Glossary

abdomen: the posterior, segmented region of insects and crustaceans, referred to as the tail in latter group
anal fin: fin positioned on the lower posterior end of fish
anal scale: ventral scale immediately anterior to and overlying the cloacal opening or “anal” vent of a lizard or snake; demarcates body from tail
anterior: toward the head, opposite of posterior
aquatic: living in water, especially fresh water
areola: the posterior portion of a crustacean’s carapace, immediately anterior to the abdomen, generally separated by a distinct groove from the anterior or cephalic portion of the carapace
band: a partial ring of color that crosses the back and extends onto the sides of a snake
bridge: that portion of a turtle’s shell joining the carapace and plastron
calcar: the modified toe that supports the tail membrane in bats
carapace: upper (dorsal) part of a turtle’s shell; the hardened shell covering the anterior half of a crustacean (crayfish, shrimp), in front of the tail or abdomen
caudal: at or near the tail
costal: any of the large paired scales covering much of the carapace of a turtle, excluding the midline and outer rim
collumella: the inner spiral of a snail shell
coverts: small feathers that cover the bases of the larger flight feathers of the wing and tail of a bird; includes upperwing coverts, underwing coverts, and tail coverts
diurnal: active during the day
dorsolateral: referring to that area of an animal or body part between the back or top and side
dorsum/dorsal: referring to the back or top side of an animal or body part; opposite of venter/ventral
eft: immature, terrestrial life stage of a newt
elytra: the usually hard outer wings, covering inner membranous wings, of a beetle
endemic: restricted to a given geographic area
ephemeral: temporary, especially in reference to the hydrological cycle of a pond
estuarine: living in waters where rivers empty into the ocean or marine bays
exoskeleton: the relatively hard outer layer of insects, crustaceans, and other arthropods
extirpated: eliminated from a given area or region; locally extinct
ground color: background color which may be overlain by patterns such as spots and stripes
guard hair: the longer protective hair in some mammals
inflated: deep or broad, in reference to shell of a mussel; opposite of flat or compressed
internasal scales: paired scales on top of a snake’s snout, between rostral, prefrontal, and nasal scales
keel: a ridge, commonly referring to ridges on shells of turtles or scales of snake
larva (pl., larvae): immature stage of most amphibians, typically aquatic and with gills that may be internal or external; includes tadpole stage of frogs
lateral: pertaining to the sides of an animal
lores: tiny feathers or skin between the eye and bill of a bird
mandible: typically the lower jaw of vertebrates, or one of several mouthparts of insects and crustaceans; in birds, either the upper or lower part of the bill
marginal: any of the small scales around the rim of a turtle’s shell
marine: living in oceans
morph: a color variant of a species, unrelated to age or sex
nacre: the mother-of-pearl layer lining the internal surface of mussel’s shell; its color is useful in species identification
nasal scales: scales surrounding the nostrils of reptiles
nocturnal: active during the night
nuchal: the unpaired, central scale at the front edge of a turtle’s shell, immediately above the neck
paedomorph: amphibian that becomes sexually mature while retaining such larval characteristics as external gills, a tail fin, and an aquatic lifestyle
pectoral fin: fin positioned on either side of a fish just behind the gills
peritoneum: the thin membrane lining the abdomen of vertebrates
plastron: lower or ventral part (belly) of a turtle’s shell
pleopod: one of a series of small paired appendages attached to the ventral side of the abdomen (tail) of a crustacean; also known as swimmeret; used by female crayfishes to carry their eggs
posterior: toward the tail (opposite of anterior)
postorbital: behind the eyes; may refer to a scale or color pattern
prefrontal scales: paired scales on top of a reptile’s head, in front of scale row between eyes
primary feathers: nine or ten long flight feathers attached to the “hand” of a bird’s wing
rostral scale: scale at tip of a reptile’s snout
rostrum: the anterior projection of the carapace of a crustacean
scute: any of the scales covering the shell of a turtle
secondary feathers: flight feathers growing from the “forearm” segment of a bird’s wing
shorebirds: generally refers to small- to medium-sized birds that frequent coastal beaches and mudflats; includes the plovers and oystercatcher in this guide
smooth scale: scale lacking a keel or ridge stripe: a line of color that runs lengthwise on the body of a snake or lizard or along the leg, neck, or head of a turtle
suture: in snails the seam between shell whorls; also the seams between bones of a skull or a turtle shell
terrestrial: living on land
thorax: the middle body region between the head and tail or abdomen; in insects and crustaceans, the site of attachment of legs and wings
tragus: a lobe extending upward in the opening of a bat’s ear
umbo: the raised area on each valve of a mussel’s shell near the hinge; also known as the beak
valve: either of the two halves that make up the shell of a mussel
venomous: poisonous, usually as result of a bite or sting
venter/ventral: referring to the belly surface; opposite of dorsum/dorsal
wading birds: generally refers to long-legged waders like herons, egrets, bitterns, ibises, spoonbills, storks, and flamingos