Animal Info - Glossary A

Not living.
Loss of a part (e.g. ice from the Arctic ice pack) by melting.
An anatomical structure, physiological process or behavioral trait of an animal that has evolved over a period of time such that it increases the expected long-term reproductive success of the animal (Wikipedia).
A fully developed and mature animal, physically capable of breeding, but not necessarily doing so until social and/or ecological conditions allow.
Deriving energy from a process requiring free oxygen (compare "Anaerobic").
To enter a state of dormancy in seasonal hot, dry weather, when food is scarce.
To form an object by the clumping together of separate elements.
Referring to behavior between individuals of the same species that may involve aggression, threat, appeasement or avoidance. Agonistic behavior may arise from a conflict between aggression and fear.
Alga (plural "Algae")
A general name for the single-celled, predominantly aquatic, organisms that photosynthesize but lack the specialized reproductive structures of plants. Algae lack true roots, stems, and leaves.
Allee effect
A situation where the density of an animal population is so low as to cause adverse effects on the population. For example, adult animals may have trouble finding other adults to mate with because they are so scarce.
One of the forms of a given gene.
An animal behaving parentally towards infants or young that are not its own offspring.
Referring to a situation in which populations of different species are geographically separated (compare "Sympatric").
Referring to soil which has been deposited by running water. For example, alluvial floodplains are formed when a river overflows during a flood and deposits silt on its banks.
Alpha diversity
See diversity - alpha.
Alpha male
The dominant male in a social group of animals.
Referring to conditions similar to those found in the Alps or other higher mountains (usually above 1500 m (4900')) .
Refers to young mammals (e.g. rats, mice, cats, dogs, giant pandas) that are helpless at birth. Their eyes and ears are sealed, and they cannot walk, maintain their body temperature, or excrete without assistance. (Compare "precocial".) (Allaby 1991)
Amazon River habitat
Includes black water, white water, igapo forest and varzea forest.
Able to live both on land and in the water.
Deriving energy from a process that does not require free oxygen (compare "Aerobic").
Antarctic Convergence
The region between 50 deg - 55 deg S where the Antarctic surface water sinks beneath the less dense and southward flowing subantarctic water.
This is a general term without a strict definition, rather than a zoological term.  Antelopes have been variously classified as bovids with long slender limbs, an animal that chews its cud, or "all bovids other than cattle, buffaloes, sheep and goats." 
The sac-like part of a stamen containing pollen.
Antilles, Greater
The Greater Antilles are the four largest islands in the northwestern portion of the Caribbean Sea and include Cuba, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), Jamaica, and Puerto Rico. The Greater Antilles together with the Lesser Antilles comprise the West Indies.
Antilles, Lesser
The Lesser Antilles include the smaller islands of the Caribbean - the Virgin Islands, Windward Islands and Leeward Islands. The Lesser Antilles together with the Greater Antilles comprise the West Indies.
Something, such as a drug or food, that has the effect of arousing or intensifying sexual desire.
Referring to an animal that lives mainly in the water.
A species in a class of arthropods which includes mostly air-breathing invertebrates, including spiders, scorpions, mites and ticks, which have a body with two segments, with the front segment having four pairs of legs and no antennae.
1) Referring to an animal that lives in trees; 2) tree-climbing.
A group of islands.
The term comes from the ancient Greek work "Arktikós", the "country of the Great Bear" (the constellation Ursa Major - the "Great Bear").
Lacking rhythm or regularity.
1) A watercourse (such as a creek) in an arid region; 2) a water-carved gully or channel (Merriam-Webster Online).
Referring to an insect, spider, crab or other member of a species with a hard, jointed exoskeleton and paired, jointed legs.
Referring to an even-toed ungulate (includes the cattle, pigs and ruminants).
A coral reef surrounding a lagoon.

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Last modified: June 23, 2006;

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