Vocabulary - Definitions and Context

Ecosystem: the system of living and non-living components of an environment that interact with each other.
Context: In a desert ecosystem the temperature and soil type influence what plants can live there.

Diversity: variety of plants and/or animals occurring in one place
Context: The animal diversity in Texas includes both rare and common species.

Domestic: Adapted to life with humans
Context: Livestock and pets are domesticated

Indigenous: occurring naturally and exclusively in a certain region
Context: Guadalupe bass are indigenous to a few rivers in Texas.

Inflate: fill up (usually with air) so that it swells
Context: Horned lizards can inflate their body when threatened.

Insectivore: an insect eater
Context: Spiders and armadillos are insectivores; they eat insects

Larva: newly hatched young that are fundamentally different than the adult
Context: Caterpillars and tadpoles are larva, very different from the butterflies and frogs they will be as adults.

Migration: the movement of animals, often on an annual basis according to the seasons.
Context: Some species of bats use migration to a warmer climate to deal with cold winters, others hibernate.

Mimic: copy in appearance or behavior.
Context: The queen butterfly is a monarch mimic.

Native: originating in a certain region (often it refers to plants and animals that were here before Europeans came to Texas)
Context: Barred tiger salamander are native to Texas.

Pollinators: something that moves pollen from male parts of a flower to the female parts of a flower
Context: Butterflies are pollinators; when they sip nectar they move the pollen

Threatened Species: an animal or plant species likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range
Context: If we can protect threatened species' habitats now, we may be able to prevent their becoming endangered.

Wild: living freely without interference or help from humans
Context: Wild animals do not make good pets.