Glossary of Terms

abdomen
The rear section of a grasshopper, housefly or other insect.

adaptation
The structures or behaviors of an organism that are suited to a particular environment.

antenna
One of a pair of "feelers"on an insect's head. (plural: antennae)

anus
The opening at the end of an animal's digestive system where waste leaves the body.

backbone
A chain of small bones that run along the center of the back of a vertebrate. Also called the spine or spinal column.

biomechanical
The application of mechanics and machinery knowledge to the struc ture and functions of living things.

bone
The hard tissue that forms the skeleton of vertebrates.

brain
The organ in an animal's head that controls and regulates the body's activities.

calcar
A spur on the inner side of a bat's ankle that helps support the wing membrane.

camouflage
A way of hiding by blending in with the surrounding environment.

cartilage
A tough, flexible tissue that supports the fins of a platypus, as well as your nose.

chromatophores
Special skin cells that change a chameleon's color.

cloaca
An organ into which an animal's digestive, urinary and reproductive systems empty, and that opens to the anus.

cold blooded
Having a body temperature that rises or falls with the temperature of the surrounding environment.

compound eye
An eye that's made up of many tiny, simple eyes that work together to form an image.

crop
A saclike area in an insect's gut where food is stored before it's digested.

digestion
The breaking down of food into forms the body can use.

echolocation
A system that bats use to navigate and find food.They give off high pitched sounds, then interpret the echoes.

endoskeleton
A skeleton that's inside the body (like your skeleton).

engineering
The design, construction and operation of structures and machines, using scientific principles.

esophagus
The tube that leads from the throat to the stomach or crop.

exoskeleton
The hard outer covering that makes up the skeleton of insects and some other animals.

evolution
The change in the genetic make-up of a population of organisms over time.This process of change is driven by natural selection.

feathers
A bird's body covering. Each feather is made up of a hollow rod with two rows of light, soft barbs.

femur
The third segment of an insect's leg.

fur
The hairy coat of a mammal.

ganglia
Groups of nerve cells that act as brains in insects.

gills
The breathing organs of a water living animal. Gills exchange gases between body fluids and the surrounding water.

hair
A mammal's outermost covering, made up of threadlike growths on the skin.

horn
The hard, pointed structure that grows on the head of some animals and is used for self-defense.

humerus
The upper bone of an animal's front leg.

insect
An animal that breathes air, has anexoskeleton, three body segments, three pairs of legs, two sets of wings (usually),a pair of antennae and compound eyes.

intestines
The tubelike part of the digestive system between the stomach or crop and the cloaca or anus.

invertebrate
An animal that has no backbone.

keratin
The tough protein that makes up hair, nails, scales, horns and hooves.

labra / labia
The upper and lower plates that form insects' lips.

larynx
1. The part of the respiratory (breathing) system that contains an animal's "voice box."
2. The "voice box" of some animals.

machine
A human-made system or device made up of fixed and moving parts that perform tasks.

mammal
A warm-blooded vertebrate that grows hair on its skin and (in females) produces milk for its young.

mandible
One of a pair of jaws in insects and beaked animals, such as the giant squid.

manus
The end of a giant squid tentacle.

maxilla
One of a pair of mouthparts located just behind an insect's mandibles.

muscle
Body tissue made up of bundles of cells or fibers that move body parts by lengthening and shortening.

nerves
Long fibers or bundles of fibers that transmit messages between the brain and the rest of the body.

nervous system
The system of nerves, ganglia and (in vertebrates) the spinal cord and brain. It regulates and coordinates all the body's activities.

organism
A living being.

ovary
The organ that produces eggs in females.

pharynx
The part of the digestive tract that connects the mouth with the esophagus.

prehensile
Adapted for holding, especially by wrapping around, like a chameleon's tail.

pretarsals
The last segment of an insect's legs.

proboscis
A long, tubelike structure on an invertebrate's head.

radula
The tooth-lined tongue of a giant squid.

reptile
A cold-blooded vertebrate that lays eggs and has scales or plates on its skin.

respiration
The interchange of gases between a cell and its environment, or between an animal and its environ ment (known as breathing).

robot
A mechanical device that resembles a living animal and moves automat ically or by remote control.

scale
One of the small, platelike structures that cover reptiles.

skeleton
A hard structure that supports and shapes an animal.

specimen
An individual in group, used as an example of the whole.

spinal cord
The central pathway of a vertebrate's nervous system, it runs from the brain through the backbone.

spiracles
The openings on an insect's sides where air enters the respiratory system.

stomach
A saclike organ that digests food.

tentacle
One of a pair of long, thin, flexible structures that giant squid use to feel and to grab food.

thorax
The middle segment of an insect, where the legs and wings attach.

tibia
The fourth segment of an insect's leg.

trachea
A tube that carries air to the lungs (in a vertebrate) or to other body tissues (in an insect).

ultrasonic
A sound frequency that's too high for humans to hear.

vertebra
One of a chain of bones that make up the backbone. (plural: vertebrae)

vertebrate
An animal that has a backbone.

warm blooded
Having a warm, constant body temperature that doesn't depend on the outside environment.