Glossary

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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caecum specialised portion of the lower / large intestine

calcification process of soil formation characterised by accumulation of calcium in the lower horizons

calcite Mineral consisting of calcium carbonate

calliphoridae the fly family representing the metallic blue and green coloured flies which feed on carcasses

callosities The two patches of thickened, bare (often shiny and colourful) skin on which monkeys sit.

calving rate the rate of juveniles born to a game population per year at the conclusion of all births. It is expressed as a % of the population

camouflage the way that an animal's skin colour and texture blend with the surroundings

canine the tooth immediately posterior to the incisors

cannibalistic the practice of eating members of the same or similar species, e.g. file snakes

capture myopathy an unnatural and life-threatening state; characterised by a variety of seemingly unrelated symptoms caused by various od capture-related factors; significantly stress.

carapace upper portion of a chelonia shell

carbohydrates Various neutral compounds of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, such as sugars, starches, and cellulose, mostly formed by green plants. Cf. proteins.

carcinogen a chemical substance that is linked to causing cancer

carnassial (teeth) the last upper premolar and first lower molar that fit together in a shearing surface. A defining characteristic of carnivores

carnivore meat eater, either predator or scavenger

carrion dead or decaying bodies of animals

carrying capacity (ecological) the number of animal units an area can support

cartilaginous Fish in which the skeleton, including the skull and jaws, consists entirely of cartilage and never, even in the adult stage, comprises bony tissue.

caste (system) a division of labour within a social insect society, i.e. workers, soldiers, guards, nursery workers e.g. termites, ants and certain bee species

catalogue auctions selling game in an auction format, animals are not on display.

catena a soil profile and slope which has developed from a single parent material from crest to valley

ceacum portion of a mammalian colon

cell the smallest unit of living matter

cellulose a form of plant tissue, difficult to digest

cephalization the evolution of an anterior structure that contains a neural network – brain

cephalothorax the fusion of the head and thorax of arachnids

cere referring the soft or wax-like membrane at the base of the upper beak in certain birds, through which the nostrils open.

character convergence evolution of similar appearance or behaviour in unrelated species

character divergence evolution of behavioural, physiological or morphological differences among species occupying the same area, brought about by selective pressure of competition

chelicerae mouth parts of spiders 'fangs'

chelonia reptilian order containing the tortoises, terrapins and turtles, known as shield reptiles.

chemotropism the growth of a plant in response to chemical stimulus

chert Sedimentary rock consisting of very fine- grained quartz (silicon dioxide) formed by chemical precipitation from water

chilopoda centipedes

chitin the tough component of an exoskeleton

chitons the common name for molluscs belonging to the Class: Polyplacophora

chlorophyll a chemical found in the leaves of plants that facilitate photosynthesis and provide leaves with their green colouration

chordata animals with a backbone/spine

chromatophores specialised skin cells the produce different colour pigments

chromite Mineral consisting of an oxide of iron and chromium

cilia Short cell appendages for specialised for locomotion.

ciliated Cells having Cilia. See def. of Cilia

classification any method of arranging living organisms into a systematic order

clastic sedimentary rock Sedimentary rock con- sisting of discrete particles that were moved as separate grains to the site of deposition

climax community a plant community, where no significant change in species composition has taken place within the previous 500 years

cloaca a common orifice for the release of digestive, excretory and reproductive material and waste

clubmosses Group of early land vascular plants with microphylls (primitive leaves) growing in whorls from the stems; they have spores in cone-like structures. Today only herbaceous moss-like clubmosses survive but during the Carboniferous some grew to tree size. Also known as lycophytes, lycopods and formally as Lycopsida

co-evolution Joint evolution of two or more non-interbreeding species where the evolution of one species in the relationship is partially dependent on the evolution of the other.

co-existence two or more species living together in the same habitat, usually with some form of competitive interaction

co-operative breeding a system in which adult animals help to care for young which are not their own.

coal Sedimentary rock consisting mainly of carbon, formed by the accumulation and chemical alteration of plant matter

cobalt Cobalt is a chemical element with symbol Co and atomic number 27. Like nickel, cobalt in the Earth's crust is found only in chemically combined form, save for small deposits found in alloys of natural meteoric iron.

coccidiosis protozoal disease charcaterised by severe diarrhoea in especially captive animals

cochineal A red dye made of the dried and pulverized bodies of female cochineal insects. It is used as a biological stain and as an indicator in acid-base titrations, as well as a general red dye.

cochlear A spiral-shaped cavity of the inner ear that resembles a snail shell and contains nerve endings essential for hearing.

coleoptera the order of insects which includes beetles

colloid tiny particles suspended in a continuous medium

colostrum the first milk, containing antibodies and rich in protein and energy, that a young animal receives from its mother

columbia Supercontinent that may have existed on Earth around 1 800 million years ago

columella the central pillar on which the whorls of a molluscs shell are deposited

comet Large body consisting mainly of ice laced with dust that orbits the Sun in a very eccentric orbit

commensalism a relationship between two species where the relationship is beneficial to one but is neutral or of no benefit to the other

community different populations that live in a common area and affect one another

competition the demand of organisms within a community for the same resources, when this is in short supply

competitive exclusion this hypothesis deals with the issue that when two or more species coexist using the same limited resource, one species must displace or exclude the other

compound eyes the normal eyes of adult insects, consisting of many facets

compound leaf a single leaf that consists of many leaflets

concentrate selector Referring specifically to ruminants that feed selectively on high-protein plants (new leaves or grass, flowers, seeds, etc.).

condensed tannins tannins which form complexes with proteins, thus hindering fermentation and digestion

conglomerate Coarse-grained sedimentary rock consisting of pebbles, cobbles or boulders with sandy material filling the spaces between larger particles

conifers One of the groups of gymnosperms or naked seed plants; e.g. pines, spruces, firs and yellowwoods; all are woody plants, frequently trees, and produce cones

conservation the structured use and planned management of the earth's natural resources

conspecific of the same species

consumer an organism that is unable to synthesize its own food and relies on other organisms for its nutrition.

consumptive use of game hunting and fishing

contact carrier an animal which has not developed symptoms after exposure to a disease, but is a source of infection

contagious behaviour An action that stimulates other animals to follow suit.

continental crust The Earth’s crust beneath continents; consisting mainly of granite and related rocks, it is usually about 35 km thick, but may be thicker beneath mountain ranges

continental drift Theory that continents move with respect to each other

continental shelf The fringes of continents that are submerged below sea level; the edge of the shelf is usually marked by an abrupt increase in slope onto the Continental slope that passes down to the abyssal plain

convalescent carrier an animal that has recovered from clinical symptoms but is still a source of infection

convergent evolution the development of similar characteristics in different species living in different areas but under similar environmental conditions

coppicing the controlled removal of vegetation in response to a habitat management plan

coprophagy ingesting faeces and other waste products

copulation act of mating whereby the male’s sperm is deposited into the females reproductive organs

cordaitales Group of extinct spore-producing plants with long, strap-shaped leaves; probably ancestral to the conifers

core Innermost portion of the Earth, believed to consist of nickel and iron; the inner core is solid and the outer core liquid

corridor disease Theileriosis

corynebacterium a group of bacteria species causing infections through wounds

courtship ritualised activity between male and female conspecifics as a prelude to mating

cratons The stable, ancient cores of continents; usually made up of granodiorites and green- stone belts

crepuscular active at sunrise and sunset

crinoid Member of the group of attached, stalked echinoderms commonly known as sea lilies

cropping the steady removal of a predetermined number of animals over an extended period of time, usually in response to a habitat management plan

cross bedding Stratification (layering) in a sedimentary rock that is inclined to the surface on which the sediment was deposited; formed by the migration of ripples or dunes across the sediment surface

cross-walk Walking gait in which diagonally opposite limbs (forelimb and opposite hindlimb ( move together (cf amble).

croup The rump, especially the part between the hips and tail.

crown the shape made by the upper branches and leaves of a tree

crust Outermost layer of the Earth situated above the Mohoroviˇci´c Discontinuity

crustacean a group of Arthropods having a hard outer shell, are usually aquatic and are gill breathing, e.g. shrimps, crabs etc

cryptic Concealing, inconspicuous, the opposite of revealing, usually referring to coloration and markings.

cud A bolus of partially digested vegetation that a ruminant regurgitates, chews, in-salivates, and swallows again while ruminating.

culling controlling game populations by shooting

cursorial species that wander around in search of prey

cuticle Protective outer layer secreted by the outer skin of plants and arthropods

cyanobacteria Group of micro-organisms capable of oxygen-producing photosynthesis

cycadeoid Group of extinct plants that physically resembles the cycads but differs in the reproductive cycle

cyclone term for a hurricane in the Southern Hemisphere

cynodont Group of advanced mammal-like reptiles (therapsids) from which mammals are considered to have evolved

cynognathus Flesh-eating cynodont mammal-like reptile, which was the size of a large wolf

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

cytauxzoonosis protozoal disease similar to theileriosis, also called East Coast Fever

cytotoxic venom that causes localised tissue damage at the site of envenomation, usually associated with intense pain and marked swelling

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