Lizards & Snakes: Alive! Glossary

Part of the Lizards and Snakes: Alive! exhibition.


Adaptation (ad-ap-tay-shuhn)An evolutionary process through which species become better suited to its environment

Camouflage (ka-muh-flahj)Features, such as color pattern and morphology, that conceal an organism in its environment

Characteristic (kar-ik-te-ris-tik)A distinguishable feature of an organism

Chemoreception (kee-mo-re-sep-shun)The use of a sensory system to detect chemical cues in the environment

Crypsis (krip-sis)The concealment of an organism in its environment. Mimicry and camouflage are forms of cyrpsis.

Ecosystem (ee-koh-siss-tuhm)A system composed of organisms and their environment

Ectothermic (ek-to-thur-mic)Animals that control their body temperature by moving to warmer or cooler places in their environment. Ectothermic animals are less accurately referred to as "cold-blooded."

Extinct (ek-stingkt)Species with no living representatives. They are gone forever.

Fossil (foss-uhl)Remains or traces of an organism that have become mineralized, or turned to stone over time.

Habitat (hab-uh-tat)The place where an organism lives

Lizard (li-zerd)A common name for certain limbed or limbless squamates

Mimicry (mi-mik-cree)The close resemblance of an organism to another organism or object, giving it an advantage in its environment

Morphology (mor-fol-uh-jee)The physical structure of organisms

Predator (pred-ah-tur)An organism that hunts another for food

Prey (pray)An organism that is hunted by another animal for food

Snakes (snayk-s)One group of mostly limbless squamates

Species (spee-sheez)A particular kind of plant or animal. Members of a species can interbreed to produce fertile offspring.

Squamata (skwah-maht-a)A group of limbed and limbless lizards, including snakes

Venom (veh-nuhm)A variety of poisonous fluids that several groups organisms use when hunting or defending themselves

Vertebrate (ver-tuh-brit)Animals with backbones, including fish, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals