous: insects that undergo complete metamorphosis and have a life cycle that consists of egg, larva, pupa, and adult
Incomplete metatmorphosis: see hemimetabolous
Instar: the stage between molts in immature insects
Immature: an organism that is not fully developed and not reproductively capable
Insect: an animal that has 3 body segments (head, thorax, abdomen), six legs, two pairs of wings (may be missing in some insects), and one pair of antennae
Larva: the immature stage of holometabolous insects
Metamorphosis: in insects, a process by which an insect changes from one stage and/or form to another. See also holometabolous, hemimetabolous, ametabolous, and the entry on metamorphosis in insects.
Molt: in insects, breaking out of an exoskeleton that has grown too small and expanding the new, larger exoskeleton beneath; the stages between molts are called instars
Nymph: the immature stage of hemimetabolous insects
Odonata: the order name for the group containing the dragonflies and damselflies.
Odonate: an insect belonging to the order Odonata
Parasite: an organism that lives off another organism to the detriment of the host organism and the benefit of the parasite
Percher: in odonates, the behavioral group where the insects sit on perches and observe their territories while resting rather than on the wing. Contrast with flier.
Piercing-sucking mouthparts: the specialized mouthparts of true bugs that inject digestive chemicals into their food, then suck the food up into their mouths after the chemicals have liquefied it
Predator: an animal that eats another animal
Prey: an animal that is eaten by another animal
Pruinose: in dragonflies, individuals with a waxy and/or dusty looking coating on their bodies
Pupa: in insects, the developmental stage between larva and adult where a complete rearrangement of tissues occurs
Sclerotization: in insects, a process by which a soft, flexible exoskeleton is hardened into a hard and/or tough covering
Spore: the reproductive body of molds that allows molds to spread to new areas
Territory: an area containing necessary resources (food, access to mates, habitat, etc) that an animal is able to protect sufficiently to exclude other individuals at will
Thorax: the middle segment of insects, where the wings and legs are attached
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