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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ecdysis emergence from a cocoon or pupa.

echidna an egg-laying insectivorous mammal of the genus Tachyglossus or Zaglossus, native to Australia and New Guinea, with a covering of spines, a long snout, and long claws.

echinodermata Group of marine invertebrates that have a five-fold body symmetry, members of which develop armour in the form of hard shells and spines (the group name means spiny skins); includes such familiar forms as starfish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and sea lilies

echinoid Member of the group of marine invertebrates known as the Echinodermata, which bears an external shell and an armour of moveable spikes; includes the familiar forms known as sea urchins, sand dollars and pansy shells

echo-location used by bats; the sending and receiving of ultra high frequency sound emissions to determine the exact location of an object or organism

ecological capacity The ability of vegetation to support animals and maintain them in a healthy and reproductive state, without the deterioration of the vegetation in the long-term

ecological index method a method used to determine the veld condition of an area, using the ecological status of grasses

ecological niche that portion of habitat that a specific species has become uniquely adapted to.

ecological status class classification of grasses based on their reaction to grazing pressure.

ecology the study of the inter-relationships between all organisms and their environment

ecosystem a definable ecological area in nature, consisting of all living and non-living components

ecotone a boundary between two plant communities of a major rank

ecotourism the purposeful travel to a specific location with the aim of experiencing natural phenomena and local culture

ecozone an area with a similar geology, rainfall, land shape and therefore its own unique combination of plants and animals

ectoparasites a parasite that lives on the outside of an organism

ectothermy a state of being dependent on the environmental temperature for body heating. These organisms exercise thermoregulation to keep their temperature at the optimum level

edaphic factors relating to soil

edentates the Order of mammals representing the sloths, armadillos and anteaters

edge species Species that prefer the ecotone between different habitats (e.g., impala, waterbuck, sable, roan).

ediacaran fauna Late Precambrian multicellular animals constituting earliest macroscopic fauna

effluent a substance that flows out, e.g. pollution or waste materials into rivers or seas

egestion the elimination of undigested food material through the mouth

eia Environmental Impact Assessment See Module # 11

eluviation the movement of soil material from one horizon to another

endangered under threat of becoming extinct

endemic an animal or plant particular to a given area

endoparasite a parasite that lives inside an organism

endoskeleton a skeleton situated interior to the muscles, e.g. all vertebrates

endothermy the regulation of internal body temperature independent of the external temperature

energy flow the flux of energy originating with the process of photosynthesis from sunlight through to plants, herbivores, etc

energy method a technique used to determine grazing capacity

entomology the study of insects

envenomation the transmission of venom into an organism, usually through the venomous animals bite or sting

environment the external conditions (soil, water, air, etc) and other organisms surrounding a living thing

environmental audit the assessment of how well an environmental body is performing at its allotted task

epicuticle The outermost layer of cuticle of an arthropod exoskeleton, composed mostly of wax.

epidemiology The study of a disease as it progresses through a population

epidermis the outer most layer of an organism

epiphragm a mucous layer secreted by the pedal glands of terrestrial Molluscs, covering its foot and shell opening, preventing desiccation

epiphyte plants that grow while attached to another species of plant in order to gain a more beneficial position, e.g. tree orchids

epoch a very long segment of time

equatorial Geographical region of the equator (cf tropical).

equilibrium species a species whose population exists in equilibrium with the resources and at a stable density

erectile Capable of erection, e.g. hair, which fear and anger cause to bristle, making the animal look bigger.

erosion an ongoing natural process caused by weathering, transporting and depositing of the earth's surface by wind, water, other natural forces or human and animal influence

escarpment the Eastern Transvaal escarpment is the steep break between the Highveld and the Lowveld

esophagus food pipe. The structure that directs food from the mouth to the stomach

estimation method a technique used to determine grazin capacity

estrus see oestrus

estuary the location where a river flows into the ocean and the segment of that river that is affected by the ocean, in terms of tidal and saline influence

ethology the study of animal behaviour

etiolated the loss of chlorophyll from a plant due to it being blocked from the sun for a prolonged period Grass yellowing = etiolated grass

eubacteria Primitive form of bacteria

eukaryote Eukaryotic: A single-celled or multicellular organism whose cells contain a distinct membrane-bound nucleus. A 'true' cell. Also see Prokaryotic.

eukaryote (2) Organisms whose cells have a complex structure, including a nucleus and organelles

eusocial a social group in which members are fully integrated and cooperate in caring for young.

eutrophic a term applied to a body of water with a high nutrient content and high productivity

evapotranspiration the amount of water lost via evaporation and transpiration from an area

evergreen a plant that does not shed its leaves with a change of season

evolution a theory which maintains that organisms have their origin in previously existing forms

exfoliation the removal of a surface layer from an object or organism

exoskeleton the hard outer shell of an insect or other invertebrate

exotic not indigenous, introduced from abroad

extant not extinct, still living

extinction the dying out of a species

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