Glossary

Basic beetle morphology (Joy, 1932)

  • Acidic - In the context of this website a soil or other substrate with a PH less than seven; usually around 5.5 or less, they often produce open heath or wetland situations and are known to mobilize metals and so reduce the populations of beneficial microbia, they are often associated with soil degradation. Acidic soils often host characteristic fauna and flora, peat bogs are a good example of this.

  • Adventive - Refers to a species that is introduced into a new area but is not fully naturalized e.g. restricted to a particular habitat or synanthropic.

  • Afrotropical region - A zoogeographical region including Africa south of the Sahara Desert, southern parts of the Arabian Peninsula and Madagascar, it is still widely referred to as the Ethiopian region or Ethiopian Zone. Madagascar is often considered to be a distinct region.

  • Allopatric - Populations or species occurring in distinct and non-overlapping geographical areas.

  • Anthophagous - Feeding on flowers.

  • Aphidophagous - Feeding on aphids.

  • Australasian region - A zoogeographical region including Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, the eastern part of the Indonesian archipelago and various other islands.

  • Biotope - An area of similar environmental or ecological conditions, these may be on a macro or micro scale and are often used interchangeably with habitat.

  • Bivoltine - Having two broods each year.

  • Calcareous - In the context of this website meaning a substrate with a substantial amount of calcium carbonate, i.e. containing lime or chalk and (usually) having a basic pH (>7 although strongly alkaline soils at >9 are rare). Calcareous grassland etc. usually hosts many specific types of animals and plants.

  • Carr - Wetlands with a substantial cover of trees or shrubs; usually a waterlogged area in a successional stage between reeds or marsh etc. and woodland.

  • Coccidophagous - Feeding on scale insects.

  • Coprophagous - Refers to a dung-feeding species.

  • Crepuscular - Active at twilight, evening and dawn.

  • Detritivore - A species that feeds on dead organic material.

  • Diurnal - Active by day.

  • Eurytopic - Refers to a species that is able to adapt to a range of conditions and so may occur in a wide range of environments.

  • Form - A term sometimes used to refer to a particular morphological variation within a species, usually applied to forms that appear distinct but are actually a part of the natural variation. These are sometimes italicized, they may have authorship and may even be appended to valid scientific names but they have no taxonomic value or significance.

  • Fungivore - Refers to a species that consumes fungi, also broadly referred to as mycophagous.

  • Habitat - Often used loosely to refer to a particular area as woodland or grassland etc., more precisely it is species-specific and includes factors such as soil type, vegetation and environmental factors such as moisture, light and temperature. Individual factors such as vegetation assemblages are more appropriately referred to as habitat-types.

  • Habitus - A picture or drawing showing the physical characteristics of a whole insect.

  • Halobiont - An organism that lives in a salty environment.

  • Hygrophilic - Occupying or preferring moist habitats.

  • Hypognathous - Refers to the orientation of the head; here with clypeus and frons facing forward and mouthparts directed down.

  • Monophagous - Refers to a species that feeds on only one type of food, in the context of beetles usually referring to a species restricted to a single host species.

  • Multivoltine - Having more than two broods of offspring each year.

  • Mycophagous - Feeding on fungi.

  • Nearctic region - A zoogeographical region including the United States, Canada, Greenland and parts of Mexico.

  • Neotropical region - A zoogeographical region extending from southern parts of Mexico to the subantarctic zone of South America.

  • Nocturnal - Active by night.

  • Oligophagous - In the context of beetles usually referring to a species with a narrow range of host plants, these often occur within the same plant family e.g. ‘ Psylliodes is oligophagous on various Solonaceae’.

  • Oriental region - Also widely referred to as the Indomalayan region or realm, includes the Indian subcontinent and extends east to China and much of southeast Asia south to Borneo, Java and Bali. The northern part of this region is often referred to as the Sino – Japanese region.

  • Palaearctic region - A wide area including Eurasia north of the Himalayas and China, Japan and North Africa, and is the largest of the generally accepted zoogeographical regions. Northern Africa is often referred to as the Saharo – Arabian region.

  • Phenology - The study of the timing of biological life cycles and how these are influenced by environmental factors.

  • Phloem - The outer ‘sapwood’ which contains vessels for moving nutrients and photosynthetic products around the system.

  • Phylogenetic - Refers to the evolutionary relationships between species or groups of species.

  • Phytophagous - Generally refers to species that feed on green plants, often used in the context of leaf-feeders but includes species that attack buds, shoots, stems, flowers, fruits and roots.

  • Polyphagous - An organism feeding on many types of food, in the context of beetles usually used in reference to phytophagous species regarding the range of host plants.

  • Prognathous - Refers to the orientation of the head; here with the clypeus and frons near horizontal and the mouthparts directed forward.

  • Saprophagous - Feeding on decaying organic matter.

  • Semivoltine - Species that develop over several years.

  • Sporophore - The spore-bearing part of a fungus, more generally referred to as the fruiting body.

  • Stenotopic - Refers to a species that can tolerate or adapt to only a narrow range of environmental conditions.

  • Sympatric - Refers to geographically overlapping populations or species.

  • Synanthropic - A species that lives near to, and benefits from, human habitation or artificial habitats.

  • Systematics - The study of biological diversity and the relationships of living things both extant and through their evolutionary past.

  • Taxonomy - In biology this refers to the process  of naming and classifying species based on shared characteristics and with respect to the established system in current use. See systematics.

  • Troglodyte - Species that are restricted to underground habitats such as caves.

  • Trogloxene - Also known as cave guests, these are species that occur, sometimes periodically, in underground habitats or caves but do not live exclusively in such habitats.

  • Univoltine - Having a single brood of offspring each year.

  • Volatiles - Here used to refer to chemicals that are readily vaporized at normal environmental temperatures, for coleopterists a useful way to refer to products of decomposition that attract beetles to dung, carrion or decaying fungi etc.

  • Xerophile or Xerophilic - In our context refers to an organism adapted to survive with very low levels of water.

  • Xerothermic - Relating to hot and dry situations, used for habitats, climate or species etc.

  • Xylem - The inner woody part of a tree, responsible for structural rigidity and transporting water and nutrients through the system.

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