Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An eversible organ behind the head of certain caterpillars, containing strong-smelling chemicals that deter predators.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In entomology, any organ devoted to the production of a scent or odor; specifically, a forked process found on the first segment behind the head of certain butterfly-larvæ.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun zoology One of a pair of scent organs in the larvae of certain swallowtail butterflies.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[New Latin osmētērium, from Greek osmē, smell.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

New Latin, from Ancient Greek ὀσμή (osmē, "smell"), ὀσμητός (osmētos, "smelled").

Examples

  • Not only do the earliest books that I can find spell it "osmeterium", but the Greek root is "osme".}

    Explanation of Terms Used in Entomology

  • The Black Swallowtail Caterpillar has an orange “forked gland”, called the osmeterium.

    Whoa Nellie!* « Fairegarden

  • As with other swallowtails, these caterpillars 'posses a bright reddish orange, y-shaped gland called an osmeterium, which contains a mixture of highly noxious chemicals that smell like rancid butter.

    Museum Blogs

  • I didn’t know about the osmeterium — kinda freaky!

    Whoa Nellie!* « Fairegarden

  • When in danger the osmeterium, which looks like a snake’s tongue, everts and releases a foul smell to repel predators.

    Whoa Nellie!* « Fairegarden

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