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Rainforest Glossary - T: Zoom RainforestsRainforest Glossary - L: Zoom RainforestsRainforest Glossary - P: Zoom RainforestsRainforest Glossary - C: Zoom RainforestsRainforest Glossary - H: Zoom RainforestsToday's featured page: Animals



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B

babirusa

The babirusa (Babyrousa babyrussa) is a tusked, almost hairless, grey-to-brown mammal found in wet tropical forests near rivers and cane breaks of Indonesian islands (in southeast Asia), including Sulawesi, Togian, Sulu, and Buru. The name babirusa means "pig-deer." Adults range from 2.8-3.6 feet long, plus a tail 8-12.8 inches long. They weigh from 95-220 pounds. The two pairs of hooked tusks point upwards and backwards from the lower and upper jaw; they are up to about 12.5 inches long (females have much smaller tusks). The ears and eyes are small, the skin is wrinkled, and the snout is pig-like. Babirusa eat fruit, leaves, roots, insect larvae, fungi, and nuts (the stomach has an extra sack to help the digestion process, almost like that of a ruminant). Dogs and people are their main predators. The life span is from 10-20 years. The babirusa is related to hippos (although it looks more like a pig). This species is listed as vulnerable.

background extinctions

Background extinctions are those extinctions that occur continually throughout time. These extinctions are caused by small changes in climate or habitat, depleted resources, competition, and other changes that require adaptation and flexibility. Most extinctions (perhaps up to 95 per cent of all extinctions) occur as background extinctions.

Bacterium

(plural - bacteria) Bacteria are one-celled, microscopic organisms that live all over the world. They are important in the decay of organic material and in the fixing of nitrogen.
banded orange butterfly

banded orange butterfly

The banded orange butterfly, also called the oak tiger butterfly (Dryadula phaetusa) is an orange and black butterfly found from Northern Mexico to Brazil. The undersides of the wings have brown and tan stripes. Classification: Family Nymphalidae, Genus Dryadula, Species D. phaetusa.


basilisk

A South American lizard that can walk on water.


Batesian mimicry

Batesian mimicry is when a non-poisonous species has markings similar to a non-related poisonous species and gains protection from this similarity. Since many predators have become sick from eating a poisonous animal, they will avoid any similar-looking animals in the future. An example is the Viceroy which mimics the poisonous Monarch (as it turns out, though, the Viceroy is also distasteful, so it is a Mullerian mimic). Henry Walter Bates defined this type of mimicry in 1861.
1,000,000,000

billion
A billion is a thousand million. Multicellular life evolved on Earth about a billion years ago.

binomial nomenclature

Binomial nomenclature is a system developed by Linnaeus for giving organisms scientific names in which each organism has a genus name (always capitalized) and a species name (not capitalized). For example, people are Homo sapiens. Dinosaurs are the only animals that are commonly known by their scientific name, e.g., Tyrannosaurus rex.


binturong

A dark, furry mammal from rainforests of southeast Asia.

biodiversity

Biodiversity is the abundance of different plant and animal species found in an environment.

biomass

A biomass is the total amount of living material in a region. It is calculated by adding up the weights of all of the individuals.

biome

A biome is a complex community of plants and animals in a region and a climate. The Earth has many different environments, varying in temperature, moisture, light, and many other factors. Each of these habitats has distinct life forms living in it, forming complex communities of interdependent organisms. Some land biomes include tundra, taiga, temperate deciduous forest, desert, chaparral, tropical rainforest, temperate rainforest, etc. Some water biomes include coral reefs, temperate ponds, intertidal zones, etc.

biota

Biota is the animal and plant life of an area.


biped

Bipeds walk on two legs. People are bipeds; so are birds.

bird

Birds have feathers and wings. They may be the descendants of theropod dinosaurs.


black caiman

The black caiman is a large, meat-eating reptiles from fresh water habitats in South America, including the Amazon basin.


blue Morpho butterfly

The Blue Morpho butterfly (Morpho menelaus) is a species of neotropical butterflies that have iridescent blue wings (the females are are not as brilliantly colored as the males and have a brown edge with white spots surrounding the iridescent blue area). The undersides (visible when the butterfly is resting) are brown with bronze-colored eyespots. Adults drink the juices of rotting fruit. The caterpillar of the Blue Morpho is red-brown with bright patches of lime-green on the back, and nocturnally (at night) eats the plant Erythroxylum pilchrum. Blue Morphos live in rainforests from Brazil to Venezuela. Blue Morphos belong to the Family Nymphalidae, Genus Morpho, and species menelaus.


blue-tongued skink

An Australian lizard with a long, blue tongue.

boa constrictor

A large constricting snake from South and Central America.

bones

Bones are made of hard minerals like calcium. Bones fossilize well.


bongo

The bongo is a large, striped antelope from African forests.


bonobo

Bonobos are closely related to chimpanzees. They are very intelligent, peaceful primates.

bromeliad

Bromeliads are a group of plants that have stiff, waxy leaves that form a cup-shaped body. This "cup" catches and retains water during wet weather, and the plant uses this water to live through dry spells. Most bromeliads are xerophytes (able to tolerate a dry environment) and epiphytes (living attached to another plant and not rooted in the ground). Classification: Division Magnoliophyta (Angioperms), Class Liliopsida (monocots), Subclass Zingiberidae, Order Bromeliales, Family Bromeliaceae (Bromeliads). Bromeliads were named for the Swedish botanist Olaus Bromelius (1639-1705).

brown violet-ear hummingbird

The rare The brown violet-ear hummingbird (Colibri delphinae) is a tiny, nectar-eating bird found in rainforests of South America and Central America. Classification: Class Aves, Order Apodiformes, Family Trochilidae (hummingbirds), Subfamily Trochilnae, Genus Colibri, Species delphinae.

browser

A browser is an herbovorous animal that eats tall foliage (leaves or trees and shrubs). Browsers generally don't kill the plant they eat. Deer are browsers.

bush dog

The bush dog, Speothos venaticus, is a wild dog that lives in forests and wet savannas of Central America and South America. This unusual canine is also called the vinegar dog. It has a wide face, short, rounded ears, short legs, a stock body, and a brown coat. The feet are webbed; this dog is a good swimmer. The bush dog is 22 to 29 inches (57-75 cm) long plus a tail that is 4-6 inches (12-15 cm) long. This very social dog lives in groups of about 10 individuals. It hunts in packs, and eats large rodents, like the agouti and dasyprocta.
butterfly

butterfly

Butterflies are flying insects with two pairs of wings, a proboscis, and clubbed antennae. They belong to the Order Lepidoptera and the Family Rhopalocera. Many butterflies live in rainforests. They usually live in the understory near the forest floor. As larvae (caterpillars) they eat leaves, as adults they sip flower nectar or the liquid from rotting fruit.

buttress or buttress roots

Buttresses (also called buttressed roots) are tree trunk/root supports that grow from the base of the tree's trunk amd help hold up tall trees in rainforests. The also help the tree ansorb more nutrients. Buttresses are needed to stabilize the tree because the soil is shallow (only a few inches deep) and the tree roots do not penetrate very deeply into the earth. Buttressed roots can be as much as 15 ft (4.5 m) above the ground.
1,000,000,000


bya
"bya" is an abbreviation for billions of years ago.

Zoom Rainforests
Rainforest Glossary
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