Glossary

d
Deciduous - 

Trees that lose their leaves each year.

Decomposer - 

An organismAnything that is alive. (including bacteriaVery tiny plants. Bacteria are so small that they can only be seen through a microscope. Some kinds of bacteria cause disease. Others do useful things, like making soil richer., fungi, and some insects) that breaks down nonliving plants and animals into nutrients used by plants.

Deforestation - 

The process of destroying forestAn area with many trees. habitatWhere an animal or plant normally lives and grows.(s).

Den - 

The home or dwelling of an animalAny living thing that is not a plant. Most animals can move about freely. All use plants or other animals as food. All have sensory organs., usually in the ground, a tree hollow, or a cave.

Desert - 

An area with little rain and often with hot daytime temperatures.

Dewlap - 

Loose skin on the lower neck of animals such as eland, rabbits, and iguanas.

Diet - 

The food an animalAny living thing that is not a plant. Most animals can move about freely. All use plants or other animals as food. All have sensory organs. eats.

Digitigrade - 

Walking on the toes, or digits (such as elephants and rhinos).

Dimorphism - 

The differences in form, color, or structure between animals (or plants) of the same speciesA group of individuals that have many of the same characteristics, and are different from all other animals in some important way. Hamsters and mice are two different species of rodent..

Disperse - 

To scatter or spread widely, as in dispersing seeds.

Disruptive coloration - 

The particular way an animalAny living thing that is not a plant. Most animals can move about freely. All use plants or other animals as food. All have sensory organs.'s pattern of color and shading is arranged so that its size and shape appear to be different than its actual size and shape. See also cryptic colorationA pattern of colors that makes an animal hard to see. It may be a pattern that is similar to the background on which the animal lives, or one that seems to break up the animal's outline (also called disruptive coloration). The snake in this image is a good example of cryptic coloration..

Diurnal - 

Awake and active during the day, asleep at night.

Domestic - 

Describing an animalAny living thing that is not a plant. Most animals can move about freely. All use plants or other animals as food. All have sensory organs. kept by people as a pet, for work, or other reasons. Sheep and goats found on farms are domesticDescribing an animal kept by people as a pet, for work, or other reasons. Sheep and goats found on farms are domestic, those found in the wild are not., those found in the wild are not.

Dominance/dominant - 

Having the most influence, usually in herdA group of animals that travels and feeds together., group, or pack animals.

Dorsal - 

Referring to features on the back or along the spineA stiff, sharp projection on an animal; another word for quill. of the animalAny living thing that is not a plant. Most animals can move about freely. All use plants or other animals as food. All have sensory organs..

Double clutching - 

Removing newly-laid egg(s) from a nest, sometimes causing the female to lay replacement eggs.

Down feathers - 

Soft feathers that provide insulation for birds.

Droppings - 

The dung, or fecal matter, of animals.

Drought - 

An extended time when little or no rain falls, causing a water shortage for plants and animals.