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All About Rainforests!
|Introduction to Rainforests||Layers or Strata||Where are Rainforests?||Animals of the Rainforest||Rainforest Glossary||Printables, Worksheets, and Activities|
Deciduous plants lose their leaves at the end of each growing season.
Decomposers are organisms like fungi and some bacteria that break down and digest the remains of organisms.
Decomposition is the decay or breakdown of things into more basic elements. For example, after a plant dies, it decomposes into organic nutrients.
A defense compound is a chemical made by an organism that makes is poisonous or bad-tasting to animals that would otherwise eat the organism. Some defense compounds include alkaloids and tannins.
Deforestation is the loss of forests. Deforestation has many causes, including man's cutting down trees, forest fires, severe drought, disease, volcanic eruptions, changes in sea level, changes in the Earth's temperature, etc.
A dense forest is one that has many plants in an area.
A detrivore (or detritus feeder) is an organism that eats the dead remains of other organisms (detritus). Examples of detrivores include some bacteria and fungi.
A dewclaw is a functionless claw that doesn't hit the ground. Some dinosaurs had dewclaws.
The dhole is a wild dog from Asia.
Diapsids include all the reptiles (except turtles) and birds. They are distinguished by having two holes in the rear upper part of their skulls and two holes behind the eyes.
A digit is a toe or a finger.
Some animals walk on their toes; the scientific term for this is digitigrade. Only a small part of the foot touches the ground and the animal can me very quickly. Many predators are digitigrade. Some animals that are digitigrade are dogs, cat, and birds. There is a pad of tissue on the back of the feet on these animals that acts like a shock absorber. People, bears, and crocodiles walk differently; they are plantigrade (flat-footed). (Compare with plantigrade.)
Dispersers are animals that spread plant seeds. Some dispersers include birds, insects, bats, and furry animals like monkeys.
Diurnal animals are most active during the day (compare with nocturnal).
The dodo is an extinct, flightless bird that lived on an island in the Indian Ocean near Africa.
Dragonflies are primitive, flying insects that can hover in the air. They evolved during the Mississippian Period, about 360-325 mya. Huge dragonflies with wingspans up to 27.5 inches (70 cm) existed during the Mesozoic Era (when the dinosaurs lived).
The drip tip is the long, sharply-pointed tip on some rainforest plant leaves that allows water to flow quickly off the leaf surface. In the rainforest, many leaves have a drip tip. Without it, water would build up on the leaf.
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