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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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T


TACTILE SETAE

Tactile setae are long hairs that butterflies and moths use to sense touch. These hairs are attached to nerve cells, and relay information about touch to the insect's brain. Setae grow through holes in the hard, chitinous exoskeleton.


TAPIR

A plant-eating, hoofed mammal with a small trunk.


TARANTULA

A tarantula is a large, hairy spider.


TARSIER

Tarsiers are small mammals with enormous eyes.
TAXON
A taxon is category in the classification of living organisms. The taxa (the plural of taxon) in the Linnean system are kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species.

TAXONOMY

Taxonomy is the science of classifying organisms into groups by structure, origin, common ancestor, etc.


TELEOST FISH
(pronounced TEEL-ee-ost) Teleost (meaning "perfect-boned") fish are advanced fish with bones that evolved during the Jurassic period. They are the most abundant fishes today.

TEMPERATE RAINFOREST

Temperate rainforests are very wet, ancient forests that rarely freeze or get very hot. Most of the world's temperate rainforests are in the Pacific Northwest of the USA.

TENTACLES

Caterpillars have tentacles on their bodies. These fleshy appendages provide sensory information for the caterpillar. They are often mistaken for antennae.

TERRESTRIAL

Terrestrial means relating to the land. Terrestrial animals are adapted to living on the land most of the time (as opposed to living in the water or in trees). Deer, horses, and people are examples of terrestrial animals.
TERTIARY PERIOD
The Tertiary period lasted from 65 to 1.8 million years ago. It followed the Cretaceous period (the end of the Mesozoic Era) and the K-T extinction. Many mammals developed then, including primitive whales, rodents, pigs, cat, rhinos, etc.

THERAPSID

Therapsids are a clade of advanced synapsid animals from the late Permian period. They had teeth that were differentiated into post-canines and incisors. Dominant among the early therapsids were the large dinocephalians. The clade of therapsids includes the mammals, some close relatives, and their recent common ancestors. Fossils of therapsids have been found in the Karroo desert in Africa.
caterpillar

THORACIC LEGS

Thoracic legs are the three pairs of jointed legs on the thorax (mid region) of a caterpillar. Each of these legs has a grasping hook at the end.


THORAX

The thorax is the chest area of an insect (including butterflies and moths). The thorax is divided into three segments; on each segment is a pair of legs. The four wings of the butterfly (or moth) are also attached to the thorax. The thorax contains the muscles that make the legs and wings move.


THREE-TOED SLOTH

The sloth is a slow-moving mammal that lives hanging upside-down from trees.
T. rex leg bones

TIBIA

The tibia is the shin bone - the bone in the lower, front part of the leg between the knee and the ankle.


TIGER

Tigers are large, fierce Asian cats that have stripes. They live mostly in forests in India, Sumatra, Indochina, and Siberia. Tigers are threatened with extinction due to loss of habitat.
tiger swallowtail

TIGER SWALLOWTAIL BUTTERFLY

The tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucas) is a strong flier with distinctive yellow and black striped markings on its wings and body (some females are brown or black, mimicking the poisonous pipevine swallowtail). This butterfly has a wingspan of 3.5-6.5 inches (9-16.5 cm) and is found throughout the USA and Canada. The caterpillar is plump and green with yellow eyespots; it looks like bird droppings when young.

TIPITI

A tipiti is a flexible braided cylindrical basket made of jacitara palm bark that is used by the Tupis of South America. The tipiti is used to remove the poison liquid from bitter cassava root. The cassava pulp is squeezed in the tipiti until the poisonous liquid is extracted. This process makes the cassava edible.


TOAD

Toads are amphibians with poison glands They usually have warty skin.

TOP PREDATOR

A top predator is an animal at the top of the food chain, like the jaguar or bald eagle. Top predators have little or no natural enemies.


TOUCAN

A rainforest bird with a huge, colorful beak.

TOXIN

A toxin is a poison. Some butterflies eat plants that contain toxins in order to poison their predators. Monarchs eat milkweed for its toxic glycosides.

TRANSPIRATION

Transpiration is the process in which plants lose water through pores in their leaves (these openings are called stomata). As water is lost from the plant, the plant takes up more water (and minerals) through its roots. The rate of transpiration varies as the conditions of the plant change and is controlled by the opening and closing the stomata.

TREE FERN

Tree ferns are tall vascular plants that live in warm climates. These ferns have a clump of fronds on top of a fibrous trunk.


TREE FROG, RED-EYED

A small rainforest frog with bright red eyes.

TREE NYMPH BUTTERFLY

The tree nymph butterfly, also called the rice paper butterfly, paper kite 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.


TROPICAL RAINFOREST

Tropical rainforests are warm, very wet forests that do not freeze (the temperature remains over 75°F=24°C) and do not get extremely hot. Tropical rainforests cover about 7% of the Earth's surface, in a band around the equator. They are also called equatorial rainforests.

TROPICS

The tropics are a 3,000 mile (4800 km) wide band around the equator, between the Tropic of Cancer (23.5° N latitude) and the Tropic of Capricorn (23.5° S latitude).


TURTLE

Turtles are anapsids, having no extra holes in the sides of their heads. Turtles evolved during the late Triassic period, roughly 220 million years ago, about the same time the dinosaurs and mammals evolved. Proganochelys is the oldest known turtle.

TYPE SPECIES

A type species is the species of an organism from which a new genus is named. For example, Tyrannosaurus rex is the type species for the genus Tyrannosaurus.

TYPE SPECIMEN

A type specimen is the set of fossil remains of an organism from which a new species is named.

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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