Vocabulary: Weird, Wacky and Wild

Definitions and Context

Adaptation: traits developed over time that help organisms meet their basic needs and survive.
Context: The adaptation of fast breathing allows the hummingbird to get the oxygen it needs.

Camouflage: coloring or marks that help an animal blend into its surroundings to hide from predators or prey.
Context: As part of their camouflage, many fish and sharks have lighter coloring underneath and darker coloring above so underwater predators or prey looking up toward the sun don't see them well, and from up above, they are equally hard to spot as they blend into the darkness below.

Diversity: wide variety of plants and/or animals occurring in one place.
Context: The animal diversity in Texas includes both rare and common species.

Morphology: description of an organism's form and structure, with special emphasis on external features.
Context: Some creatures have wacky morphology while others have wacky color or behavior.

Musk: An oily substance with a strong, persistent odor from special glands by some animals.
Context: Skunks are not the only producers of musk, some snakes and turtles secrete it too.

Nymph: an immature insect that differs from the adult in size, wings, or reproductive features.
Context: A grasshopper undergoes incomplete metamorphosis, the larva is a nymph - just a smaller version of the adult with no wings; a butterfly undergoes complete metamorphosis, the larva is a caterpillar - nothing like the winged beauty it will grow up to be.

Proboscis: a long flexible snout or mouth part.
Context: The acorn weevil has little jaws at the end of its proboscis that allows it to drill a deep hole into an acorn.

Species: a population of animals that are more or less alike and that are able to breed and produce fertile offspring under natural conditions; a category of biological classification immediately below the genus or subgenus.
Context: The Calliope hummingbird is the smallest bird species in Texas.

Survive: stay alive.
Context: All living things need habitat; food, water, shelter, and space in a proper arrangement to survive.


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