Vocabulary

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Definitions and Context

Adaptation: traits developed over time that help organisms meet their basic needs and survive.
Context: The adaptation of big eyes allows the ocelot to see well in dim light.

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

Endangered species: An animal or plant species in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
Context: Since there are only about 100 ocelots in Texas, they may become extinct in Texas; they are endangered.

Extinct species: There are no living individuals of the species
Context: The last passenger pigeon in the world died in a zoo in 1914; now the species is extinct.

Extirpated: extinct in a geographic area
Context: The population of Gray wolves is growing in some parts of the United States, but they are extirpated in Texas. No one has seen a Gray Wolf in the wild in many, many years.

Generalist: organisms that can use a wide variety of food, water sources and living spaces
Context: Raccoons are generalists; they make their habitat in the wild or in your backyard.

Habitat: place where an animal or plant naturally lives or grows, eats, drinks, and finds the shelter it needs
Context: The golden-cheeked warbler finds its habitat in the oak cedar woodlands of central Texas.

Native: a species that historically grows or lives in an area
Context: Native plants seldom need to be watered so they are a good choice for a garden.

Population: the number of individuals of a particular species in a defined area.
Context: The population of Ocelots in Texas is about 100.

Specialist: organisms that have very specific requirements for food, water sources or living spaces. They often utilize a very specialized food source or living space and are very successful as long as the food or space is available.
Context: Endangered species are often specialists that have lost their unique food or homes

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: Black-capped vireo and golden-cheeked warbler are two different bird species that depend on central Texas habitat to survive.

Threatened species: an animal or plant species likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range
Context: If we can protect threatened species' habitats now, we may be able to prevent their becoming endangered.


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