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The Mammals of Texas - Online Edition


allopatric — Of populations or species occupying mutually exclusive, but usually adjacent, geographical areas.

annulation — A circular or ringlike formation, as of the dermal scales on the tail of a mammal where one ring of scales that extends entirely around the tail is succeeded, posteriorly, by other rings.

aquatic — Inhabiting or frequenting water.

arboreal — Inhabiting or frequenting trees — contrasted with fossorial, aquatic, or cursorial.

canine — Of, pertaining to, or designating the tooth next to the incisors in mammals; fang.

carnivore — An animal that preys on other animals; especially any mammal of the Order Carnivora.

cheek-teeth — Teeth behind the canines.

conch — The external ear of a mammal; sometimes the spelling is concha (plural conchae); the origin of both spellings is conch or konch, originally a bivalve shell of a marine mollusk.

cursorial — Adapted or modified for running, such as are deer.

dental formula (plural, formulae) — A brief method for expressing the number and kind of teeth of mammals. The abbreviations I (incisor), C (canine), P or Pm (premolar), and M (molar) indicate the kinds in the permanent dentition. The number of teeth in each jaw is written like a fraction; the figure in front of the diagonal line showing the number in the upper jaw and that after, the number in the lower jaw. The dental formula of an adult coyote is I 3/3, C 1/1, Pm 4/4, M 2/3 X 2 = 42.

dentition — The teeth, considered collectively, of an animal.

diurnal — Active by day; as opposed to nocturnal.

electrophoresis — A process by which enzymes are separated based on differences in electrical charge. Observed differences between or within species indicate mutation and genetic divergence over long periods of time, thus elucidating the inter-relationships of organisms.

fossorial — Fitted for digging.

gestation period — The period of carrying young in the uterus, as applied to placental mammals; the period of pregnancy.

guard hairs — The stiffer, longer hairs which grow up through the limber, shorter hairs (fur) of a mammal’s pelage.

habitat — The kind of environment in which a species or organism is normally found.

hibernation — Of an animal, torpidity especially in winter; the body temperature approximates that of the surroundings; the rate of respiration and the heart beat ordinarily are much slower than in an active mammal.

incisor — The front or cutting teeth between the canines.

inguinal — Pertaining to or in the region of the groin.

insectivorous — Eating insects; preying or feeding on insects.

interfemoral membrane — In a bat, the fold of skin stretching from hind legs to tail.

karyotype — An arrangement of chromosomes by size and morphology to detect changes in chromosomal structure and arrangement; used to aid in identification of species and subspecies within a species.

litter — The two or more young brought forth at one birth by a female mammal.

molar — Of, or pertaining to, a molar tooth. One of the teeth behind the premolar teeth; for example, in the opossum three on each side in upper jaw and in lower jaw, making 12 in all. A molar tooth is not preceded in embryological development by a deciduous (milk) tooth.

molt (moult) — In a mammal, the act or process of shedding or casting off the hair, outer layer of skin, or horns; most mammals shed the hair once, twice, or three times annually. The castoff covering (obsolete). As a verb; To be shed or to shed.

nocturnal — Active by night; as opposed to diurnal.

opposable — Capable of being placed opposite something else; said of the first toe of the hind foot in an opossum in the sense that it can be placed opposite each of the other toes on that same foot.

overhair — The longer hairs of the pelage of a mammal that project above the fur (shorter hairs).

parapatric — Pertaining to the ranges of species that are contiguous but not overlapping.

pastern — That part of the foot of a hoofed mammal from the fetlock to the hoof.

pectoral — Of, pertaining to, situated, or occurring in or on the chest.

premolar — Designating, or pertaining to, one of the teeth (a maximum of four on each side of upper jaw and lower jaw of placental mammals, or 16 in all) in front of the true molars. When canine teeth are present, premolars are behind these teeth; premolars are preceded by deciduous teeth, and in the upper jaw are confined to the maxillary bone.

rut — The breeding period, as in deer.

species — Groups of actually (or potentially) interbreeding natural populations that are reproductively isolated from other such groups. Reproductive isolation implies that interbreeding between individuals of two species normally is prevented by intrinsic factors.

subspecies — Geographically defined aggregate of local populations which differs taxonomically from other such subdivisions of the species.

sympatric — Pertaining to two or more populations which occupy overlapping geographical areas.

tarsus — The ankle.

tibia — The inner and usually the larger of the two bones of the hind limb (leg) between the knee and ankle.

torpid — Having lost most of the power of exertion; dormant. A ground squirrel is torpid when it is hibernating.

tricolor — Having three colors. Said of hair on the back of a mammal when the hair has three bands each of a different color.

underfur — The short hair of a mammal; in temperate and boreal climates the underfur ordinarily is denser, made up of more hairs, than the longer and coarser overhair.

underpart — The underneath (ventral) side of a mammal (not the back or sides), as of a wood mouse with white underparts.

upperpart — The top (dorsal) surface and all of the sides (not belly, chest or throat), as of a wood mouse with reddish-brown upperparts.

uropatagium — The interfemoral membrane of a bat; that is to say, the fold of skin that stretches from the hind legs to the tail.