antibiotic – substance derived from fungi or other organisms which is used to destroy or prevent the growth of bacteria or other disease-causing organisms

arid – extremely dry, especially from lack of rainfall

carnivore – an animal that eats the flesh of other animals

chapparals – a low, dense growth of shrubby oaks and brush, especially in the American southwest

coniferous – bearing cones or referring to plants that do so

deciduous – having leaves that drop off each year. Oaks and maples are deciduous trees, but pines keep their needles

diurnal – occurring or active during the daytime

dominant – most powerful; ruling or controlling

dorsal – of, upon, near, or related to the back as an organ or part of an animal

Endangered Species List – an “endangered” species is one that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a major portion of its range. A “threatened” species is one that likely to become endangered in the future. This list was established by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973. The purpose of the ESA is to protect the species on the list and preserve their habitat.

forbs – broad-leaved, nonwoody, herbaceous (has the characteristics of an herb, including a soft, nonwoody stem) plants. Many forbs are valued as a food for wildlife, livestock even prefer them to grasses

habitat – the natural environment of an animal or plant. Any species may suffer if removed from its natural habitat.

herbivore – an animal that only feeds on plants

hibernate – to sleep through the winter in a den or burrow to save energy. Bears, snakes, and certain other animals hibernate

impale – to pierce and hold fast with a sharp-pointed instrument such as a spear

invertebrates – without a spinal column or backbone

migrate – to change habitat or location

mottled – blotched or spotted with varying colors or shades

nocturnal – active at night

ornithologist – someone who studies birds

paralysis – the loss of feeling in or the inability to move a body part. Paralysis is caused by injury or disease of the nervous system

pike – any of several large freshwater fishes with elongated, flattened snouts, that are caught for food or sport

predator – an animal that eats the flesh of others

savanna – a grassy plain with sparse tree growth, found in tropical or subtropical regions

scrub forests – a low or stunted shrub or tree, or such plants collectively, or a large area covered with such growth

sedges – any of a large number of grass-like plants with solid stems, many of which grow in marshy areas

subspecies – a subdivision of a plant or animal species that shows differences from others of the same species, as a result of difference in geographical location or time period

talus – an accumulation of broken rocks and debris at the base of a cliff

terrestrial – living on or in the ground, rather than in trees, water or air

toxins – any of various similar poisons produced by plants or animals, such as the venom of some snakes

tufted – a cluster or clump of long strands that are attached at one end and loose at the other, as of yarn, hair, or grass

venomous – producing venom; able to inflict a poisonous bite or sting

wetlands – low-lying land saturated with moisture, such as a marsh or swamp