Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Upcoming Events

See Moth submissions from National Moth Week 2023

Photos of insects and people from the 2022 BugGuide gathering in New Mexico, July 20-24

Photos of insects and people from the Spring 2021 gathering in Louisiana, April 28-May 2

Photos of insects and people from the 2019 gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Photos of insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Previous events



Diagram of an insect - front view of head Diagram of an insect Insect antenna forms Insect Leg Insect wing diagram--regions Anatomy of a Spider Wing venation of a fly, Anisopus
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
No Taxon Glossary
Anatomical terms, etc., to be divided up by letter of the alphabet.

Hints for use
to see the list of terms, use Browse or Taxonomy tabs
to see all terms, use Taxonomy tab and then click on View All link (or use direct link to all terms).
Click on the term, then its Info tab to see a glossary entry

Use in guide pages and captions
Ideally, insert hyperlinks to terms as you write captions and guide pages. For example, to insert a link to clypeus (node 110028), write the following code:
To keep the glossary nodes handy, open it in a separate window from your the guide page on which you are working

Suggested format for entries
glossary term goes in Preferred Common Name field
use Representative Images field to show important images--node numbers separated by commas (e.g., 110081,19087,99221,46789,46790)
use Pronunciation field for that, if desired
use Explanation of Names field for etymology (origin of word)
use Identification field for main definition
restate term at top of Identification field, e.g., "clypeus noun, plural clypeuses - (definition)" or some other consistent format
include a thumbnail of an explanatory diagram if available (or place under Representative images)
include thumbnails of relevant photos as examples, if available (or place under Representative images)
use See also field for links to related terms
use Remarks field for other material, if desired
use Print references and Internet references, as desired
Jardine's Dictionary of Entomology is a good place to start for definitions--the material is in the public domain, so can be copied freely, though it usually needs editing and updating--it is far more detailed than we need here, so one must pick and chose entries
see clypeus as a sample page

Cannot find it here?
If you would like to see a term added to the glossary, please post your request in a comment on this topic.
Many common terms in biology are defined elsewhere on the Internet and will likely not be added here--the emphasis is on terms most useful for descriptions of terrestrial arthropods.
Note that only BugGuide editors can write or edit glossary entries--just as for other types of guide pages, such as species accounts. Remember, that they are volunteers like everyone else associated with BugGuide
Print References
Gordh & Headrick (2003). A Dictionary of Entomology (1)
John Bernhard Smith (1906). Explanation of terms used in entomology (2). Viewable and downloadable in various formats from the Biodiversity Heritage Library
Internet References
Wiktionary--can be a useful source
Jardine's Dictionary of Entomology--BHL, link updated 2/20/18
University of Chicago--Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (1913)--searchable, good coverage of zoology terms
Glossary of Entomological Terms--Univ. Florida (PDF, link updated 10/6/20)
American Tarantula Society--see Arthropod Glossary
Explanation of Terms used in entomology. 1906. Available at Gutenberg Project
Works Cited
1.A Dictionary of Entomology
George Gordh, David H. Headrick. 2003. CABI Publishing.
2.Explanation of terms used in entomology
John Bernardh Smith. 1906. Brooklyn Entomological Society.