Glossary: C

"craniate" circulation

Having aortic arches, verntral aorta, and a dorsal aorta. Synapomorphy of the Craniata+Cephalochordata.


The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora was negotiated in 1973 and originally signed by 85 countries. Mauritania became a party to CITES in June, 1998, bring the total number of participating countries to 144. It is designed to promote conservation of endangered species while allowing commerce in species of wildlife that can withstand the pressures of trade. The convention has three categories of protection. Under its Appendix I, commercial trade in species that are threatened with extinction is generally prohibited. These species may be traded only under special conditions (usually for scientific research or display purposes). Such transactions require both an import permit from CITES authorities in the recipient country and an export permit from authorities in the country of origin... CITES allows conditional commercial trade in species that are not yet endangered but merit monitoring. These species are listed on Appendix II and may be traded only with an export permit from their country of origin. A third appendix to CITES is intended to help individual countries gain international cooperation in protecting native species. Any country may place a native plant or animal on Appendix III, making the species conditionally tradable. The species may not be traded without either an export permit from its native country (if that country listed it on Appendix III) or a certificate of origin (if it comes from a country that did not list it). (Fitzgerald 1989)


(noun) A hidden store of food; (verb) to hide food for future use.


a pouch in the alimentary canal of vertebrates between the small intestine and the large intestine, represents the beginning of the large intestine.


containing calcium carbonate, as in soils and other substrates which contain high concentrations of calcium carbonate.


becoming hardened through the addition of calcium salts or becoming converted to calcium carbonate (bone).

camera eye

Eye with cornea, lens, chambers and retina. Synapomorphy of the Sepioidea+Decapoda+Octapoda+Vampyromorpha.


A member of the family Canidae, which includes dogs, foxes, jackals, and wolves.


A relatively continuous layer in forests resulting from the intermingling of branches of trees; it may be continuous (closed) or broken by gaps (open).


Specialized feeding tentacles which have knobby ends covered with cilia and mucus to catch food and transport it to the animal's nearby mouth. Synapomorphy of the Scaphopoda.


An exoskeletal shell that covers the head and at least some of the thorax. Synapomorphy of the Branchiopoda+Maxillopod


having a keeled breastbone, as in birds.


an animal that mainly eats meat


flesh of dead animals.


a hardened connective tissue made up mainly of collagen, but also includes chondromucoid and chondroalbuminoid (similar to elastin). New bone growth involves calcification of cartilaginous connective tissue.


Referring to fish that live primarily in fresh water but migrate to salt water to reproduce. Most of the growth takes place in fresh water and no significant feeding occurs when spawning migration commences

See Also: anadromous
cathemeral activity

activity that takes place at irregular intervals during a 24-hour day.

caudal gland

An enlarged skin gland associated with the root of the tail.

causes disease in humans

an animal which directly causes disease in humans. For example, diseases caused by infection of filarial nematodes (elephantiasis and river blindness).

causes or carries domestic animal disease

either directly causes, or indirectly transmits, a disease to a domestic animal


The fundamenetal constituent of the cell wass of all green plants. It is tough and fibrous and is the principal structural material of plants.


the tendency in some animal groups for the major sense organs, mouth, and brain to be grouped at the front (anterior) of the body in a specialized cephalic region, the head. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


A dry savanna region in central Brazil dotted with patches of sparsely wooded vegetation.


A member of the mammalian family Cervidae, which includes deer, caribour, moose, reindeer, elk, and others.


a member of the mammalian order Cetacea, including whales, porpoises, and dolphins.


A lowland plains area in Bolivia and Paraguay containing soils carried down from the Andes. It is characterized by dry deciduous forest and scrub, transitional between rain forest


Found in coastal areas between 30 and 40 degrees latitude, in areas with a Mediterranean climate. Vegetation is dominated by stands of dense, spiny shrubs with tough (hard or waxy) evergreen leaves. May be maintained by periodic fire. In South America it includes the scrub ecotone between forest and paramo.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


a receptor that detects the presence of chemicals and, in multicellular organisms, transmits this information to the nervous system.


referring to the sensation of chemical signals. The portion of the nervous system devoted to detecting and interpreting chemical signals.


a polysaccharide comprised of derivatives of glucose. It is structurally similar to cellulose and is used to harden or strengthen structures in various invertebrates, such as the cuticle of arthropods, and in fungi.


cells which line the flagellated canals and chambers of sponges, Phylum Porifera. The exposed end of a choanocyte cell bears a flagellum surrounded by a collar that filters food particles from the water.


to jointly display, usually with sounds, at the same time as two or more other individuals of the same or different species


pigment-containing cells found in the skin of many vertebrates, crustaceans, and molluscs. Pigment granules concentrate or disperse in the cytoplasm of the cell, causing the animal to better match its surroundings.

  1. A pupa, especially of a moth or butterfly, enclosed in a firm case or cocoon.
  2. A protected stage of development.

singular: cilium. Short, minute, hair-like projections (up to 10 micrometers long) present on the surface of many cells, especially protozoans and vertebrate epithelium. The movement of cilia can cause cell movement or cause liquids to pass over the cell surface.


a kind of high-altitude, wispy cloud, from the Latin word meaning tuft or lock of hair.


A thickened portion of the midbody segments involved in receiving sperm and eggs after copulation. Synapomorphy of the Oligochaeta+Hirudinea.


used to describe a group of organisms that are all derived through from a single parent, or ancestor, through asexual reproduction.

cloud forest

Moist, high-altitude forest characterised by dense understory growth, and abundance of ferns, mosses, orchids and other plants on the trunks and branches of the trees.


a set of eggs laid at any one time, a single reproductive effort of an egg-laying animal.


the nearshore aquatic habitats near a coast, or shoreline.

  1. A protective case of silk or similar fibrous material spun by the larvae of moths and other insects that serves as a covering for their pupal stage.
  2. A similar natural protective covering or structure, such as the egg case of a spider.
coefficient of variation

The standard deviation divided by the mean.


the body cavity of triploblastic animals (animals made up of three tissue types), lined with mesoderm.


Cells on the surface of Ctenophore tentacles which produce a sticky substance used to catch food. Synapomorphy of the Ctenophora.


used loosely to describe any group of organisms living together or in close proximity to each other - for example nesting shorebirds that live in large colonies. More specifically refers to a group of organisms in which members act as specialized subunits (a continuous, modular society) - as in clonal organisms.

See Also: colonial growth
colonial growth

animals that grow in groups of the same species, often refers to animals which are not mobile, such as corals.


A one-sided relationship between two species, in which only one benefits and the other is neither benefited nor harmed (e.g. epiphytes such as orchids).


The interaction of two or more organisms seeking a limited resource that they both need.

complex atlas and axis

The first two cervical vertebrae of the neck, evolved to maximize movement of the head. Synapomorphy of the Mammalia+Cynodonts.

compound eyes

the eyes of insects and crustaceans which are composed of multiple visual units, the ommatidia. Each ommatidium (singular) is made up of a lens and 6 to 8 retinal cells.


A member of the same genus.


Relating to cone-bearing trees.

coniferous forest

A forest consisting mostly of conifers such as firs, pines and spruces, usually in climates too dry or too cold to support deciduous forest.


Being a member of the same species.


An animal or microbe that gets food by eating other organisms (plants or animals).


capable of producing contraction, the shortening of muscle fibers in order to produce a force.


in the evolutionary sense, convergence occurs when animals that are descended from different ancestors evolve to look most similar to each other. Their similarity, or convergence, is not the result of shared evolutionary history.

cooperative breeder

helpers provide assistance in raising young that are not their own


A small marine crustacean only a few millimeters (less than 1/8) in diameter.


an animal that mainly eats the dung of other animals


A system of mountain ranges often consisting of a number of more or less parallel chains.


having a worldwide distribution. Found on all continents (except maybe Antarctica) and in all biogeographic provinces; or in all the major oceans (Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific.

create habitat

changes the environment and creates new habitats for other species


active at dawn and dusk


A member of a class within the Arthropods, Crustacea, which has five pairs of legs, two pairs of antennae, head and thorax joined, and calcareous deposits in the exoskeleton (e.g. crayfish, crabs, and shrimp).


having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.


Comb-like plates derived from fused cilia and arranged in eight rows on the adult ctenophore, used for locomotion. Synapomorphy of the Ctenophora.


bipectinate gills in aquatic molluscs, Phylum Mollusca, present on either side of the mantle cavity.


Food brought back up into the mouth by an animal from its first stomach to be chewed again (see Ruminant).


specialized for running.


the outer layer of arthropods and plants that helps to prevent water loss. The cuticle of arthropods is a waxy secretion of the epidermal cells and acts as a protective, supportive, and waterproof component of the exoskeleton.