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ALL ABOUT BUTTERFLIES!

Butterfly Calendar
What is a Butterfly? Life Cycle Butterfly Anatomy Information Sheets Glossary Printables and Activities

Butterfly Glossary
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X-Z

Click on an underlined word for more information on that subject.

E


EARTH

The Earth is the third planet from the sun.


ECDYSIS

Ecdysis is molting. When an insect molts it loses its old exoskeleton and grows a larger one to replace it. Caterpillars molt four to five times during their development.


ECDYSONE

Ecdysone is the molting hormone of insects. It causes an insect to molt.

ECTOTHERMIC

Ectotherms are animals whose internal temperature changes with the environment. They rely upon the external temperature and their behavior (like sunning themselves) to regulate their body temperature. Amphibians, most fish, and most reptiles are ectothermic.


EGG

Butterflies and moths hatch from eggs. Butterflies usually lay their eggs on leaves. They are oviparous.

EMERGENTS

Emergents are giant trees in a rainforest that are much higher (up to 270 feet or 81 m) than the average canopy height. The emergents house many birds and insects.

ENDANGERED SPECIES

An endangered species is a group of animals that is dwindling in numbers and may go extinct soon. Many species of butterflies are endangered, including Queen Alexandra's Birdwing.

ENDOTHERMIC

Endotherms maintain a relatively constant internal temperature. Endothermic animals generate their own body heat to maintain their body temperature, which is usually higher than that of the surroundings. Heat from the bloodstream circulates through the body in order to maintain the animal's temperature. Birds and mammals are endothermic.
Eon Time
Phanerozoic Eon 540 million years ago through today
Proterozoic Eon 2.5 billion years ago to 540 million years ago
Archaeozoic Eon 3.9 to 2.5 billion years ago
Hadean Eon 4.6 to 3.9 billion years ago

EON

Two or more geological Eras form an Eon, which is the largest division of geological time, lasting hundreds of millions of years.

EPOCH

An epoch is a division of a geologic period; it is the smallest division of geologic time, lasting several million years.


EQUATOR

The equator is an imaginary circle around the earth, halfway between the north and south poles. The temperature at the equator is usually very warm.

ERA

Two or more geological periods comprise an Era, which is hundreds of millions of years in duration.

ERUCIFORM

Eruciform means having a caterpillar-like shape (cylindrical with a well-developed head and legs). The larvae of butterflies and moths (caterpillars) are eruciform.

ESTIVATION

Estivation (also spelled aestivation) is a dormant state that an animal enters in order to survive a very hot or very dry period. During estivation, the animal does not move, grow, or eat.

EVERSCIBLE TUBERCLE

An everscible tubercle is a tentacle that ant-tending caterpillars have. Located towards the rear, this tentacle can release a chemical that mimics an ant pheromone. The caterpillar releases this pheromone when it is threatened by a predator; the chemical causes ants to become aggressive, attacking the predator.

EVOLUTION

Evolution is a process in which the gene pool of a population gradually (over millions of years) changes in response to environmental pressures, natural selection, and genetic mutations. All forms of life came into being by this process.

EXOSKELETON

An exoskeleton is an external skeleton, a tough, structural body armor made of chitin. Arthropods (insects, arachnids, trilobites, crustaceans, etc.) have segmented exoskeletons.

EXTINCT

An animal species that is extinct has died out. Most animal species that ever existed have gone extinct, including all the dinosaurs.

EXTINCTION

Extinction is the process in which groups of organisms (species) die out.

EYE

Insects (like butterflies and moths) have compound eyes and simple eyes. Compound eyes are made up of many hexagonal lens/corneas which focus light from each part of the insect's field of view onto a rhabdome (the equivalent of our retina). An optic nerve then carries this information to the insect's brain. Insects see very differently from us; they can see ultraviolet rays (which are invisible to us).

EYE CAP

The eye cap is a hood that partly covers the eyes of some small moths. This cap is formed by the base of the antennae.
tiger swallowtail larva

EYE SPOT

An eye spot is a circular, eye-like marking found on the wings of some butterflies or the body of some caterpillars. These eyespots make the insect look like the face of a much larger animal and may scare away some predators.
Zoom Butterfly
Butterfly Glossary
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X-Z

Click on an underlined word for more information on that subject.
If the butterfly term you are looking for is not in the dictionary, please e-mail us.


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