They have a tubular proboscis, or haustellum, formed by the two slender maxillae. The labial palpi are usually large, and the proboscis, when not in use, can be coiled up spirally between them. The mandibles are rudimentary. The larvae, called caterpillars, are often brightly coloured, and they commonly feed on leaves. The adults feed chiefly on the honey of flowers.
Origin: NL, fr. Gr, a scale + a feather, wind.
(01 Mar 1998)
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