Back to: Projects

HOSTS - a Database of the World's Lepidopteran Hostplants

Help and further information

This is a research database aimed at professional entomologists and ecologists, the agriculture, biocontrol, forestry, and conservation sectors, and non-professional naturalists.

To use this site you should understand Scientific name(s) of insect(s) or plant(s) that you wish to retrieve information on. An understanding of family group names may also be an advantage.

Tips for searching the database

Use the scientific name of the butterfly or moth (or plant) that you want to look up ("Danaus plexippus", not "Monarch"; "Arachis hypogaea", not "groundnut" or "peanut").

Use the "begins with" option and omit the last two or three letters of the species name. Sometimes species names may be altered to agree in gender with the generic name and usage is frequently inconsistent; certain checklists, for example, use the author's original spelling (as does this database) but others use altered species-name terminations (e.g., "Ateliotum syriaca", alternatively "Ateliotum syriacum").

If in doubt, search also using the drill-down search, starting by selecting the family or genus. The page will refresh to give all included genera or species-group names, which you may then select.

You may not get an answer: the database contains hostplant records for only about 15% of the world's named Lepidoptera. The hostplants of the caterpillars of the majority of the world's moth and butterfly species are not known.