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Adipose – fatty tissue.
Agamid – any of numerous Old World lizards of the family Agamidae, related to the iguanids.
Allantois – a vascular sac that develops as a sac or diverticulum from the ventral wall of the hindgut in the embryos of mammals, birds, and reptiles and is important in the formation of the umbilical cord and placenta in mammals.
Amniote – The amniotes are the tetrapod vertebrates that include the Synapsida (mammals and mammal-like reptiles) and Sauropsida (reptiles and dinosaurs, including birds). They are defined by embryonic development that includes the formation of several extensive membranes - the amnion, chorion, and allantois.
Amphicoelous vertebrae – vertebrae with two concave surfaces.
Anatomy – the structure of an animal or plant, or of any of its parts.
Antibody – any of a large variety of proteins normally present in the body or produced in response to an antigen which it neutralises, thus producing an immune response.
Antigen – a substance that when introduced into the body stimulates the production of an antibody. Antigens include toxins, bacteria, foreign blood cells, and the cells of transplanted organs.
Arches – an organ or structure having a curved or bowlike appearance.
Archosauria – a large subclass of diapsid reptiles including: crocodiles, alligators, and many dinosaurs.
Autotomy - the spontaneous casting off of a limb or other body part, such as the tail of certain reptiles, especially when the organism is injured or under attack.
Carnivore – an organism that primarily eats flesh.
Caruncle – a fleshy growth. Sometimes referred to as an egg tooth, although that is not strictly correct.
Cone cells – one of the cone-shaped cells in the retina of the eye, sensitive to colour and intensity of light.
Copulation – sexual intercourse.
Desiccate – to dry up or cause to dry up by depriving or exhausting moisture.
Diencephalon – posterior section of the forebrain.
Diurnal – active by day.
Ectoparasite – parasites found on the surface of the body.
Endemic – belonging exclusively or confined to a particular place or region.
Endoparasite – parasites found within the body.
Extant – in existence; not destroyed or lost.
Extinct – no longer in existence.
Gastralia – abdominal ribs.
Haemoparasites – parasites found in the blood.
Helminth – a parasitic worm.
Incubation – to maintain (eggs, organisms, or living tissue) at optimal environmental conditions for growth and development.
Indeterminant growth – when an animal continues to grow throughout its life where resources allow.
Inseminate – to introduce or inject semen into the reproductive tract of (a female).
Intromittent organ – an appendage used during sexual intercourse, such as a penis in mammals.
Iris– the coloured portion of the eye containing a circular opening (the pupil) in its centre, and regulates the amount of light entering the eye.
Lepidosauria – diapsid reptiles, including lizards, snakes and tuatara.
Longevity – the length or duration of life.
Metabolism – the chemical processes occurring within a living cell or organism that are necessary for the maintenance of life. In metabolism some substances are broken down to yield energy for vital processes while other substances, necessary for life, are synthesized.
Nictitating membrane - a thin membrane, or inner or third eyelid, present in many animals, capable of being drawn across the eyeball, as for protection.
Optic nerve – the nerve that carries electrical signals from the retina in the eye to the brain.
Order – order is the name for groups that living organisms are assigned. The four orders of reptiles include Sphenodontia (tuatara), Crocodilia (crocodiles and alligators), Squamata (snakes and lizards) and Chelonia (turtles and tortoises).
Pelvis – the structure of the vertebrate skeleton supporting the lower limbs in humans and the hind limbs or corresponding parts in other vertebrates.
Pineal gland – a small, cone-shaped organ in the brain of most vertebrates that secretes the hormone melatonin. In some animals it is connected with a rudimentary eye and in other animals it is supposed to be the remnant of a dorsal median eye.
Posterior – at or near the hind end in quadrupeds or toward the spine in primates.
Protozoa – any of a large group of one-celled organisms (called protists) that live in water or as parasites. Protozoans include the amoebas, flagellates, foraminiferans, and ciliates.
Retina – the innermost coat of the posterior part of the eyeball that receives the image produced by the lens, is continuous with the optic nerve, and consists of several layers, one of which contains the rod cells and cone cells that are sensitive to light.
Rod cells – one of the rod-shaped cells in the retina of the eye, more sensitive to light than cone cells and responsible for the ability to see in dim light. Do not contribute greatly to the perception of colour.
Rookery – a breeding place or colony of animals, especially birds.
Sclera – a dense, white, fibrous membrane that (with the cornea) forms the external covering of the eyeball.
Sexually dimorphic – where males and females of a species are morphologically different.
Snout-vent length (SVL) – a measurement of size taken from the tip of an animal’s nose to the opening of the cloaca at the tail base.
Tapetum lucidum – a layer in the choroid chiefly of nocturnal animals that reflects light causing the eyes to glow when light strikes them at night and that is made up of several layers of flattened cells covered by a zone of doubly refracting crystals.
Temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD) – where the sex of an individual is determined by the temperature experienced by embryos during the thermo-sensitive period of development during incubation.
Terrestrial – living on or in the ground.
Thorax - the part of the trunk in higher vertebrates between the neck and the abdomen, containing the cavity, enclosed by the ribs, sternum, and certain vertebrae, in which the heart, lungs, etc., are situated. The chest.
Uncinate process – a curved, bony projection on certain ribs of birds and tuatara that projects backward and overlaps the succeeding rib, serving to strengthen the thorax.
Ventral - situated on or toward the lower, abdominal plane of the body.
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Updated: 11 September, 2007 © 2004 Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand