LANTERN-FLY, the name given to insects belonging to the homopterous division of the Hemiptera, and referable to the genus Fulgora and allied forms. They are mostly of large size, with a superficial resemblance to lepidoptera due to their brilliant and varied coloration. Characteristic of the group is the presence on the front of the head of a hollow process, simulating a snout, which is sometimes inflated and as large as the rest of the insect, sometimes elongated, narrow and apically upturned. It was believed, mainly on the authority of Marie Sibylle de Merian, that this process, the so-called " lantern," was luminous at night. Linnaeus adopted the statement without question and made use of a number of specific names, such as lanternaria, phosphorca, candclaria, etc., to illustrate the supposed fact, and thus aided in disseminating a belief which subsequent observations have failed to establish and which is now generally rejected.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)