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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habitat the kind of place in relation to vegetation and climate in which a given species of animal lives. Generally a localised area

hadean era Geological period forming the earliest part of the Archaean Eon, including final stages of formation of Earth by meteorite bombardment (4 600 million to 3 800 million years ago)

haemotoxic type of venom that causes blood to stop clotting, associated with internal haemorrhaging

harem a group of females (ungulates) herded and protected by a dominant male animal

harvesting rate the number of animals harvested from a game population, expressed as a % of the entire population

head burn a fire that is lit in such a manner as to burn with the wind. The fires move very rapidly and are generally not very descructive. Also known as a Cool Burn

heartwater a disease transmitted by ticks causing nervous symptoms and death in especially springbok and eland

helminthes parasitic worms infecting the internal organs of animals

hemicellulose a type of plant tissue, difficult to digest

hemimetabolous incomplete metamorphosis (in insects)

hemipenes a paired copulatory organ (males)

herbicides chemicals used to control the growth of shrubs and trees

herbivore an animal that eats plants

herd A social group consisting of at least two same-sex adults; generally applied to gregarious ungulates.

heredity the study of how characteristics are passed from parent to offspring

hermaphrodite an animal that contains both male and female reproductive organs

heterogeneity the variation in species, soils, etc. evident in an area

heterotrophic unable to photosynthesise, eats other organisms

heteroxenic a parasite having two hosts

hibernate an animal that sleeps through the winter

highveld the region in South Africa, 2000m (6600 ft) above sea level containing the Gauteng Province (Johannesburg, Pretoria)

hindgut fermenters herbivores that do not ruminate. non-ruminants. Fermentation and digestion occurs in the animals single compartmentalised stomach and intestines

hippoboscidae ectoparasitic fly family which display the same ecology as lice

holdfast An organ or structure of attachment, especially the basal, rootlike formation by which certain seaweeds or other algae are attached to a substrate.

holism a point of view that links everything together

holometabolous complete metamorphosis (in insects)

home range the area over which an animal normally travels in pursuit of its routine activities

homeothermy the regulation of a constant body temperature by physiological means

hominin group of primates that includes all the bipedal forms as well as humans, i.e. all the fossil genera such as Australopithecus, Ardipithecus, Kenyanthropus and Homo

homogenous vegetation units an artificial segment of vegetation that is comprised of a single form of dominant vegetation. HVU are used for habitat analysis

hormone an internal chemical message within an organism

horsetails Group of seedless vascular land plants with primitive leaves growing from nodes (resembling bamboo); today only the genus Equisetum survives but in the past some plants grew to tree size

horst Elongated block of rock that is elevated by faulting relative to the surrounding rocks

host a plant or animal that harbours a parasite

host community a local community (often rural) that is close to an ecotourism destination

hot burn A veld management fire that is lit to burn slowly into the wind. This hot fire removes all grasses and well as small trees. It is lit before the first seasons rains and during midday.

hotspot The expression at the Earth’s surface of a mantle plume (column of rising, hot material from the deep mantle), usually taking the form of localised, intense volcanic activity

humeral Scutes that are behind the gulars and in front of the pectorals as refers to reptiles

humification the process by which humus is formed

humus compost, decaying vegetable matter

hybrid The resultant offspring of a successful mating between two different species. E.g. zebra and donkey hybridize to produce a zonkey.

hydrology the study of properties, distribution and circulation of water

hydrolysable tannins tannins found in the vacoules of leaves which inhibit digestive enzymes of herbivores

hydromorphism the formation of soils as a result of excessive water conditions

hydrophilic an organism that is attracted to water / has an affinity to water

hydrophobic an organism that is repelled by water

hydrophyte a plant suited to wet conditions

hydrosphere Total layer of liquid water at and near the Earth’s surface

hydrothermal fluid Hot groundwater containing various dissolved substances

hydrothermal vent Point of discharge of hydrothermal fluid, usually on the sea floor

hypersensitivity an over sensitivity to certain stimuli and / or chemicals. Example, bee-stings

hypodermid type of fly larvae which burrow under the skin

hyrax/dassie Small, stocky gregarious mammals of the Order Hyracoidea. They range in colour from light to dark brown. Please see Mod #7 Comp #2 of the Game Ranging Course for more information.

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