Glossary

Abdomen

The third body part of an adult butterfly.

Alkaline

Non-acidic soils with alkaline salts.

Alpine

The region above treeline in mountains.

Anal margin

The area of a butterfly's hindwing along the inner margin adjacent to the body.

Androconial scales

Specialized scales on a butterfly wing that produce scent for courtship and mating; often visible as a black or grey patch on the forewings of a male.

Antenna(e)

The clubbed sensory organ found in pairs on the head of a butterfly.

Apex

The tip of a butterfly's forewing.

Arctic

The region of the world found north of treeline.

Basal

The part of a butterfly's wing close to the body.

Biennial

Occurring in two-year cycles.

Bog

Wetland with acidic soil, often with clumps of spruce, larch, or cedar and with sphagnum moss.

Boreal

The northern, humid coniferous forest region of North America.

Brackish

The condition of water where saltwater and freshwater meet.

Cell

A wing area enclosed by veins.

Chrysalis

The third stage of a butterfly's life cycle in which it develops in a hard case into an adult. Usually called a pupa.

Circumpolar

Distributed around the northern regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

Cline

A gradual change over a wide geographic range in a species' appearance (size, colour, markings, etc.).

Concave

With an inward curve.

Convex

With an outward curve.

Costa

The forward edge of a butterfly's wing.

Costal fold

The margin of the costal area that contains scent scales in some butterflies.

Cremaster

The hooks at the end of the chrysalis.

Diapause

The state of arrested development in the immature stages of insects during which they pass unfavourable seasons for growth.

Dicotyledon

The majority of flowering plants in which the leaf veins are typically branched.

Dimorphic

A butterfly having two different forms of the sexes or two forms of one sex. See also polymorphic.

Disjunct

The range of a species broken into two or more geographically separate populations.

Dorsal

The upper surface of a wing or body.

Endemeic

Distribution limited to a specified area.

Estivate

Spend the summer in an inactive state.

Extinct

No individuals of a species survive.

Extirpated

No individuals of a species survive in a given area where it formerly occurred.

Falcate

With the tip of the forewing hooked.

Fell-field

An arctic habitat dominated by boulders with low vegetation such as lichens, mosses, grasses, and dwarf wildflowers.

Forewings

The forward pair of wings.

Genitalia

The sex organs of a butterfly.

Gravid

When female butterflies carry eggs.

Gynandromorph

A butterfly with characteristics of both sexes.

Haustellum

The coiled tongue of a butterfly used to sip up liquids, including nectar; sometimes called a proboscis.

Hibernation

Overwintering in an inactive state.

Hindwings

The rear pair of wings.

Holarctic

The Northern Hemisphere zoogeographic regions, combining Eurasia and North America to the temperate regions.

Holotype

A specimen from the type series designated to represent the identity of a species.

Inner margin

The hind edge of a forewing.

Instars

The stages of growth of a caterpillar between moults.

Introduced

Not native to a region.

Larva

The second stage of a butterfly's life cycle; the caterpillar.

Local

Found in small colonies or restricted to a very specific habitat.

Lunule

A crescent-shaped mark.

Marginal

The outer edge of the wings.

Maritime

Bordering the sea; in Canada, the east coast provinces of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.

Marsh

A wetland with standing water, grasses, rushes, or sedges.

Median

The middle portion of a butterfly's wing.

Melanic

A dark or blackish form of a species.

Migrant

A butterfly that makes regular long-distance flights.

Moulting

When a caterpillar sheds its skin.

Monocotyledon

A flowering plant whose leaf veins are unbranched, typically grasses, sedges, lilies, and orchids.

Nearctic

The zoogeographic region that includes Canada, the United States, Greenland, and most of Mexico.

Nectar

The liquid produced by flowers to attract insects.

Nunatak

A mountain peak completely surrounded by glacial ice.

Osmeterium

The fleshy organs protruded by swallowtail caterpillars that produce a strong odour.

Oviposit

A female laying eggs.

Patrolling

Male butterflies flying in a specific territory to find mates or drive away rival males.

Perching

Male butterflies on an object awaiting passing females or rival males.

Polymorphic

A species having several forms.

Proboscis

The coiled tongue of a butterfly used to sip up liquids, including nectar; technically called a haustellum.

Pupa

The third life stage of a butterfly in which caterpillars transform to adults.

Relict

A population left behind far from the main range of a species, particularly during a glacial period.

Scales

The shingle-like plates covering the wings of a butterfly that give it its colour and pattern.

Scree

A rock pile in the mountains at the base of a cliff or slope.

Segment

The ring-like units of a structure; e.g., segments of a caterpillar's body, segments of the antenna, etc.

Sibling species

Two closely related, similar-looking species, but often with ecological and behavioural differences.

Sphragis

A waxy pouch left by a male Parnassian butterfly on the abdominal tip of a female to prevent further mating.

Spiracles

The breathing holes on the sides of a caterpillar or butterfly.

Stigma

Specialized scent scales on the forewings of some skippers and hairstreaks.

Subapical

The part of the forewing inward from the tip.

Subarctic

The region of the country at or near treeline.

Subdorsal

The marks on each side of the back of a caterpillar, between the middle of the back (middorsal) and the side (lateral).

Submarginal

The area of the wing near but not at the wing margin.

Taiga

The coniferous forest zone lying south of the arctic tundra.

Tarsal claws

The pair of claws at the tip of a butterfly's leg.

Thorax

The middle section of a butterfly's body to which the wings and legs are attached.

Translucent

Transmits light, but is not transparent. Treeline The northern limit (or elevation in mountains) where trees can grow.

Tubercle

A bump on a caterpillar's body.

Tundra

An arctic environment above treeline with stunted vegetation.

Type locality

The collecting locality of the type specimen.

Type series

The original set of specimens on which the description of a species is based.

Type species

The species upon which a genus is based (a genus may contain many species but only one designated species is its type species).

Type specimen(s)

The original specimen(s) on which the description of a species is based.

Ultraviolet

Invisible rays of the light spectrum, beyond visible light, that show up in ultraviolet photographs.

Venation

The vein pattern in the wings of butterflies.

Ventral

The lower surface of the wings or body.

Reproduced with permission from The Butterflies of Canada by Ross A. Layberry, Peter W. Hall, and J. Donald Lafontaine. University of Toronto Press; 1998. Specimen photos courtesy of John T. Fowler.