This glossary is a FREE SERVICE to assist the student and enthusiast alike to get a better understanding of scientific terms, wildlife industry jargon and ecological concepts.
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babesiosis a protozoal disease transmitted by ticks and which infects the red-blood cells of animals, causing fever and anaemia.

bachelor group or herd An all-male social group.

back burn a fire that is lit so that it burns into the wind, and therefore burns slowly. These fires are very hot and destructive. Also knownn as a Hot Burn

bacteria simple microscopic organisms that live in soil, water, organic matter, or in the bodies of plants and animals

baculum an elongated body structure found in the penises of all carnivores except Family Hyaenidae. Purpose is to prolong copulation

banded iron formation Sedimentary rock consisting of alternating layers of fine, white quartz (silicon dioxide) and black and red oxides of iron

baobab A very large and very long-lived tree indigenous to Africa. Scientific name: Adansonia digitata. This tree is thoroughly examined in the WildlifeCampus Botany Module. It is also the WLC logo.

barbicules tiny hooks that assist in keeping birds feathers together

barbs hooks that assist in keeping birds feathers together. Assisted by barbicules

basalt Fine-grained igneous rock (volcanic) consisting of plagioclase (calcium aluminium silicate) and pyroxene (calcium, magnesium, iron silicate)

basement Rocks, usually granite or related rocks, that lie beneath the oldest layered rocks (usually sedimentary) in a region

basin Local depression in the earth’s surface

batesian mimicry when an non-harmful organism mimics a harmful organism E.g. a hover fly that looks very similar to a honey bee

batholith Large body (greater than 100 square km's) of intrusive igneous rock

becvol Biomass Estimates from Canopy Volume: a computer program used to calculate the amount of browse available to animals

bees social world Bees in society and the environment

behavioural (social) hierarchical order in a population that gives ranking individuals priority of access to essential requirements

benchmark a reference site subjectively chosen to represent a veld in excellent condition

benthic relating to organisms inhabiting the bottom of a body or water

besnoitiosis "elephant skin disease" a protozoal disease causing skin deformations in cattle, wildlife tend to be carriers

biennials plants that have a two - year life cycle

big "5" Elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, rhinoceros. No distinction is made between the white and black rhino species. The term was coined by the hunting fraternity. Refers to an area containing the species.

bilateral symmetry the symmetrical arrangement of a body so that only one plane of dissection will result in two mirror image halves

biltong dried and seasoned meat. Known as 'jerky'

binocular vision The visual field within view of both eyes; the frontally placed eyes of cats and primates have most overlap and best depth perception.

biodiversity describing the diversity of living organisms within a defined community or location, with reference to their numbers

biogeography the study of the geographical distribution of organisms, both past and present

bioherm Mound-like or reef-like structure at sea built up by marine organisms (e.g. algae, corals)

biology the study of living things

biomass the total weight of all the organisms in an ecosystem or in a portion of it

biome A region or set of regions having characteristic climatic or geographical conditions which determine a specific species composition. e.g. savanna, forest, grassland.

biosphere the entire living component of the planet; it covers almost all the earth and the atmosphere

biosphere (2) Thin envelope around the earth, at or near its surface, in which life can exist

biotic Biotic describes a living or once living component of a community; for example organisms, such as plants and animals

biotic factors that part of the total environment of an organism which is formed by its interrelationships with other organisms

bipedal walking on two legs

biuret a non-protein nitrogen source included in licks as a protein supplement

blastoid Extinct members of the group of marine invertebrates known as the Echinodermata, which had an external shell

blastular embryo Hollow ball of cells formed in the early stages of the development of Metazoan animals

bloat a condition whereby gases caused by ruminating become trapped inside an animal, and the animals begins to swell. The condition may lead to death

block burning a burning programme whereby a fixed pattern of different blocks of vegetation are burnt on a regular basis.

blousuurvergiftiging prussic acid poisoning

bog a wetland ecosystem characterised by the accumulation of peat, acid conditions, and the dominance of sphagnum moss

bolsters humps placed at angles in roads to prevent water from collecting on the road surface

boma an enclosure

bond pair strongly attached male and female life partners, found in many bird and mammal species

bone meal crushed bone, used in supplementary feeding

booklung A sacculate respiratory organ found in some arachnids, such as scorpions and spiders, consisting of several parallel membranous folds arranged like the pages in a book.

boreal forest needle-leafed evergreen or coniferous forest bordering sub-polar regions; also called Taiga

boss the thickened central portion of the horns of ungulate species

botulism a bacterial disease charcaterised by progressive paralysis

bovid Member of the family Bovidae, the hollow-horned ruminants.

bovine malignant catarrhal fever a viral disease causing nasal discharge and frequently death. Wildebeest tend to be carriers of the disease

brachiopod Member of the group of two-shelled marine invertebrates commonly known as lamp shells, in which the two shells or valves are of unequal sizes; superficially similar in appearance to mussels (which are molluscs)

bract A modified, usually reduced leaflike structure, normally associated with a flower or reproductive part of a plant

braided river River with a complex pattern of channels that diverge and rejoin, separated by sand or gravel bars; they form in cases where rivers are supplied with more sediment than they can effectively transport

breccia Rock consisting of angular fragments set in a matrix of finer material

breeding the generating, bearing and raising of offspring

brindled Flecked or streaked appearance of the pelt due to light and dark banding of the individual hairs.

bristling Erection of the hair, thereby making an animal appear bigger.

browse The edible leaves of trees and shrubs

browse unit a kudu weighing 140 kg that only eats leaves (browse)

browser any animal that eats predominantly browse material

browser unit (bu) a unit of measure used to equate all browsers. Defined as a kudu of 140 kg which browses exclusively

brucellosis a bacterial disease which causes animals to suffer abortions

bryophyte a group of non-vascular plants e.g. moss and liverworts

bulk feeder / grazer an animal that consumes a large amount of grass and does so without selecting specific species

bulk grazer a grazing animal that is non-selective regarding species and length of grass grazed

bush encroachment an increase in shrub, thicket or tree growth to the detriment of valuable grazing areas. Thus may be caused by overgrazing

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