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Papilio demodocus caterpillar everting its osmeterium to apply its repugnatorial secretion to the finger that has irritated it


Latin repugnatorius


repugnatorial (comparative more repugnatorial, superlative most repugnatorial)

  1. (zoology) Defensive or repulsive, particularly as applied to glands of certain invertebrates, with which they produce poisonous or repugnant secretions when under threat.
    • 1956, S. H. Skaife, African insect life:
      If one of these caterpillars is irritated, it will bend back its head and shoot out a curious forked organ from the segment just behind the head. This osmeterium, as it is called, is yellow and is forced out by muscular action and by the pressure of the blood; at the same time a sickly over-powering odour of lemons is given off — the smell has also been likened to that of rotten pineapples.[1]
    • 1909, Alpheus S. Packard, A Text-Book of Entomology , Macmillan, pages 372-373:
      Certain beetles are endowed with eversible repugnatorial glands. Eleodes gigantea ... of both sexes ... when teased ... stand on their anterior and middle legs, holding the abdomen high up and spurting the contents of the glands right and left ... The liquid stains the human skin, has ... a peculiar, intensely penetrant odor, causing the eye to lachrymate.

Usage notes[edit]

Almost the only natural usage is among zoologists as a technical term in describing particular classes of glands and their defensive secretions, either repellent or actually harmful; [invertebrate] animals such as certain insects produce most of the typical examples. However, secretions of other animals such as skunks also are described as repugnatorial.



  1. ^ Skaife, Sydney Harold. African insect life, second edition revised by John Ledger and Anthony Bannister. publisher C. Struik, Cape Town 1979 →ISBN Invalid ISBN