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ALL ABOUT BUTTERFLIES!

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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.


H


HABITAT

A habitat is a space (which includes food, water and shelter) suitable for the survival and reproduction of an organism.

HAWK MOTH

Hawk moths (also called Hummingbird moths, clearwing hummingbird moths, and sphinx moths) look quite similar to hummingbirds. They belong to the lepidopteran family Sphingidae. These moths are large; they have a wingspan of over 5 inches (12.5 cm) and a large body. These strong fliers beat their wings very quickly (like a hummingbird beats its wings). They also eat in a manner similar to hummingbirds, sipping sweet nectar from flowers while hovering near the flower. In the larval stage, these moths are commonly called hornworms (named for a horn-like structure on their rear) and are agricultural pests.
Butterfly head

HEAD

The head of an insect is the location of its brain, two compound eyes, its proboscis, pharynx (the start of the digestive system), the point of attachment of its two antennae, etc.

HEART

Butterflies and moths have simple, flexible, tube-like heart in the abdomen. It pumps blood through a tube that runs from the abdomen to the head, and eventually into the animal's tissues. Pressure gradients force the blood back to the heart and the process begins again. The blood carries nutrients, but not oxygen (which is carried through a series of spiracles)


HELICONIUS BUTTERFLIES

Heliconius butterflies (Family Heliconiidae) are a family of tropical and neotropical butterflies that are associated with passion vines (Passiflora). Some Heliconius butterflie include the Zebra Longwing and the Postman Butterfly (both pictured above).


Heliconius cydno

Heliconius cydno, also called the Cydno Longwing, is a butterfly found in tropical rainforests of Central and South America. The host plant is passiflora (passion vine). Classification Family Nymphalidae, Subfamily Heliconiinae (Heliconians, Fritillaries), Genus Heliconius (Longwings), Species H. cydno

HEMOCOEL

The hemocoel (also spelled haemocoel) is the cavity found in insects (including butterflies) that contains the hemolymph.

HEMOCYTE

A hemocyte (also spelled haemocyte) is an insect blood cell.

HEMOLYMPH

Hemolymph (also spelled haemolymph) is the circulatory fluid (composed of blood and other fluids) found in invertebrates (including butterflies) that fills the hemocoel.
Goliath Birdwing
HERBIVORE

Herbivores are animals that eat plants. Most butterflies are herbivores.

HETEROTROPH

A heterotroph (or consumer) is a living thing that eats other living things to survive. It cannot make its own food (unlike plants, which are autotrophs). Animals are heterotrophs.


HEWITSON'S BLUE HAIRSTREAK BUTTERFLY

Hewitson's Blue Hairstreak Butterfly (Thecla coronata) is a beautiful light purplish-iridescent blue butterfly. Females have dark wing margins and a brick-red patch on the top of the hindwing. This butterfly is from Mexico and South America (including the Andes mountains). These small butterflies have two tail-like projectiosn on the bottom of the hind wings (the inner projection is much longer then the outer one). The undersides of the wings are dark green with a stripe. Males have reduced forelegs. The caterpillars are slug-like. Classification: Suborder Rhopalocera (butterflies and skippers ), Superfamily Papilionoidea, Family Lycaenidae (Blues, Hairstreaks and Coppers), Subfamily Theclinae , Genus Lycaenid (Thecla), species coronata.


HEXAGON

A hexagon is a regular six-sided figure. The compound eyes of insects have hexagonal-shaped lens.

HIBERNACULUM

A hibernaculum is a leafy structure that is made by some caterpillars when they hibernate (become dormant for period of time during cold weather). The hibernaculum is often made by folding a leaf over and securing it with silk.

HIBERNATION

Hibernation (also called overwintering) is a condition in which an animal is dormant for period of time. Some butterflies and moths hibernate during cold weather.

HILL TOPPING

Hill topping is a behavior seen in some butterflies (like swallowtails) in which butterflies gather at a hilltop (or other high point). This congregating is probably helps the butterflies find mates.


HINDWINGS

Hindwings are the two lower wings of flying insects, like butterflies and moths.

HOLOMETABOLOUS

Holometabolous insects undergo a complete metamorphosis, having distinct larval and pupal stages in the life cycle. Butterflies and moths are holometabolous.

HOLARCTIC

The holarctic is a zoogeographic region that extends from the North Pole to 30-45° latitude. Some holarctic lepidoptera (about 700 butterfly species) include the Monarch, the Zebra Swallowtail, the California Dogface, and the Great Purple Hairstreak, and many more moth species.

HOMEOTHERMIC

Homeothermic animals maintain a constant body temperature. Birds and mammals are homeothermic.

HONEYDEW

Honeydew is a sweet chemical solution that some caterpillars (and other insects, like aphids) secrete in order to attract and feed other insects (like ants).

HOST PLANT

A host plant is a plant upon which an insect lays its eggs. Butterflies and moths have very specific host plants. A few species can vary their host plant with season and geography. The host plant of the Monarch butterfly is milkweed (genus Asclepius). When the larvae hatch, they eat the leaves of the host plant.

HUMMINGBIRD MOTH

Hummingbird moths (also called hawk moths, clearwing hummingbird moths, and sphinx moths) look quite similar to hummingbirds. They belong to the lepidopteran family Sphingidae. Hummingbird moths are large moths; they have a wingspan of over 5 inches (12.5 cm) and a large body. These strong fliers beat their wings very quickly (like a hummingbird beats its wings). They also eat in a manner similar to hummingbirds, sipping sweet nectar from flowers while hovering near the flower. In the larval stage, these moths are commonly called hornworms (named for a horn-like structure on their rear) and are agricultural pests.

HUMUS

Humus is the rich, organic portion of the soil. It is composed of decayed plant and animal materials.
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

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