Describes the behavior of being active during the day
aestivate The behavior of laying dormant in the Summer to avoid heat or drought
albinism A genetic condition that manifests as a lack of pigment
allochthonus Not native
amelanistic Lacking in dark pigment
amphibian Member of the class amphibia. Amphibians are characterized by having two distictive life stages. An aquatic larval stage as a tadpole, and an adult, often terrestial, stage. Amphibians also have porous un-scaled skin.
anerythristic Lacking in red pigment
antivenin The medicinal treatment for envenomation
anuran A frog or toad. Sometimes also called "anurid".
aquatic Describes the lifestyle of living in and around water.
arborial Describes animals that climb and live in trees
autecology The study of the ecology of a particular species
barbel A small fleshy protuberance on the chin and/or throat of some turtles
basking Laying in the direct rays of the sun for thermoregulatory or theraputic reasons
binomial A scientific name consisting of two parts, a genus and a species
biota The living organisms in a given area
carapace The dorsal portion of a turtle shell
carnivorous Meat eating
carrying-capacity The total amount of biomass a particular habitat can support. When the carrying capacity is exceeded, the habitat stabilizes through atrition.(see habitat)
chelonian A turtle or tortoise
cloaca The common cavity and orofice where digestive, urinary and reproductive products are passed.
colubrid Snakes belonging to the taxonomic family Colubridae.
crepuscular Describes the behavior of being active during twighlight hours(dusk or dawn)
crocodilian A corcodile, alligator, caiman, or gahrial.
crotalin Snakes belonging to the taxonomic family Viperidae, but of the sub-family Crotalinae. These are the pit-vipers.
cryptic Describes the behavior of remaining hidden
cytotoxin A chemical toxin that acts directly on the body tissue. It is the most physically destructive component of snake venom.
deciduous Falling off or shedding at a particular stage of growth
detritus The organic result of the decay of plants
dewlap The fleshy, sometimes extensible, throat fans on some lizards
diurnal Describes the behavior of being active during the day.
DOR/DOA Acronym for Dead On Road/Dead on Arrival. Used when accounting a find while field herping(usually by road cruising).
ectothermic Refers to animals that must actively regulate their own body temperature (see thermoregulation). Also known as "cold-blooded".
egg tooth A deciduous small and sharp protuberance on the front of the mouth that is used to cut through the egg shell by a hatchling reptile.
elapid Snakes belonging to the taxonomic family Elapidae. All members are venomous and some are amongst the most deadly on earth.
endemic The exclusive occurence of an organism in a particular region
envenomation The result of a bite or sting from a venomous animal where venom is injected into the body.
erythristic having a dominance of red pigment
evolution The scientific theory that organisms change into new organisms as a result of cumulative adaptation
extinct Having completely died out of existence.
extirpated Having been completely eliminated from a particular geographical range
fecundity The average number of delivered offspring
flipping The act of looking for herps under objects by turning them over.
fossil The petrified remains of an organism
fossorial Describes animals that burrow
habitat The place where an animal lives. Habitat provides food, water, shelter and space.(see carrying capacity)
hemotoxin A chemical toxin that affects the blood. Hemotoxins can either cause or inhibit coagulation.
herp Short for herpetofauna, derived from Greek, it refers to reptiles and amphibians.
leucism A genetetic aberration  where the animal is devoid of pattern and of color, often making it appear to be snow white.
marine Describes the lifestyle of living in the ocean.
myotoxin A chemical toxin that destroys muscle tissue
neurotoxin A chemical toxin that affects the nervous system. Neurotoxins from snakes usually act on the central nervous system and can shut down the cardio-vascular sysytem.
nocturnal Describes the behavior of being active at night
ophidian A snake. From the greek ophis
opisthoglyphic Refers to the fang mechanism of rear-fanged colubrids.
osmoreguation Behavior that has the purpose of keeping moisture in the body balanced
oviparous Refers to the reproductive method of egg laying. Eggs are deposited in a nest and have a thick hard or leathery shell.
ovoviviparous Refers to the reproductive method of egg-bearing. Eggs are retained in the body until hatching so as to appear to give live birth (see viviparous). An ovoviviparous animal's umbellical cord is connected to a yolk as opposed to getting nutrition directly from the mother.
parthenogenic Refers to higher animals that reproduce asexually; that is, they are all female and automatically produce fertile eggs when mature without coupling with a male.
petrification The process by which organic material is substituted with rock, thereby making a stone copy of the original.
pit In Crotalins, a recess in the face between the eye and nostril that contains a heat-sensing organ.
pit-viper refers to Crotalins. Vipers that have pits.
plastron The underside or bottom portion of a turtle shell
predatory Describes the behavior of killing and eating other animals
prehensile Acharacteristic of an appendage where the appendage curls so as to facilitate grasping
proteroglyphous Describes the fang mechanism of venomous snakes that have relatively short fangs fixed at the front of the maxillae.  This is characteristic of elapids.
reptile Members of the class reptilia. Reptiles are characterized by thick skin that has scutes or scales. Reptiles tend to be terrestrialy based, and do not require water for their normal life cycle.
road cruising A method of field herping that involves driving a vehicle along roads, hoping to come across reptiles or amphibians
saurian A lizard.
solenoglyphous Describes the complex fang mechanism where the fangs are relatively long, moveable (they fold against the roof of the mouth) and are ususally the only teeth on the maxillae. This mechanism is characteristic or viperids.
sympatric Describes species that live in the same geographical location
torpor The dormant, inactive state of a hibernating or aestivating animal
thermoregulation Behavior that maintains the body temperature within acceptable ranges. (see ectothermic)
venom A chemical agent produced by some animals that is meant to be injected into the body of another animal and that usually has a destructive effect.
venomous Describes a plant or animal that produces a venom.
ventrals The broad scales on the underside of a snake that run rom the throatr to the cloaca.
verdant Green with vegetation.
viperid A snake belonging to the taxonomic family Viperidae. Viperids are all venomous and have characteristic folding fangs. This family also contains the crotalins.
viviparous refers to the reproductive method of directly bearing young giving birth to young as opposed to eggs.(see oviparous and ovoviviparous)
xanthism Genetic aberrant coloration where yellow or red predominates.
xeric Describes a dry habitat.

Home * Contact * Contents