Word of the Week (181): SCROBE (probability 9376), by David Sutton

A SCROBE is a groove on an insect's body for the reception or concealment of a limb or other appendage.

Since the need to know the vocabulary of invertebrate anatomy seldom arises in everyday life, there are many other such terms that may well be unfamiliar to most of us. The COXA (plural COXAE) is the first joint of the leg of an insect or crustacean. A PROLEG is an insect larva's abdominal leg. A FUNICLE is a section of an insect's antenna. A FENESTRA (from the Latin word for window) is a transparent spot on an insect's wing: this has plural FENESTRAE or FENESTRAS. The CLYPEUS (plural CLYPEI) is the frontal plate of the head of an insect. An ELYTRUM or ELYTRON refers to the horny forewings of a coleopterous insect, which form protective sheaths for the hindwings: the plural of both is ELYTRA, and there are adjectives ELYTROUS, ELYTROID and ELYTRAL.

A FURCA (plural FURCAE) is any forklike structure in an insect; the adjective is FURCAL. An ANTLIA (plural ANTLIAE) is the suctorial proboscis of certain insects. A HALTERE is the rudimentary hindwing of a fly: this takes its name from a Greek word for a kind of dumbbell that jumpers used to get more distance.

That's probably enough about insect anatomy for one session, but you might like to impress apiarists by knowing the word CORBICULA (plural CORBICULAE), the proper term for a bee's pollen basket, consisting of the dilated posterior tibia with its fringe of long hairs.


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