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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tactile pertaining to touch

talons claws of raptors (birds of prey)

tampan a type of tick; lives in warthog burrows

tannin a chemical produced in the leaves of plants that make the leaves unpalatable to animals

tapetum a reflective layer inside the eyes of animals that maximise the amount of light entering the eye

tarsi The section of the vertebrate foot between the leg and the metatarsus. The distal part of the leg of an arthropod, usually divided into segments.

taxon a classification unit e.g. Kingdom, Order, Family, species

taxonomic The meaning is subject to the context, but pertains to the taxonomy or the classification of the species. See taxonomy.

taxonomy the classification of organisms into units (related groups)

tef See Lucerne

telson a scorpion's sting

temporal gland A gland found on the head of animals, generally situated between the eyes and ears. Elephants produce a discharge from this gland during Musth

temporal opening Accessory opening behind each eye socket in the skull of a vertebrate animal, to accommodate more complex and powerful jaw muscles (see also Anapsid, Diapsid, Synapsid)

tergum The protective cuticle found on the dorsal surface of body segments in arthropods.

termitaria the term used to describe the dwelling structure created by termites in which their colony lives. Single termitarium, multiple termitaria.

termitarium a termite colony

terrane Region having similar geological formations and history

terrestrial related to the land

territorial Animals that defend a particular area against (usually same-sex) rivals of their own species.

territory the area which an animal will defend against members of its own species

testosterone a male hormone that accounts for the development of male characteristics and reproductive drive

tethys sea Sea that is believed to have once separated Gondwana and Laurasia, the closing of which gave rise to the Alps and the Himalayan mountains

tetrapod Vertebrate animals possessing four limbs instead of fins, i.e. amphibians, reptiles, mam- mals and birds

thallophyte Thallophytes are plants that do not have vascular conducting tissue - they have no phloem or xylem vessels. Lichen, mosses and liverwortsis are examples of thallophytic plants.

thallophytes plants that do not possess true roots, stems or leaves e.g. bacteria, algae and fungi

theileriosis (corridor disease) protozoal disease transmitted by two tick species causing fever and subsequent death

therapsid Diverse group of mammal-like reptiles from which mammals evolved

thermal subsidence Subsidence of the lithosphere (including the crust) caused by cooling; occurs where the lithosphere has been thinned by stretching, bringing the hot asthenosphere closer to the Earth’s surface. As the asthenosphere cools, its density increases and it sub- sides, causing subsidence of the lithosphere

thermals rising columns of warm air

thermocline the border between two different temperature zones, usually pertaining to water.

thermophile Heat-loving

thermoregulation the regulation of internal body temperature

therocephalian Diverse group of long-ranging mammal-like reptiles (therapsids) that lived from the Permian to the mid-Triassic; they varied in size from that of a meerkat to that of a large dog

theropoda Two-legged, meat-eating dinosaurs belonging to the Saurischia, including the smallest dinosaurs known, but also the largest land-dwelling meat eaters of all time – the tyrannosaurids; this group of dinosaurs includ- ed the ancestors of birds

thigmotropism describes a plant's response to contact

thorax breast-plate or part of the insect body between head and abdomen

thyroxine hormone produced by the thyroid gland which regulates metabolism in the body

ticks parasitic arachnids on the skin of dogs, cattle, etc

tidal flat Large, flat area of land that is inundated at high tide; tidal flats are usually covered by mud, silt and sand

topography the form of a landsurface eg. valley or crest

toposequence a repetitive pattern of soils always associated with certain terrain morphological units

torpor hibernation on a daily basis

torsion a twist introduced to the body of snails, in which one side of the body grows faster than the other during development

toxicosis any disease condition resulting from the ingestion of a poison or toxic substance

toxins (plant) natural or secondary products produced by a plant which may be harmful to other organisms when ingested

toxoplasmosis protozoal disease causing cysts in infected animals. Also causes abortions and congenital disease in humans

trachea wind pipe connecting the lungs with the mouth

tracker the field guides assistant/partner principally responsible for tracking and finding game

tranquilizing drugs a drug that renders an animal unable to move. The animal is however conscious, awake and aware of its surroundings and experience. Used in game capture

tranquillized a drugged animal which remains aware of its surroundings and cannot be handled easily. Tranquillizers remove fear and anxiety in animals

transform faults Strike-slip (wrench) faults usually lying perpendicular to a mid-ocean ridge that compensate for different spreading rates along the length of the ridge

transpiration the loss of water vapour by plants

trench Elongated depression on the sea floor formed above a subducting plate

trilobite Early form of scuttling marine arthropod, distantly related to lobsters, crabs, etc., and including the first animals to possess eyes capable of true sight; their bodies are characteristically divided into three longitudinal rows – hence the group name

trophic the nutritional levels in the food chain

tropical The climate, flora, and fauna of the geographic region between 231A°2 N and 5, the latitudes reached by the sun at its maximum declination, known respectively as the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

trunk elongated upper lip and nose, muscularised and highly dextrous

tsunami Very large ocean wave caused by a major geological disturbance such as an earthquake, volcanic explosion or landslide; tsunamis travel at 800 – 1 000 km/h; often incorrectly referred to as tidal waves

tumescent swollen or distended, sometimes abnormally by gas or fluids, but also in the case of swollen sexual display traits

turbidite Sedimentary deposit formed by a turbidity current

turbidity current Sediment-rich slurry that cascades down the continental slope onto the abyssal plain below

tusks elongated upper incisor teeth, mostly used in feeding

tympanum a vibrating membrane in insects which detects sound

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