Definition of Lepidoptera in English:


plural noun

  • 1An order of insects that comprises the butterflies and moths. They have four large scale-covered wings that bear distinctive markings, and larvae that are caterpillars.

    • ‘The species of insects studied prior to this study were from 11 orders, but the vast majority were from four orders: Lepidoptera, Diptera, Hymenoptera, and Hemiptera.’
    • ‘The insect order Lepidoptera, with as many as 100,000 species, is second only to the Coleoptera, the beetles.’
    • ‘Both of these insects reside in the order Lepidoptera.’
    • ‘Butterflies and moths make up the biological order Lepidoptera.’
    • ‘The most speciose insect orders like the Coleoptera, Diptera and Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) tend to have small genome sizes with very few or no exceptions.’
    1. 1.1 Insects of the order "Lepidoptera"
      ‘the larvae of a number of lepidoptera feed on the leaves’
      • ‘Small flowers and red petals suggest pollination by small diptera or lepidoptera, but the flowers do not appear to produce nectar.’
      • ‘Spying it on a map, I imagined meadows full of pretty winged lepidoptera.’
      • ‘Defoliation by lepidoptera can induce cyanogenesis in some plants resulting in cyanide levels high enough to kill cattle.’
      • ‘Anyone interested in lepidoptera, entomology, natural history, and probably even art and photography will enjoy the photographs.’
      • ‘There's already an impressive count of spiders and beetles and bees and wasps, not to mention a whole sub-section of the local lepidoptera.’


Modern Latin (plural), from Greek lepis, lepid- ‘scale’ + pteron ‘wing’.