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P

Butterfly head

PALPS

Palps are the mustache-like scaly mouthparts of adult butterflies that are on each side of the proboscis. These palps are covered with sensory hairs and scales, and test whether something is food or not.

PAPER KITE BUTTERFLY

The paper kite butterfly, also called the rice paper butterfly, tree nymph butterfly, or wood nymph (Idea leuconoe) is a distinctive black and white butterfly. The wingspan is 95 to 110 cm across. The chrysalis is yellow with black markings. It is from Southeast Asia. Classification: superfamily Papilionigiae, family Nymphalidae, subfamily Danainae, Genus Idea, Species I. Leuconoe.
tiger swallowtail

PAPILIONIDAE

Papilionidae are a family of butterflies more commonly known as swallowtail butterflies. They are strong fliers with three fully developed pairs of legs. Many swallowtails have distinctive tailed wings (hence the family name). They lay spherical eggs. These butterflies are found from the tropics to more temperate regions. Examples include the Ulysses and the Tiger Swallowtail.

PARASITE

A parasite is an organism (a plant or animal) that lives on another organism (the host), obtaining nutrition from it and sapping or killing the host.

PARASITISM

Parasitism is arelationship between two organisms in which one organism benefits at the other organism's expense. Lice are an example of a parasite that affects many animals; termites are a parasite that are destructive to many trees. Parasitism is a type of symbiosis.

PARASITOID

A parasitoid is an organism (a plant or animal) that lays its eggs in or on another living organism (the host). The eggs hatch and feed on the live host tissue. Some wasps are parasitoids; they lay their eggs in a caterpillar's body. When the eggs hatch, they feed on the caterpillar and eventually kill it.


PARROT

Parrots are an intelligent birds.

PARSIMONY

Parsimony is the scientific idea that the simplest explanation of a phenomenon is the best one.


PEAFOWL (Peacocks and Peahens)

Peafowl are magnificent birds from India.

PENNSYLVANIAN PERIOD

The Pennsylvanian Period lasted from 325 to 280 million years ago. During this time, the first reptiles (like Hylonomus) appeared and ferns dominated the warm, swampy landscape.

PERIOD

The period is the basic unit of geological time in which a single type of rock system is formed, lasting tens of millions of years.

PERMIAN PERIOD

The Permian period (named after the Perm Province in northeast Russia where rocks from this period were first described) is known as "The Age of Amphibians" (280 to 245 million years ago), this is when Pangaea formed and Earth's atmosphere was oxygenated to modern levels. It ended with the largest mass extinction and was followed by the Triassic period of the Mesozoic Era.
PES
Pes is the scientific term for the foot (or foot-like part) of an animal.
T. rex leg bones

PHALANGES

Phalanges are the bones in the fingers or toes. A phalanx is a single finger or toe bone.

PHEROMONE

Pheromones are chemicals secreted by some animals that cause specific reactions in other animals. Some animals. like moths, use pheronomes to attract mates.

PHOTOSYNTHESIS

Photosynthesis is the process in which plants convert sunlight into food energy (sugars and starches).

PHYLOGENY

Phylogeny is the evolutionary relationship between organisms. The phylogeny of an organism reflects the evolutionary branch that led up to the organism.

PHYLUM

In classification, a phylum is a group of related or similar organisms. A phylum contains one or more classes. A group of similar phyla (the plural of phylum) forms a Kingdom.

PINACULUM

Pinaculum (pl. pinacula) are dark, flattened plates on a caterpillar's body that bear the setae (tactile hairs).


PIRANHA

Piranhas are meat-eating, freshwater fish that are native to eastern South America.

PLANTIGRADE

Animals that are plantigrade walk in a flat-footed manner. This is a relatively slow way of walking since most of the foot comes in contact with the ground. Most reptiles (like alligators), amphibians (like frogs) and early mammals (plus people and bears) are plantigrade. (Compare with digitigrade.)


PLATE TECTONICS

Plate tectonics is the theory that chunks of the Earth's crust (plates) float on the surface and change both position and size over time.


PLATYRRHINI

The platyrrhini are the living new world monkeys (living in South and Central America and southern Mexico), like the Howler Monkeys Squirrel Monkeys, Sakis, Uakaris, Capuchin Monkeys, Woolly Monkeys, Spider Monkeys, and their relatives. They are arboreal (living in trees) and herbivorous (plant-eaters). (The platyrrhini include the Family Cebidae and Family Callithricidae.)


PLESIOMORPHY

Plesiomorphy (meaning "old form") is a primitive character of a group.

POIKILOTHERMS

Poikilotherms are animals whose internal temperature changes depending on the environment. Reptiles are poikilothermic.


POISON ARROW FROG

Poison arrow frogs are poisonous frogs from rainforests of South and Central America. Some South American Indians apply the poison to the tips of their hunting arrows and blow-gun darts.

POLLINATION

Pollination is the process in which the male plant's pollen fertilizes the female plant's ovule and creates a seed. Pollination is effected by the wind, insects, hummingbirds, etc.


POLYPHYLETIC

A polyphyletic group consists of organisms but not their common ancestors. This is an artificial group which is based primarily on physical characteristics rather than on evolutionary relationships. An example is "flying vertebrates" which includes birds, pteranodons and bats.

PRECIPITATION

Precipitation is water that falls from clouds, like rain, snow, sleet, hale, etc.

PREDATOR

A predator is an animal that hunts and kills other animals for food.

PREHENSILE

Prehensile means able to grasp or grab. For example, some monkeys have prehensile tails that can grab.

PREHISTORIC

Prehistoric refers to the time before people began recording history in writing. This time varies from culture to culture.

PREPUPA

A prepupa is the last larval instar of an insect after it stops eating. During this period, the insect is resting and looks shriveled up and may even appear to be dead.

PREY

An animal is prey when another animal hunts and kills it for food.

PRIMARY FOREST

A primary forest is a forest that has never been logged or disturbed.

PRIMATE

Primates are mammals that include monkeys, apes, lemurs (prosimians), and people. All primates have 5 fingers on each hand and 5 toes on each foot. They have color vision.
Butterfly head

PROBOSCIS

The proboscis is a a tube-like, flexible "tongue" that butterflies and moths use to sip their liquid food (usually flower nectar or the liquid from rotting fruits). The proboscis uncoils to sip food, and coils up again into a spiral when not in use. The lepidopteran with the longest proboscis is the hawk moth.

PRODUCER

A producer (or autotroph) is an organism that makes its own food from light energy (using photosynthesis), or chemical energy (using chemosynthesis). Most green plants, many protists (one-celled organisms like slime molds) and most bacteria are producers. Producers are the base of the food chain.
caterpillar

PROLEG

A proleg is one of the peg-like legs on the abdomen (hind region) of a caterpillar. These legs have crochets (small hooks) on them. These legs disappear in the adult (butterfly or moth).
pupa

PUPA

The pupa is the stage in a butterfly's (or moth's) life when it is encased in a chrysalis and undergoing metamorphosis. It does not eat during this stage.

PUPATE

To pupate is to turn into and exist as a pupa. Insects that undergo complete metamorphosis (like butterflies) pupate.

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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

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