This page is a list of words used in Jungle Photos Amazon with their definitions.
Biological adaptation is the process of changing or adjusting to altered environmental conditions. Adaptation can occur over the life of the organism (as in the responsive adjustment of a sense organ) or as used here, it can occur within a species due to evolution by natural selection.
Definition link: adaptation
Alkaloids are a family of plant chemicals. They contain nitrogen, and usually oxygen. Alkaloids are commonly colorless and bitter-tasting. Chemically, they are usually alkaline, with nitrogen as the base. They react with acids, forming soluble salts in reaction. Many alkaloids have physiological toxic effects on humans. Well-known alkaloids include caffeine, cocaine, nicotine and morphine.
Definition link: alkaloid
Aposematic refers to an animal that is brightly colored or otherwise obvious to a prospective predator, as a warning of danger. An aposematic butterfly, for example, may be loaded with cyanide compounds, such as the heliconia butterflies. Likewise, a poison frog's distinctive colors warn that it contains toxins that will poison a careless predator. Aposematism is the functional opposite of camouflage
Definition link: aposematic
The term arboreal refers to animals that live in or among trees. Arboreal creatures are usually highly adapted for living and moving about in trees. The limbs and skeleton of arboreal animals such as squirrels and monkeys help the animal move around the branches and canopies of trees. In the Amazon, numerous animals such as snakes, frogs as well as certain mammals are strictly arboreal, spending their entire life in the tree tops.
Definition link: arboreal
Variability of living organisms and the ecosystems and biological communities of which they are part. This includes genetic and morphological diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems. Biodiversity has increased over geological time and is essential to the survival life on Earth. Diversity supplies variation needed for adaptation and survival and continued evolution of species.
Definition link: What is biodiversity
Chromosomes are packets of genetic material. The number of chromosomes varies from species to species. Humans have 46 pairs of chromosomes, fruit flies have four pairs. Each member of a pair is identical, one chromosome comes from the father, the other from the mother. Therefore sex cells have only have the number of chromosomes of all the other cells. When sex cells join during fertilization, the chromosomes pair up to make the full suite for the species. Chromosomes are an effective way to package DNA. All the chromosomes together comprise the genome. If the genome is the library, and genes are the books, chromosomes are like the shelves. Definition link: chromosomes
• GESTATION PERIOD
The gestation period refers to the length of time from conception to birth, being the length of pregnancy. The term is usually used in the context of mammals. For humans the gestation period is about nine months. Among Amazon animals, the pink dolphin (boto) has a gestation period of about 11 months, whereas in the tapir it is about 13 months. Definition link: gestation period
Melanism is the color of an animal when its skin contains an excess of color pigment compared to the general population. Melanistic individuals are usually much darker, and may be even completely black. Melanism may result from the over-expression or duplication of genes that are responsible for producing color pigment. A common protein that serves as a color pigment is melatonin.
Definition link: melanism
Monogamy is a reproductive system in which males and females form single pairs. Each male is paired with a single female (or vice versa). Monogamy is widespread among some groups such as birds, but is generally the exception rather than the rule in the animal kingdom. (See Polygyny and Polyandry)
Definition link: monogamy
Mutualism is a type of symbiosis. Mutualism is when two species or dissimilar organisms living together benefit each other, i.e., the relationship is advantageous to both. For example, in the Amazon rainforest, leafcutter ants are mutualistic with a species of fungus. The fungus grows on the leaves harvested by ants. The two species are so interdependent that neither can survive without the other.
Definition link: mutualism
The Neotropics are a geographical region defined by the Tropic lines of latitude (Cancer and Capricorn) that run parallel to the equator. This region lies in the Americas, or New (= "Neo") World. Due to long isolation from the Old World flora and fauna, the Neotropics are characterized by a wide range of biomes, unique ecology and high biodiversity, including Amazonia.
Definition link: Neotropics
The term niche as applied to ecology was coined in 1917 and popularized by ecologist G. Evelyn Hutchinson. The view is that no two species could be identical in all aspects of their ecology, but should differ in some fundamental way related to their feeding behavior, breeding cycle or geographical location. This unique profile of each species is its niche. One way to think of a niche is as the species "profession" in the ecosystem.
Definition link: ecological niche
Polygyny is a social system of reproduction in which a single male mates with several females. The female group is commonly called a harem. Males usually compete for control of the females and retain control only as long as they are able to fend off rival challengers. Polygyny is common among primates and among some groups such as birds, but is generally the exception rather than the rule in the animal kingdom. Polygamy is a similar situation except that both sexes mate with more than one mate. In the Amazon, polygyny occurs among bats and has been well-studied in the sac-winged bat. (See Monogamous and Polyandry)
Definition link: polygyny
Polyandry is a social system of reproduction in which one female mates with several males. It is the reverse of polygyny and tends to be less common among animals. In the Amazon, the Jacana is a bird that has a polyandrous mating system. The female controls a territory within which males build nests. She lays eggs in all the nests, and the males take most of the responsibility for care of the young. (See Monogamous)
Definition link: polyandry
Polyphyly is a taxonomic term. It refers to a grouping of organisms based on common traits or characters that have evolved independently. A polyphyletic group is an artificial rather than natural group, because a natural group would derive from a single common ancestor. A polyphyletic group comprises more than one common ancestor. For example, the group of warm-blooded animals is polyphyletic. It includes birds and mammals, which evolved from two separate branches on the evolutionary tree.
Definition link: polyphyletic
Taxonomy is the science of classification. It is usually meant in terms of classifying life but may be applied to other phenomena, such as a taxonomy of minerals. Formal biological classification was first attempted by the Greeks and Romans, but it was not until the 16th century that Swedish scientist Carolus Linnaeus formalized the system of modern taxonomy. The basis of the system is binomial (two name), in which every species is identified by a genus name and a species name. (Think of your last name and first name.) A genus (pl. genera) may contain several species and genera in turn belong in families, which belong in orders, then classes and kingdoms. Taxonomy is partly subjective although modern genetics enables scientists to establish relationships between species. This has led to calls for changes in the naming system established by Linnaeus. Definition link: taxonomy, classification
Varzea is a Portuguese-Spanish term referring to areas of forested land regularly inundated by seasonal river floods. Typically, it refers to those areas flooded by white water rivers, contrasted with areas flooded by black water rivers which are called igapo. Varzea and igapo have distinctive flora and fauna adapted to the changing environment; a biota that is different from that inhabiting areas that are never flooded, called terra firme. The flooded forests constitute about three percent of the area of Amazonian rainforest, while terra firme comprises the rest. (Note: The correct spelling of varzea is with an accent above the first 'a': várzea.)
Definition link: varzea
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