Strange Animals Glossary

Below you will find a short explanation for some of the scientific terms that have appeared on the strange animals site:

Abyssal gigantism or deep-sea gigantism: The tendency for species of invertebrates and other deep-sea dwelling animals to display a larger size than their shallower-water relatives. Examples include the Colossal Squid and the Giant Isopod.

Ambush predators: Ambush predators or sit-and-wait predators are carnivorous animals or other organisms, such as some nematophagous fungi and carnivorous plants that capture or trap prey by stealth or by strategy. Example, Goblin Shark

Aposematism: Aposematism (from Greek ἀπό apo away, σ̑ημα sema sign, coined by Edward Bagnall Poulton), perhaps most commonly known in the context of warning coloration, describes a family of antipredator adaptations where a warning signal is associated with the unprofitability of a prey item to potential predators. Examples, Yellow boxfish and the Stinging Rose Moth Caterpillar.

Arboreal: Living or relating to trees

Bathydemersal: A demersed fish living and/or feeding underwater below 200 meters (650 feet)

Benthic zone: The benthic zone is the ecological region at the lowest level of a body of water such as an ocean or a lake, including the sediment surface and some sub-surface layers. Organisms living in this zone are called benthos, e.g. the benthic invertebrate community, including crustaceans and polychaetes.

Blubber: The fat of sea mammals, especially whales and seals. Example, narwhals.

Calcars(for bats): The calcar, also known as the calcaneum, is the name given to a spur of cartilage arising from inner side of ankle and running along part of outer interfemoral membrane in bats, this is to help spread the interfemoral membrane, which is part of the wing membrane between the tail and the hind legs. Example, Bumblebee.

A picture illustrating the location of the calcar on a bat.

Carapace: The hard upper shell of a tortoise, crustacean, or arachnid.

Chelipeds: One of the pair of legs that bears the large chelae in decapod crustaceans. Example, japanese spider crab.

Cloud forest: A moist tropical or subtropical forest that is characterized by persistent low-level cloud.

Counter-shading camouflage: Countershading, or Thayer's Law, is a form of camouflage. Countershading is the pattern of animal coloration in which an animal’s pigmentation is darker on the upper side and lighter on the underside of the body. This pattern is found in many species of mammals, reptiles, birds, and fish, and has existed since at least the Cretaceous period.

Disjunct Distribution: In biology, a taxon with a disjunct distribution is one that has two or more groups that are related but widely separated from each other geographically. The causes are varied and might demonstrate either the expansion or contraction of a species range.

Diurnal: Occurring or active during the daytime rather than at night: diurnal animals.

Dorid Nudibranchs: Doridoidea, commonly known as dorid nudibranchs (and previously known as the taxon Cryptobranchia), are a taxonomic superfamily of medium to large, shell-less sea slugs, marine gastropod mollusks in the clade Doridacea, included in the clade Nudibranchia. The word "Doridoidea" comes from the generic name Doris, which was in turn copied from the name of the sea nymph, Doris, in Greek mythology.

Endagered species: An endangered (EN) species is one which has been categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as likely to become extinct. Conservation biologists use the IUCN Red List, where "endangered" is the second most severe conservation status for wild populations, following critically endangered.

Entomopathogenic fungus: An entomopathogenic fungus is a fungus that can act as a parasite of insects and kills or seriously disables them. Example, Cordyceps unilateralis.

Extant: Still in existence; surviving.

Fossorial: (of an animal) burrowing, (of limbs) adapted for use in burrowing.

Fry: Small fish, especially young, recently hatched fish.

Ocean Sunfish Fry

Gill rakers: Gill rakers in fish are bony or cartilaginous processes that project from the branchial arch (gill arch) and are involved with suspension feeding tiny prey. Not to be confused with the gill filaments that compose the bony part of the gill. Rakers are usually present in two rows, projecting from both the anterior and posterior side of each gill arch.

Herbivore: An animal that feeds on plants.

Holotype: a single type specimen upon which the description and name of a new species is based.

Hyperparasite: A parasite whose host is itself a parasite.

IUCN: The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. UCN's mission is to "influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.”

Larvae: The active immature form of an insect, especially one that differs greatly from the adult and forms the stage between egg and pupa, e.g. a caterpillar or grub. Alternatively, an immature form of other animals that undergo some metamorphosis, e.g. a tadpole.

Megafauna: the large mammals of a particular region, habitat, or geological period.

Monotremes: Monotremes (from the Greek μονός monos "single" + τρῆμα trema "hole", referring to the cloaca) are mammals that lay eggs. The only extant representatives are platypus and echidna.

Mutualistic relationship: A mutualistic relationship is when two organisms of different species "work together," each benefiting from the relationship. One example of a mutualistic relationship is that of the oxpecker (a kind of bird) and the rhinoceros or zebra.

Mycelia: The vegetative part of a fungus, consisting of a network of fine white filaments (hyphae).

Myrmecophagous: Feding primarily or exclusively on ants. Example, thorny lizard.

Müllerian mimicry: Müllerian mimicry is a natural phenomenon in which two or more poisonous or venemous species, that may or may not be closely related and share one or more common predators, have come to mimic each other's warning signals.

Neoteny: The sexual maturity of an animal while it is still in a mainly larval state, as in the axolotl.

Nictitating membrane: A whitish or translucent membrane that forms an inner eyelid in birds, reptiles, and some mammals. It can be drawn across the eye to protect it from dust and keep it moist.

Oceanodromous: Pertaining to organisms in the ocean that migrate to other parts of the ocean, unlike the likes of salmon who migrate into freshwater environments to spawn. Example, the king of herrings.

Omnivorous: An animal feeding on a variety of food of both plant and animal origin.

Oophagy: Oophagy (/oʊˈɒfədʒi/ oh-off-ə-jee) sometimes ovophagy, literally "egg eating", is the practice of embryos feeding on eggs produced by the ovary while still inside the mother's uterus. Oophagy is thought to occur in all sharks in the order Lamniformes and has been recorded in the bigeye thresher (Alopias superciliosus), the pelagic thresher (A. pelagicus), the shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) and the porbeagle (Lamna nasus) among others.

Paratype: Paratype is a technical term used in the scientific naming of species and other taxa of organisms. The exact meaning of the term paratype when it is used in zoology is not the same as the meaning when it is used in botany. Nevertheless, the term is used in conjunction with another term, holotype. The term refers to type material, an actual specimen or specimens of the organism in question on deposit, usually in a museum research collection, in order to help define what the taxon actually represents. Often there is more than one paratype, although there can be only one holotype.

Pleistocene: The Pleistocene /ˈplaɪstɵsiːn/ (symbol PS[1]) is the geological epoch which lasted from about 2,588,000 to 11,700 years ago, spanning the world's recent period of repeated glaciations.

Plepod: a forked swimming limb of a crustacean, five pairs of which are typically attached to the abdomen.

Pollex: The innermost digit of a forelimb, especially the thumb in primates.

Prototheria: Prototheria (from Greek πρώτος, prōtos, first, + θήρ, thēr, wild animal) is a taxonomic group, or taxon, to which the order Monotremata belongs. It is conventionally ranked as a subclass within the mammals.

Puggle: A baby monotreme

Quadrupedalism: Quadrupedalism or pronograde posture is a form of terrestrial locomotion in animals using four limbs or legs. An animal or machine that usually moves in a quadrupedal manner is known as a quadruped, meaning "four feet" (from the Latin quad for "four" and ped for "foot").

Rattails: Grenadiers or rattails (less commonly whiptails) are generally large, brown to black gadiform marine fish of the family Macrouridae. Found at great depths from the Arctic to Antarctic, members of this family were amongst the most abundant of the deep-sea fish. Example, the giant grenadier.

Seamounts: a submarine mountain.

Semideciduous: Semi-deciduous is a botanical term which refers to plants that lose their foliage for a very short period, when old leaves fall off and new foliage growth is starting.

Sexual dismorphism: Sexual dimorphism is a phenotypic difference between males and females of the same species. The prototypical example is for differences in characteristics of reproductive organs. Other possible examples are for secondary sex characteristics, body size and morphology, ornamentation and behavior.

Shark Basihyal: A shark's tongue is called a basihyal

Stridulation: Stridulation is the act of producing sound by rubbing together certain body parts. This behavior is mostly associated with insects, but other animals like the Lowland Streaked Tenrec are known to do this as well.

Swim or gas bladder: A gas-filled sac present in the body of many bony fishes, used to maintain and control buoyancy.

Teleost: A fish of a large group that comprises all ray-finned fishes apart from the primitive bichirs, sturgeons, paddlefishes, freshwater garfishes, and bowfins.

Type specimen: The specimen, or each of a set of specimens, on which the description and name of a new species is based.

Vertebrates: Vertebrates are animals that are members of the subphylum Vertebrata /-ɑː/ (chordates with backbones). Vertebrates represent the overwhelming majority of the phylum Chordata, with currently about 64,000 species described.

Some vertebrates

Vestigial structures (of an organ or part of the body): Degenerate, rudimentary, or atrophied, having become functionless in the course of evolution. Example, the back legs of the.mexican mole lizard

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