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All About Rainforests!

Geography
Introduction to Rainforests Layers or Strata Where are Rainforests? Animals of the Rainforest Rainforest Glossary Printables, Worksheets, and Activities

Rainforest Glossary
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Click on an underlined word for more information on that subject.
If the rainforest term you are looking for is not in the dictionary, please e-mail us.

M


MAGNETIC FIELD

The Earth's magnetic field is aligned with the north and south poles, and has reversed many times during geologic history. A fossil's magnetic orientation can give clues to its date.


MALOCA

A maloca is a communal house or hut. The Yanomamo tribe, for example, built maloca where many tribe members live.


MALPIGHIAN TUBULES

Malpighian tubules clean an insect's blood and deposit the waste into the hindgut for eventual excretion.


MAMMAL

Mammals are warm-blooded animals with hair that nourish their young with milk. Mammals evolved during the Triassic period. People are mammals.


MANDIBLES

Mandibles are the jaws of the caterpillar. The mandibles bite off plant material and tear it into small, easily digestible pieces.


MANDRILL

Mandrills are large, brightly-colored monkeys.
MANGROVE FOREST
A mangrove forest is an expanse of mangrove trees. These trees live along the shore in tropical waters with their roots in the salt water.
MANUS
Manus is the scientific term for the hand (or forefoot) of a vertebrate animal.


MARGAY

The margay (Felis wiedii) is a nocturnal (most active at night) wild cat that lives in the canopy of tropical rainforests in Belize. This large-eyed cat is an excellent tree climber that gets much of its prey in the trees; it hunts monkeys, rats, opossums, squirrels, reptiles, and birds. The Margay weighs up to about 20 pounds; it is about 2 feet long plus an 18 inch tail. It is an endangered species.


MARSUPIAL

Marsupials are an order of mammals that have a pouch that carries the young. Kangaroos, wallabies, koala, wombats, and opossums are marsupials.

MASSARANDUBA TREE

The Massaranduba tree (Manilkara bidentata)), also called the cow tree, macaranduba, bulletwood, and balata, is a large rainforest tree whose sap is milky white and is edible. Its fruit is also edible. This tree grows to about 100 to 150 feet tall and has a diameter of 2 to 6 feet. The tree's unusual bark is deeply-scored, reddish and ragged. The bark is used to produce a red dye. Many Massaranduba trees are in the rainforest are being harvested for its durable lumber.

MASS EXTINCTION

Mass extinction is the process in which huge numbers of species die out suddenly. The dinosaurs (and many other species) went extinct during the K-T extinction.


MECONIUM

Meconium is the red fluid that butterflies and moths eject after they leave the chrysalis.


METAMORPHIC ROCK

Metamorphic rocks are compacted by pressure and heat from deep inside the earth.


MICROPYLE

The micropyle is the large depression at the top of a butterfly's egg. This small pit marks where the sperm entered the egg. While the egg is developing, air and water enter the egg through the micropyle.


MIGRATION

Migration is the movement of a large group of an animal species across many miles to avoid adverse conditions. Many butterflies migrate in order to avoid cold weather. Butterfly migration is not well understood. Most migrate relatively short distances (like the Painted Lady, the Red Admiral, and the Common Buckeye), but a few (like the Monarch) migrate thousands of miles.
1,000,000

MILLION

A million is a thousand thousand. The dinosaurs lived millions of years ago.
millipede

MILLIPEDE

Segmented plant-eaters with many, many legs.


MIMETIC GROUP

A mimetic group or ring is a group of unrelated species that have similar markings which benefits all in the group as they gain protection from predators. Many predators may have gotten sick from eating one of the poisonous species and will avoid all similar looking animals in the future. An example of a mimetic group is the pipe-vine swallowtail, the red-spotted purple, and a few other swallowtails.


MIMICRY

Mimicry is when two unrelated species have similar markings. Batesian mimicry is when a non-poisonous species has markings similar to a 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. Müllerian mimicry is when two poisonous species have similar markings; fewer insects need to be sacrificed in order to teach the predators not to eat these unpalatable animals.


MOLT

When an animal molts it loses its old skin or exoskeleton and grows a larger one to replace it. Caterpillars molt many times during their development.


MONARCH BUTTERFLY

The Monarch (Danaus plexippus) is a common poisonous butterfly found worldwide, that eats milkweed in its larval stage and lays eggs on the poisonous milkweed plant. Monarchs have a wingspan of 3 3/8 - 4 7/8 inches (8.6 - 12.4 cm).

MONERA

Monera is a prokaryotic kingdom (separate from the plant kingdom) that includes the earliest forms of life on Earth, like archaebacteria (the oldest types of bacteria), eubacteria (like E. coli), and cyanobacteria (blue-green bacteria).
MONSOON
A monsoon is a seasonal reversal of the prevailing winds in the tropical and subtropical areas of Asia, Australia and Africa. In a monsoon, moisture-laden clouds blow from over the ocean onto the land, causing heavy rains and flooding.


MORPHO BUTTERFLY

Morpho butterflies are a genus of neotropical butterflies, most of whom have iridescent blue wings (the females are are not so brilliantly colored). There are many type of morphos, including the Brazilian Morpho (Morpho aega), Blue Morpho (Morpho menelaus), Common Morpho (Morpho peleides), Cramer's Blue Morpho (Morpho rhetenor), Giant Blue Morpho (Morpho didius, the largest morpho), Mother-of-Pearl Morpho (Morpho laertes, a white morpho), and others. Morphos belong to the Family Nymphalidae, Genus Morpho.


MOSQUITO

Mosquitos are flying insects that live in moist areas and can often carry diseases.


MOTH

Moths are winged insects that belong to the Order Lepidoptera. Moths have feathered antennae (not clubbed antennae like butterflies), a frenulum or jugum, and are generally dull colored. There are over 100,000 moth species alive today.

MINERAL

A mineral is a naturally-occurring solid of definite chemical composition whose atoms usually form a regular pattern.


MULLERIAN MIMICRY

Müllerian mimicry is when two unrelated poisonous species have similar markings. Since many predators have become sick from eating a poisonous animal, they will avoid any similar looking animals in the future. Fewer insects need to be sacrificed in order to teach the predators not to eat these unpalatable animals.

MUTUALISM

Mutualism is an association between two different species of organisms in which both benefit from the association. An example of mutualism is the relationship between bees and the flowers they sip nectar from- the bees get nectar from the flower and the flower gets pollinated by the bees. Mutualism used to be called symbiosis (which is now a more general term).
1,000,000

MYA
"mya" stands for millions of years ago.

Zoom Rainforests
Rainforest Glossary
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Click on an underlined word for more information on that subject.
If the rainforest term you are looking for is not in the dictionary, please e-mail us.

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