glossary is from H. Bernard Bechtel's book Reptile
and Amphibian - Colors, Patterns and Scales
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Aberrant - deviating from the ordinary, normal,
Adaptation, Biological - alteration of
structure or function to suit a particular environment.
Albino - an organism with absent or deficient
Allele - either of the two paired genes
affecting an inherited trait.
Alleles, Multiple - in a given population,
more than two alternative forms of a gene affecting
a single inherited trait.
Allopatric - related populations occupying
mutually exclusive but usually adjacent geographical
Amelanistic - containing no melanin. Amino
Acid - organic compounds that are the building
blocks of protein.
Amphibian - capable of living both in water
and on land, typified by frogs, toads, and salamanders.
Amplexus - clasping of female amphibians
by males in copulatory embrace. Anerythristic
- without red color.
Anomaly - a deviation from the ordinary,
normal, or expected. Anuran - amphibians lacking
tail in adult stage; frogs and toads.
Aposematic Coloration - warning coloration.
Aquatic - living or growing in water.
Arboreal - living in trees.
Arthropod - a member of a large phylum
of invertebrates, characterized by exoskeleton
and jointed legs, typified by insects and spiders.
Artificial Selection - selective breeding
to perpetuate desirable traits.
Autosomal Mutation - a gene change occurring
in any cell other than a sex cell.
Autotomy - self-amputation, typified by
tail loss of some lizards when attacked.
Axanthism - absence of yellow color, or
absent or deficient xanthophore pigment metabolism.
Backcrossing - mating of an organism with
Bicephaly - possessing two heads
Bilateral - occurring on both sides of
Biological Clock - innate physiological
or behavioral rhythms, synchronized with recurrent
environmental factors such as time or day.
Carapace - dorsal portion of shell of turtle.
Carnivorous - meat eating.
Carotenoid - any group of red and yellow
pigments, chemically similar to carotene, contained
in animal fat and some plants.
Caruncle - horny spine on upper jaw of
hatchling turtle, used to split jaw for hatching.
Caudal - pertaining to the tail or posterior
Chromosome - nuclear inclusion containing
genes arranged in linear sequence.
Chromatophore - pigment cell. Congenital
- present at or before birth, not necessarily
Crossing Over - exchange of corresponding
segments of homologous chromosomes during meiosis,
so the resulting gametes will contain chromosomes
with information from both parents rather than
one or the other.
Cryptic - concealing or camouflaging.
Cutaneous - pertaining to the skin.
Dendrite - a protoplasmic projection extending
from a cell body.
Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) - a molecule
containing the genetic information of all living
cells. The unit of inheritance. Gene.
Differentiation - progressive changes in
cell, tissue, or organ structure and function
during development, usually from simple to more
Dihybrid Cross - mating of individuals
heterozygous for two separate inherited traits.
Dimorphism - occurrence of two forms, distinct
in color or other characteristic, among animals
of the same species.
Diploid - refers to cells with pairs of
homologous chromosomes (somatic cells).
Diurnal - active during daylight. Dominant
- an allele that can determine the phenotype whether
heterozygous or homozygous.
Dopa - 3, 4-dihydroxy-L-phenylalanine,
an intermediate chemical in the synthesis of melanin.
Dorsal - the top, back, or uppermost surface
of the organism.
Ectothermic (also poikilothermic or cold-blooded)
- possessing no internal means for controlling
Embryo - organism in early stages of development,
before it is physiologically independent.
Embryogenesis - the development and growth
of an embryo. Endothermic (also homeothermic or
warm-blooded) - having ability to maintain constant
body temperature in different ambient temperatures.
Erythrophore - red Chromatophore.
Eumelanin - black or brown melanin.
External Fertilization - union of sperm
and egg outside the body of either parent.
F1 - first generation offspring.
F2 - second generation offspring.
Femoral - pertaining to thighs of femur.
Flash Color - bright and conspicuous patch
of color on an otherwise drab animal, displayed
briefly to distract predators.
Gamete (also germ cell) - mature haploid
egg or sperm.
Gene - unit of inheritance (DNA), carried
Gene Pool - collectively, all of the alleles
of all the genes in a population.
Genetics - study of heredity.
Genotype - genetic makeup of an organism.
Germ Cell (also Gamete) - mature haploid
egg or sperm.
Gravid - pregnant.
Habitat - specific place within range in
which an organism lives.
Haploid - having a single set of chromosomes
(germ cell or gamete).
Hemoglobin - an iron-containing protein
in red blood cells primarily for oxygen transport.
Hemotoxin - substance poisonous to or destructive
of vascular system and contents.
Herbivorous - relying on vegetation for
Hereditary - capable of being transmitted
from generation to generation.
Herpetoculture - breeding and husbandry
of reptiles and amphibians.
Herpetology - study of reptiles and amphibians.
Heterozygous - having nonidentical alleles
for the trait in question. Homeothermic (also
endothermic or warm-blooded) - having ability
to maintain constant body temperature in different
Homologous - corresponding in origin, structure,
Homozygous - having identical alleles for
the trait in question.
Hybrid - offspring of parents that differ
in one or more heritable characters. Also refers
to offspring of parents of different species.
Hypomelanistic - containing decreased amount
of black and brown melanin.
Hypopigmented - containing decreased amount
Indicator Species - a species that manifests
by its presence in its habitat the existence of
certain environmental conditions.
Intergrade - an intermediate form exhibiting
a combination of the characteristics of two separate
subspecies of the same species.
Intermedin - hormone secreted by the intermediate
lobe of the pituitary gland, known to control
in part the size and activity of some chromatophores.
Internal Fertilization - union of sperm
and egg inside the female parent.
Iridophore - iridescent chromatophore that
produces color by physical rather than metabolic
Keratin - tough protein outermost layer
Keratinocyte - general term for epidermal
Lateral Line Organ - series of sense organs
along sides of some amphibians, probably for detection
of currents, vibrations, and pressure.
Leucistic - white.
Linkage, Genetic - tendency of certain
alleles to be inherited together due to the fact
that they are located on the same chromosome.
Locus - position of a gene on a chromosome.
Meiosis - type of cell division in which
a diploid cell divides twice, resulting in haploid
Melanin - black or brown pigments synthesized
Melanism - unusual darkening of normal
pigmentation due to increased melanin.
Melanocyte - sole pigment cell of warm-blooded
animals, the function of which is to synthesize
Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone (MSH) -
secretion of anterior pituitary gland that stimulates
synthesis of melanin.
Melanophore - chromatophore of cold-blooded
vertebrates that produces melanin.
Melanosynthesis - production of melanin
within melanophores or melanocytes.
Metamorphosis - transformation of one distinctive
stage in life history to another, as in tadpole
Microhabitat - small restricted part of
the entire range that is utilized by an organism.
Mitosis - cell division with each daughter
cell identical to the parental cell.
Monohybrid Cross - breeding experiment
in which parents differ in only one genetically
Morph - visible form and structure of an
Morphologic - pertaining to form and structure
of an organism.
Mutagen - any substance capable of altering
Mutation - an abrupt change in the base
sequence of DNA, resulting in new genetic information.
If the mutation is in a gamete, the new genetic
information can be passed to the next generation.
Natural Selection - differential reproduction
and survival of organisms due to environmental
forces, resulting in preservation of traits most
fitted for survival.
Neoteny - retention of juvenile characteristics
by sexually mature individuals.
Neural Crest - dorsal portion of the neural
tube (the primitive nervous system) that produces
undifferentiated pigment cells and the peripheral
Neurotoxin - poisonous substance affecting
the nervous system.
Niche - that particular part of the total
environment utilized by an organism.
Nocturnal - active by night.
Nonallelic genes - not coded for the same
trait; not paired.
Omnivorous - including both plants and
animals in diet.
Ontogenetic - development of an individual
organism. Changes occurring during postembryonic
life are ontogenetic.
Oviparous - reproducing by laying eggs.
Paedomorphosis - retention of juvenile
characteristics by sexually mature individuals.
Parthenogenesis - mode of asexual reproduction,
in which embryo develops without fertilization.
Phaeomelanin - red or yellow melanin.
Phenotype - an organism described by its
Physiology - science dealing with function
of organisms and their parts.
Piebald - spotted or patched, usually in
black and white. Plastron - ventral shell of turtle.
Poikilothermic (also ectothermic or cold-blooded)
- having no internal means for controlling body
Polymorphic - occurrence together of two
or more distinct morphological forms of a species.
Postpartum - following birth.
Prepartum - preceding death.
Proteolytic - capable of breaking down
Pteridine - class of chemicals incorporated
in xanthophore pigments.
Radio Telemetry - tracking activities of
organisms by radio signals.
Recessive Gene - an allele that can determine
the phenotype only when in homozygous state.
Salamander - general term for tailed amphibian.
Sex Chromosome - special sex-determining
Sex-linked - genetic traits determined
by genes carried on a sex chromosome.
Sexual Dimorphism - gender differences
Siblings - two or more offspring of the
Somatic Cells - all cells in an organism
aside from the germ cells.
Species - group of organisms which interbreed
and are reproductively isolated from all other
Stem Cell - undifferentiated cell.
Subspecies - well-defined geographic or
physiologic aggregate of local population which
differs from other such subdivisions of the same
Sympatric - having overlapping or coinciding
Systematics - the classification of organisms
in a system to indicate natural relationships.
Taxonomy - scientific naming of organisms
and their classification with reference to their
precise position in the plant or animal kingdom.
Terrapin - any of a number of fresh water
turtles, noted for basking.
Terrestrial - living on ground.
Thermoregulation - in cold-blooded animals,
activity associated with external control of body
temperature, such as sunning.
Tortoise - common term for some completely
Toxic - poisonous or pertaining to poison.
Tyrosinase - the enzyme essential in synthesis
Tyrosinase-negative Albinism - albinism
due to absence of tyrosinase.
Tyrosinase-positive Albinism - albinism
in animals capable of synthesizing tyrosinase,
but unable to synthesize melanin.
Tyrosine - the amino acid precursor of
melanin, thyroxine, and adrenalin.
Ultraviolet - radiation wavelengths just
beyond the violet in the visible spectrum.
Unilateral - found only on one side.
Variant - differing from normal.
Ventral - pertaining to the under or lower
Vertebrate - organism having spinal or
Wild Type - the phenotype occurring normally
or with the greatest frequency in a population.
Xanthic - yellowish.
Xanthophore - pigment cell synthesizing
red, yellow, and intermediate Pteridine pigments.
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