Animal Info - Glossary B

Baleen
A horny substance, commonly known as whalebone, that grows as plates from the upper jaws of certain whales, and forms a fringelike filter for extracting plankton such as krill and small fish from seawater.
Baleen Whale
Any of several whales of the suborder Mysticeti, such as the right whale and rorquals, having a symmetrical skull, two blowholes, and baleen plates instead of teeth. Also known as a "mysticete."
Bamboo
Bamboo species are giant grasses that have evolved woody stems and tough, leathery leaves to deter predation.  Because they are so high in indigestible fiber and are loaded with abrasive compounds containing silica, bamboo's are difficult to eat and to digest. (Roberts 1992a)
Barrage
A barrage is a relatively low, gated dam built across a river to regulate water discharge.  In the Asian subcontinent, barrages are primarily used to divert water into canals for irrigation and sometimes to facilitate navigation.  During monsoon season flows, the gates are generally left open.  They are then progressively lowered as the flood recedes.
Benign introduction
An attempt to establish a species, for the purpose of conservation, outside its recorded distribution, but within an appropriate habitat and eco-geographical area.
Benthic
Referring to an animal that lives on the bottom of a body of water.
Beta diversity
See diversity - beta.
Biomass
A measure of the abundance of an animal (or group of animals, plants, etc.) in term of the mass ("weight") of the animals, stated as either the total mass of the animals in a given location or per unit area.
Bioturbation
Bioturbation is the disturbance of sediment layers by biological activity. It is a significant process on the ocean floor. In that environment, numerous animals such as worms exist by consuming organic matter trapped between sediment grains. Animals like clams burrow through sediment to hide from predators swimming or crawling above the ocean floor. Either activity requires the animals to burrow through the sediment, destroying some of the pre-existing sedimentary features.
Bipedal
Referring to animal that walks on two legs.
Black water
Several different types of water occur within the Amazon River basin. Clear, non-turbid, acidic, "black" water is derived locally from drainage of the forest and is colored by tannin from the breakdown of vegetation and high concentrations of dissolved organic humic acids. Black water areas are grayish black in color.
Blowhole
The opening of the nostril(s) of a whale, located on the top of it's head, through which the whale breathes and from which the "spout" is produced.
Blubber
A layer of fat beneath the skin.
Boreal
Referring to northern regions. Specifically, the region south of the Arctic Circle and north of latitude 50 deg. N; the term may also refer to an area dominated by coniferous forest.
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world. Politically divided between Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia, it consists of the the sultanate of Brunei (Brunei Darussalam) in two unconnected parts; the Indonesian provinces of East, South, West and Central Kalimantan; and the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak. (Wikipedia)
Bovid
A member of the artiodactyl family. Members of this family have unbranched horns comprising a layer of keratin surrounding a bony core.  These horns are never shed, as opposed to the antlers of deer. Bovids also have divided ("cloven") hooves and chew their cud (utilizing a 4-chambered ruminating stomach).  Bovids include cattle, oxen, bison, buffaloes, sheep, goats and antelopes (which include gazelles).  
Brachiate/Brachiation
To move around in trees by arm-swinging beneath branches.
Brackish
Somewhat salty.
Breaching
Leaping headfirst from the water surface (usually by whales).
Brindled
Having inconspicuous dark streaks or flecks on a gray or tawny background.
Bromeliad
One of a family of American epiphytic herbaceous plants including the pineapple and Spanish moss.
Browse
Tender shoots, twigs, and leaves of trees and shrubs used by animals for food.
Browser
A herbivore that feeds on shoots and leaves of trees and/or shrubs, as opposed to herbaceous vegetation (compare "grazer").
Bushveld
A natural region in southern Africa. It is an extensive grassland with thorn bushes and with scattered trees, such as acacia and baobab. It is moderately dry and has an elevation of about 800 - 1,200 m (2,500 - 4,000'). (Also see Veld.) 
Bustard
A large, ground-nesting bird.
Bycatch
Fish taken in a fishery which are not of the species intended for harvest.

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Last modified: June 3, 2006;

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