Animal Info - Glossary C

Caatinga
Dry thorn scrub habitat found in northeastern Brazil.
Cache
(noun) A hidden store of food; (verb) to hide food for future use.
Camera Trapping
A method of observing hard-to-see animals by taking their pictures automatically, using remote cameras triggered when the animal interrupts an infrared light beam.
Canid
A member of the family Canidae, which includes the dogs, foxes, jackals and wolves.
Canopy
A relatively continuous layer in forests resulting from the intermingling of branches of trees; it may be continuous ("closed") or broken by gaps ("open").
Carapace
A hard, protective outer covering of the back or part of the back of an animal (such as a crab).
Caravaning
A behavior practiced by some animals, such as shrews, where the young follow each other, or the mother, in single file, each one holding on to the tail or hind end of the one in front of it with its teeth.
Carnivore
A meat-eating animal.
Carrion
The dead and rotting body of an animal.
Cataracts
Steep rapids in a river.
Cathemeral
Refers to an animal that is active during both daytime and nighttime.  The relative proportions of daytime and nighttime activity may vary with the seasons.
Caudal gland
An enlarged skin gland associated with the root of the tail.
Cellulose
The fundamental constituent of the cell wall of all green plants. It is tough and fibrous and is the principal structural material of plants.
Cephalopod
Any of a group of marine mollusks (including the squids, cuttlefishes, and octopuses) that move by expelling water from a tubular siphon under the head and that have a group of muscular, usually sucker-bearing, arms around the front of the head, highly developed eyes, and usually a sac containing ink which is ejected for defense or concealment (Merriam-Webster Online).
Cerrado
A dry savanna region in central Brazil dotted with patches of sparsely wooded vegetation.
Cervid
A member of the deer family of the artiodactyls.
Cetacean
A whale, dolphin or porpoise.
Chaco
A lowland plains area in Bolivia and Paraguay containing soils carried down from the Andes. It is characterized by dry deciduous forest and scrub, transitional between rain forest & pampas grasslands.
Chaparral
Referring to the vegetation in an area with a Mediterranean climate where the vegetation is dominated by broad-leafed evergreen shrubs with hard or waxy leaves. In South America it includes the scrub ecotone between forest and paramo.
CITES
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora was negotiated in 1973 and originally signed by 85 countries. By March 2005 the total number of participating countries had risen to 167. "It is designed to promote conservation of endangered species while allowing commerce in species of wildlife that can withstand the pressures of trade. The convention has three categories of protection. Under its Appendix I, commercial trade in species that are threatened with extinction is generally prohibited. These species may be traded only under special conditions (usually for scientific research or display purposes). Such transactions require both an import permit from CITES authorities in the recipient country and an export permit from authorities in the country of origin...

CITES allows conditional commercial trade in species that are not yet endangered but merit monitoring. These species are listed on Appendix II and may be traded only with an export permit from their country of origin...

A third appendix to CITES is intended to help individual countries gain international cooperation in protecting native species. Any country may place a native plant or animal on Appendix III, making the species conditionally tradable. The species may not be traded without either an export permit from its native country (if that country listed it on Appendix III) or a certificate of origin (if it comes from a country that did not list it)." (Fitzgerald 1989)

Cline
A gradual change in a physical characteristic (e.g. size) within a species across its geographical distribution.
Cloud forest
Moist, high-altitude forest characterized by dense understory growth, and abundance of ferns, mosses, orchids and other plants on the trunks and branches of the trees.
Coefficient of variation (CV)
The standard deviation divided by the mean.
Colonial
Referring to animals that live together in colonies.
Commensalism
A one-sided relationship between two species, in which only one benefits and the other is neither benefited nor harmed (e.g. epiphytes such as orchids).
Confidence Interval (CI)
An interval (range of values) such that there is a specific probability that a parameter (e.g. the mean) lies within that interval.  E.g., a "95% confidence interval"  for the mean is a interval such that the probability of the mean lying with that interval is 0.95. The Upper Confidence Limit (Upper CL) and Lower Confidence Limit (Lower CL) refer to the upper and lower ends of the Confidence Interval.
Confluence
A place where two streams flow together to form one larger stream.
Congener
A member of the same species or genus.
Coniferous
Relating to cone-bearing trees.
Coniferous forest
A forest consisting mostly of conifers such as firs, pines and spruces, usually in climates too dry or too cold to support deciduous forest.
Conspecific
Being a member of the same species.
Contiguous
Referring to areas that are connected to each other.
Convex
Curved or rounded like the outside of a sphere or circle.
Copepod
A small marine crustacean only a few millimeters (less than 1/8") in diameter.
Cordillera
A system of mountain ranges often consisting of a number of more or less parallel chains.
Crepuscular
Appearing or becoming active at twilight or just before sunrise.
Crude density
The number (or biomass) per unit total space (see "Ecological Density").
Crustacean
A member of a class within the Arthropods which has five pairs of legs, two pairs of antennae, head and thorax joined, and calcareous deposits in the exoskeleton (e.g. crayfish, crabs, and shrimp).
Cryptic
Referring to behavior or coloration that tends to conceal an animal.
Cud
Food brought back up into the mouth by an animal from its first stomach to be chewed again (see "Ruminant").
Cursorial
Refers to an animal possessing limbs adapted for running.
Cyanogenic
Capable of producing cyanide (as hydrogen cyanide).

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Last modified: June 18, 2006;

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