Definitions

Calcarea A Class of sponges with spicules of calcium carbonate. The spicules are either free or fused. They tend to be relatively small, mostly less than 10 cm. There are about 100 species, mainly marine in water no deeper than 1000m.
Calcareous Containing calcium carbonate (lime)
Calcification The deposition of calcium salts in living tissue. The replacement of organic material by calcium salts during fossilization.
Calcite The mineral form of calcium carbonate, found in the shells of molluscs, corals, and brachiopods, etc.
Camouflage Colours and patterns that enable an animal to merge with its background. Used for protection against predators and concealment when hunting prey.
Capitulum A term applied to the small, head-like structure of an organism, including projections fro the bodies of ticks and mites carrying the mouthparts.
Captacula The tentacles which a scaphopod mollusc uses in feeding.
Carapace a hardened dorsal shield, see crustacea.
Carbon assimilation the incorporation of inorganic carbon from carbon dioxide into organic compounds by photosynthesis
Carbon cycle The biogeochemical cycle of carbon, incorporating the fixation of inorganic carbon dioxide by photosynthesis to form organic compounds and its ultimate return to the atmosphere by processes of respiration and decomposition.
Carboniferous A geological period around 280 - 345 million years before the present.
Cardiac mark in spiders a mark (usually dark coloured) on the dorsal surface of the abdomen, overlying the area of the heart
Carnivore a flesh eater
Carrying capacity The maximum number of organisms that can be sustained within a given area or habitat.
Caste One of the groups of individuals within a colony of social insects belonging of a particular type or age group, or showing a behaviour pattern and performing a specialized function, e.g. worker bumblebee.
Catalepsy feigning death to escape danger, seen in many invertebrates, e.g. spiders and some beetles
Caterpillar the soft-bodies larva of Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths). They have 2 types of legs - usually 6 true, segmented legs, and a variable number of sucker-like prolegs.
Caudal of or belonging to the tail
Cecidomiidae Gall midges. Tiny, less than 5 mm long, fragile flies (Diptera). There are over 4000 species worldwide. The larva usually live in, and cause, galls in plants - hence the common name.
Cell of wings, and area of wing membrane partially, or completely bounded by veins
Cephalic pertaining to the head
Cephalisation The evolution of a head end with sensory structures and a highly specialized brain to process sensory output. A feature of bilaterally symmetrical animals.
Cephalothorax The anterior of an arachnid consisting of the head and thorax.
Cephalopods a class of Mollusca, e.g. squid, octopus, cuttle fish
Ceratopogonidae Tiny biting midges.
Cercus pl. - cerci. a paired hair-like appendage attached to the end of the abdomen.
Cestoda Tapeworms, exclusively parasitic, mainly in the intestines of vertebrates as adults and vertebrates or invertebrates during development.
Chaeta A tough, embedded, ectodermal bristle (see earthworms).
Chaetognatha Arrow worms. Bilaterally symmetrical, free-living, predatory invertebrates.
Character/characteristic a distinctive feature often used in identification
Chelae the pincers of crabs, lobsters and other arthropods
Chelate a type of arthropod limb which terminates in a pair of pincers, as in many of the Chelicerata
Chelicera The first pair of appendages in the Chelicerata.
Chelicerata The phylum containing 3 Classes, Merostomata (horseshoe crabs), Arachnida (spiders, scorpions, mites, harvestmen) and Pycnogonida (sea spiders)
Chelicerae The first pair of arachnid appendages, modified as mouthparts, and bearing the poison fangs in spiders.
Chemoreceptors a kind of receptor which transmits information about the presence/absence/concentration of individual kind of molecules.
Chilopoda Centipedes. Terrestrial and predatory. Usually found in soil, decomposing wood, leaf litter. They have a flattened body and each segment has one pair of legs.
Chimera An organism that has tissues of two or more genetic types.
Chironomidae A Family of Diptera commonly named midges. The larvae are aquatic, and the adults swarm. There are around 5000 species world wide.
Chitin a nitrogenous polysaccharide found in the exoskeletons of arthropods and also in fungi. It is insoluble in water, alcohol, dilute acids and digestive juices.
Chiton Molluscs in the Polypalocphora class.
Chlorinated hydrocarbon e.g. DDT, a synthetic, contact insecticide which persists, and can accumulate in the food chain in high concentrations in predatory animals, e.g. hawks.
Choanocytes the characteristic flagellated cells found in the sponges
Chordata Bilateral, coelomate animal with notochord, gill slits, nerve chord and post-anal tail. 3 sub-phyla: cephalochordata, tunicata, vertebrata.
Chromatophore A pigment-bearing cell, see cephalopods (squid, octopus)
Chromosome deeply staining nuclear body composed mainly of DNA and protein
Chromosome compliment the number of chromosomes in a nucleus
Chromosome deletion a mutation involving loss of genes
Chromosome insertion a mutation involving gain of duplicate genes
Chromosome inversion a mutation involving alteration or reversal of a sequence of genes
Chromosome translocation a mutation involving the transfer of a segment of a homologous pair to the other
Chromosome pair two homologous chromosomes that become intimately associated during meiosis and mitosis
Chrysalis A hard case that protects the inert pupa - see Lepidoptera.
Chrysomelidae A family of leaf beetles, e.g. Chrysomela populi, the poplar leaf beetle. The adults are often brightly coloured, and sometimes metallic. Both adults and larvae feed on plants.
Chrysopidae Golden-eyes, lace wings. Family of lace wings. Larvae eat plant lice and aphids. Some species are used in biological control.
Cicadidae Cicadas. Family of hemiptera. The eggs are laid in twigs. On hatching the nymphs fall to the ground and dig into the soil. There they feed off the sap in roots for a number of years depending on the species, but usually the number is a prime number, e.g. 7, 13, 17. The adults live for a very short time, and the males are well-known for the noise they make, There are about 1500 species in the world.
Cicindelidae Family containing the tiger beetles. The adults are usually brightly coloured. They tend to be found in open, sunny places. The larvae inhabit burrows. Both larvae and adults are fierce carnivores eating anything they can catch, and live mainly on other insects.
Cilia/cilium small whip-like processes from cells, that by beating in synchrony serve in propulsion, or move food towards the mouth.
Cimicidae Family of bugs containing the bedbugs and other blood-sucking bugs.
Circadian rhythms Physiological cycles of around 24 hours found in eukaryotic organisms
Cladistics The technique for estimating how organisms are related to one another by using the features of their bodies or their genetic structure to compile Cladograms. These diagrams show the important branching events in their history where new characteristics were acquired.
Claspers Part of the male genital organs of certain insects. They are located at the end of the body and hold on to the female during copulation.
Class the major taxonomic division of a phylum
Clitellum the the thickened, saddle-like glandular region on the body of adult earthworms that secretes the cocoon
Clone a lineage of genetically identical individuals
Closed circulatory system a type of internal transport in which blood is confined to vessels, e.g. as in mammals
Clubbed antennae antennae that are abruptly enlarged at the tip, e.g. in some beetles
Cnidocyte The cell which holds the nematocyst in the Cnidaria
cocoon a case usually of silky material in which some insects are enveloped during the pupal stage of their lives, e.g. butterflies and moths. Also the covering for the eggs of annelids
Coelentrata The coelentrates are the Cnidaria (jellyfish, coral, medusae, sea pens, sea fans) and the Ctenophora (comb jellies and sea gooseberries).
Coelom The secondary body cavity in higher invertebrates.
Coevolution An evolutionary change in a trait of the individuals in one population in response to a trait of the individuals of a second population, followed by and evolutionary response by the second population to the change in the first.
Cohort a group of individuals of the same age, age class
Coleoidea A sub-class of the Cephaolopda which includes the octopus, cuttlefish, squid and vampire squid.
coleoptera Beetles, an order of insects
Collembola Springtails. An order of wingless insects, often blind, usually less than 6 mm long and with a forked, springing tail organ (furcula).
Colon the hindgut just before the rectum
Colonial used of animals which reproduce asexually and remain associated with each other; animals which retain tissue contact with each other; sexually produced animals that form aggregations in space.
Colonization The successful invasion of a species into a new habitat. The occupation of seedlings in bare soil.
Colony A group of animals of the same species that live together. Often dividing up the tasks. In some colonial marine invertebrates the colony is permanently fixed, as in corals, in others such as ants, bees and wasps, the individuals move independently but live in the same structure.
Colony fission The splitting of a social insect colony by the departure of one, or more, queens plus workers to forma new colony elsewhere, while the parent colony still remains viable, e.g. as in honey bees
Colony odour The odour in a colony of social insects carried on the bodies of the insects, and providing a means of recognition.
Comb jelly the common name for the Ctenophora
Comb-plates Rows of fused cilia that form the main organs of propulsion in ctenophores.
Commensalism Symbiosis in which members of one species are benefited, while those of the other species are neither benefited or harmed.
Communal Of bees and wasps. A colony of females of the same generation which share a nest. Each individual makes, provisions, and lays her own eggs in her own group of cells, with no other co-operation.
Communication an action of one animal that modifies the behaviour of another animal
Community All the organisms that inhabit a particular area. A group of populations of different species living closely enough to allow interaction.
Competition The use by two or more organisms or species of a resource, e.g. food, shelter.
Complemental male A male who lives permanently attached to the female, and is usually much smaller in size, e.g. the male Bonella viridis (Echiura)
Compound eye an eye that is composed of separate facets (ommatidia) each with its own set of lenses.
Competitive exclusion principle The principle which states that when the populations of two species compete for a limiting resource one population will use the resource more efficiently which will lead to the eventual elimination of the other species.
Concave curved inwards
Concentricyloidea Sea daisies, a recently discovered class of Echinoderms
Conchology The study of shells.
Connective cells Provide support and consistency for the animal.
Consecutive hermaphrodite An animal with functional male and female reproductive organs which mature at different times.
Conservation The planned management of natural resources.
Conspecific Belonging to the same species.
Continuum A gradual intergradation between two or more extreme values.
Convergence the evolution of two groups along similar lines, e.g., penguins & seals.
Convex curved outwards
Copepoda A class of Crustaceans, the best known being cyclops.
Coprolites Fossilized faeces
Coprology The study of animal faeces
Coprophaguos Feeding on faeces
Copulate To engage in sexual intercourse, the act of introducing sperm into the female.
Coral A group of animals in the phylum Cnidaria. They have a skeleton of calcium carbonate, and are easily fossilised.
Corbicula The pollen basket found on the hind most legs of some bees. It is formed by the concave surface of the tibia which is fringed on either side with stiff hairs.
Cornicle in aphids, one of a pair of tubes at the end of the abdomen
Corpora allata the endocrine gland in insects that produces juvenile hormone
Corpora cardaica paired organs located behind the brain of insects where hormones are stored and released.
Cortex the outer layer of a structure
Cosmopolitan Having a worldwide distribution; pandemic; ubiquitous. Having an influence or effect on the whole world.
Costa the front edge of the wing
Courtship Any behaviour between males and females that leads to mating.
Cover the area of ground covered by the vertical projection of the species canopy, e.g. pin contacts as a proportion of the total number of pins
Coxa the basal segment of an insect leg
Cremaster a group of hooks on the end of a Lepidoptera pupa which enables it to hang from a solid surface.
Crepuscular Active during the twilight hours of dusk and dawn.
Crinoid A class in the phylum Echinodermata, commonly called sea lilies, but they are animals related to sea urchins and starfish.
Crop the food storage area of the digestive system
Crustaceans a group of arthropods that are mainly marine and include crabs, shrimps and woodlice.
Crypsis Camouflage be resembling features in the surrounding environment
Cryptic colouration colouration and markings that make it difficult to spot the animal from its surroundings
Cryptobiosis The ability to survive in severe conditions by assuming a very low metabolic rate, e.g. as in some nematoda, and most tardigrada. Living in concealment, e.g. in wood, underground.
Ctenophora Comb jellies and sea gooseberries
Cull To reduce in number a breeding group of animals by removing those seen as inferior, or killing selected individuals.
Curculionidae Weevils
Cuticle the outermost layers of the integument
Cyanobacteria Photosynthetic prokaryotes, blue-green algae.
Cynipidae Gall wasps
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