Major Funding The Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation



Animal Adaptation: Glossary

A

acute
Highly developed, advanced, sharp
adaptation
physical or behavioral traits that help plants and animals survive in their environment and that are passed on genetically to subsequent generations

B

bacteria
one-celled organisms that live everywhere on Earth, with some being harmless, some beneficial, and others dangerous and even deadly
biomimicry
the design and production of materials, structures, and systems that are modeled on plant and animal parts and processes
blubber
a thick layer of fat under the skin of sea mammals

C

camouflage
a color or shape in an animal's body covering that helps it blend into its environment
cells
the very small units that make up all living things, specialized to do different jobs
characteristic
a feature or trait that describes an organism and that makes a species or individual different from others
climate change
The current tendency of our earth toward higher temperatures and rapid warming
courtship
the process of attracting a mate

D

defensive
an action intended to protect from harm or resist attack
dispersal
moving out from one geographic area to another and not returning
diversity
a great variety of different forms or types
dormant
a period of greatly reduced or suspended biological activity or growth

E

echolocation
the ability of some animals to use reflected sound for locating food and for navigation
ecosystem
a system formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their physical environment
extinct
no longer living

G

generations
steps in a line from ancestors to their descendants. Parent-to-child is one generation.
genes
units of heredity contained in living cells that carry instructions that determine specific traits

H

habitat
the place where an animal lives
hibernate
to pass the winter in a state of sleep

I

Industrial Revolution
A period of major change in the way products were made; the transition from products made by hand to products manufactured by machines powered by engines
infrared detection
the ability to sense as heat a type of energy coming from living things
inherit
to receive a trait passed on from a parent organism to its offspring
instinct
behaviors that animals are born knowing how to do

L

learned behavior
a behavior that is learned by experience, not instinctual or passed down to offspring
lichen
small, plantlike living things made up of an alga and a fungus growing together on a solid surface, such as a rock or a tree

M

marine
having to do with the ocean
migration
seasonal movement of a group of animals from one place to another
mimicry
an adaptation in which an animal imitates another animal or object in order to avoid predators. Examples are a harmless animal that looks like a harmful one, or an animal that looks like a non-food item.

N

natural selection
the process by which plants and animals that can adapt to their environment are able to survive and reproduce, while those that cannot adapt do not survive
niche
the job or part that a particular living thing plays in an ecological community
nocturnal
an animal that is most active at night

O

offspring
the children or young of an animal or plant

P

phototropism
movement of a plant toward light
physiological
having to do with the way living things function
predator
an animal that hunts and eats other animals for food
prey
an animal that is taken and eaten by another animal for food

S

scales
fish and reptile skin layered in smaller sections, providing strong protection
scavenger
an animal that eats dead or decaying matter
streamlined
shaped to increase speed of movement and to reduce air or water resistance

T

talons
sharp claws of a bird
thrive
not only surviving, but growing to adulthood in good health and reproducing
toxic
containing poisonous substances
traits
features or characteristics of a species or organism

V

venom
poison produced by an animal

W

water resistance
the force or drag that slows things down that are moving through water

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