Main format. This book uses a dictionary format to present definitions in a standard, quick-to-use way and to help especially users whose first language is not English. The body of the book contains terms that are not organism names. Organism names can be found in Appendix 1, and selected organizations are provided in Appendix 2.
Type of terms emphasized. I emphasize conceptual terms, not anatomical parts or taxonomic names, in the main body of the book; however, it does include a small sampling of these parts, including some organs and glands. It also defines a few of the millions of taxonomic groups in Appendix 1. Biology texts, taxonomic catalogs, and primary literature have thousands of definitions of anatomical parts and taxonomic names that I do not include. This book concentrates on definitions of nouns or noun forms, rather than adjectives, adverbs, and verbs, due to space limitations.
New terms. A term within quotation marks in an entry line is one that my correspondents or I coined as part of producing this book.
Superscripted entries. When needed for clarity, a term with two or more distinct meanings is listed as more than one superscripted entry (e.g., 1sensation and 2sensation).
Term hierarchies. As conceptual structures, relationships among many terms are summarized in tables, and many terms with their definitions are organized in hierarchical clusters either by conceptual relationships or under key words, combining forms, and groups of letters that they have in common, or both. A term that is not part of a hierarchy or one that is the first term in a hierarchy (= a first-level term) is preceded by a diamond (♦). Second- through fifth-level terms are increasingly indented. Second- and fourth-level terms are not preceded by symbols; a third-level term is preceded by an arrowhead (►); and a fifth-level term is set in sans-serif type, as shown below.
♦ chemical-releasing stimulus, CRS n. A chemical that. semiochemical, semiochemic n. A chemical that.
1. A chemical that.
allomone n. A chemical substance, .
allelopathic substance n. A waste product,.
Definition sources. Most references do not give definitions in the exact form used in this book; therefore, almost all definitions are paraphrased for conciseness and to conform with the style of this book. This includes changes from British to American spellings, where appropriate. Author-date citations indicate references on which I have based definitions. Many definitions are based on ideas combined from more than one source. In some cases, definitions are my perceptions of how authors seem to define terms because they did not present their formal definitions. I often indicate this by stating "inferred from. ."
See directives. "See." directs the reader to where a concept is defined under a synonymous name, is part of a term hierarchy in which it is defined, is defined as part of the definition of another term, or is otherwise characterized (e.g., in a table). For example, "prophototaxis" is a sub-subentry under "phototaxis," which is a subentry under "taxis." The main listing for "prophototaxis," then, reads as follows:
♦ prophototaxis See taxis: phototaxis: prophototaxis.
Note that colons separate main entries, subentries, and sub-subentries in the context of a cross-reference. The first term listed is always a first-level entry; reference to a single term (e.g., See behavior) directs the reader to the main, alphabetical listing for the term (in this case, in the "b" section)
Multiple definitions. For many terms, I document some of the diversity of meaning. When I give more than one definition for a term, I list the definitions in chronological order with regard to citation date. When I can, I indicate which definition seems appropriate for wide use today. One meaning of a term can often be better understood after its other definitions(s), as well as those of associated terms, are examined. Some terms (e.g., evolution and heterochrony) have been modified through descent by "conceptually selective forces" so that they now have families of definitions, even some with opposite meanings (Gould 1992, 158; Richard 1992, 95). Further, one meaning of a term (e.g., eugenics) can even affect another meaning of it in a negative way, making it a "dirty word" (Kelves 1992, 94).
Nontechnical and obsolete definitions. For many terms, especially ones originally developed to refer to Humans and then extrapolated to nonhumans, I first give nontechnical English definitions, and then I list obsolete definitions when I think they are helpful in understanding the evolution of meaning of a term. An older meaning(s) of a term (e.g., evolution) can lie below the surface of a newer meaning and affect the term's significance (Richards 1992, 95).
Pronunciations. This book lists pronunciations for some of the terms that it defines, particularly for some acronyms and terms with words that are not normally found in standard English dictionaries. For words with more than one syllable, I indicate the stressed syllable by capitalizing it — e.g., apoptosis (ap POE toe sis; the second p is silent).
Common-denominator entries. Many terms are grouped as divisions under a main entry (a key word, combining form, or terminal group of letters) that they have in common. This results in many divisions that do not have definitions that relate directly, or at all, to definition(s) in the main entry that precedes a cluster. Also, because authors often did not specify which main-entry definition relates to a division, I often could not specify this information.
The common denominators and main words are that are listed as primary entries (those preceded by diamonds) are: abundance, acme, -acmic, acoustics, action, activity, adaptation, affinity, aggression, agonist, allele, altruism, analysis, angel, animal, animal names, animal sounds, anthropic, attachment, attention, -auxesis, awareness, bee, behavior, beneficiary, benefit, benthic, biont (bion), -bios, biota, -biotic, biotope, bite, bond (bonding), bout, breeding, brood, buffering, calling, camouflage, canalization, cannibalism, care, caste, castration, cause (causation), cell, ceremony, chain, character, cheat (cheater), chemical-releasing stimulus, chimera (chimaera), -chore, chromosome, chronology, -cial, -cide, cline, clock, clone (clon), coefficient, -cole, colonial, coloration, communication, community, companion, competition, complementation, conflict, consciousness, consumer, copulation (copulatory behavior), correlation, cost, courtship (courtship behavior), -cron, cross, crossing over, crypsis, cue, curve, cycle, cyclic, dance, Darwinism, datum, definition, deme, density, dialect, discontinuity, dispersal, display, distribution, diurnal, diversity, doctrine, dog, dominance, domatium, dormancy, dress, drift, drive, -dromous, drug, dynamic, effect, efficiency, effort, electrophoresis, elimination, emotion, endemic, energy, environment, equilibrium, error, estrus (oestrous), eugenics, evolution, evolutionism, evolutionist, experiment, experimental design, exploration, extinction, facial expression, facilitation, factor, fauna, fallacy, family, fauna, fear, feedback, feeding -ference, fight, fitness, flight, food, forager, foraging (foraging behavior), fossil, fostering, frequency, function, game, gamete, -gametic, -gamety, -gamy, gene, gene flow, -genesis, -genetic, genetic load, -genic, -genous, -geny, gland, -grade, gradualism, -gram, -graph, graph, -graphy, greeting, gregarious, grooming, group, growth, guild, -gyny, -haline, heritability, hermaphrodite, hermaphroditism, heterochrony, hierarchy, homeostasis, homolog (homologue), homology, hormone, host, hybrid, hypothesis, illusion, inheritance, inhibition, insemination, instar, instinct, intelligence, investment, isolation, -karyon, kin, -kinesis, kinesis, kiss, Lamarckian, language, law, learning, -lectic, lek, link, locomotion, male, manipulation, map, mate choice, mating, mating system, maze, mechanism, mechanist, meiosis, memory, metamorphosis, method, -metrics, -metrosis, -metry, migration, mimicry, mitosis, -mixis, modality, model, molt, -morph-, -morphic, -morphism, morphology, -morphosis, mortality, mother, movement, mutation, need, nest, nesting, nestling, neurotransmitter (neural transmitter), niche, nucleic acid, object, observation, odor, -oecism, optimality, order, organ, organism, -orial, ovular, ovulator, p (P, p, P), -paedium, pair, parasite, parasitism, parent, parity, parthenogenesis, -patric, pattern, -pelagic, perception, period, -phage, -phagia, -phagy, phase, -phile, phenomenon, -phobe, pigeon, -planetic, plankton, plasticity, -plasia, play, -ploidy, -plont, pollination, polyethism, population, posture, potential, predation, predator, preference, pregnancy, principle, probability, procedure, process, production (rate of production, primary production, productivity, basic productivity, primary productivity), program, provisioning, puzzle box, race, range, reaction, receptor, recognition, reductionism, reflex, regulation, reinforcement, relationship, reliability, repertory, replication, representation, reproduction, resource, response, revolution, rhythm, ritual, ritualization, role, rule, sample, sampling technique, scale, scientist, scratching, secretion, sex, sex termination, -sexual, sexual reproduction, sexuality, shaping, signal, sister, skewness, sleep, sociality, society, -somatic, -somy, song, -sound, speciation, species, -spermy, -sphere, stage, stasis, state, statistical test, stimulus, strategy, stress, study of, substance, success, succession, suckling, swarming, swimming, symbiont, symbiosis, synapse, syndrome, synethogametism, system, taxis, teleology, territory, test, theory, -therm, time, -toky, -topy, tradition, transport, -troph, trophallaxis, -trophy, -tropic, -tropism, -tropous, -trosis, -type, value, variable, variance, variation, vitalism, -voltine, -vore, -welt, -xene, -xenia, -xenic, -xeny, yawning, -zoan, -zoic, -zoite, zone, -zoon, -zygosity, -zygote, and -zygous.
Under "study of," the reader will find terms grouped by acoustics, biology, botany, chemistry, chronology, climatology, dynamics, ecology, endocrinology, ethology, evolution, genetics, geography, ichnology, limnology, -metry, morphology, ornithology, paleontology, palynology, pathology, pharmacology, phenology, phycology, phylogeny, physics, physiology, psychology, semiotics, sociality, systematics, taxonomy, toxicology, and zoology.
"In" and "For example, in" statements. I indicate when phenomena relate to particular organism groups, or taxa, by writing phrases such as "In the Honey Bee:..." or "For example, in some carpenter-bee and bird species:. ." When I use "In" alone, it means to my knowledge that the concept relates only to the taxon (taxa) listed. "For example, in." followed by a list of organisms indicates that the phenomenon relates to these organisms and others that I have not listed.
cf. directives. "cf. ..." directs the reader to a related term (sometimes an antonym), related information, or both.
Synonyms. I list synonyms known to me and suggest how each is used when I can. When it is obvious where a synonym is published from the body of a term entry, this synonym occurs in bold type right after a main entry term. Authors have sometimes used the same word for terms with very different meanings, and synonyms of many terms often do not have exactly the same meanings. Thus, synonyms should be used with care.
Notes and comments. Note, or Notes, refers to a particular definition of a term, while Comment, or Comments, refers to an entire entry.
Hyphens and one-em dashes. Scientific writers follow different "rules" when they use hyphens and one-em dashes, resulting in the presence, absence, or different combinations of these marks in the same term. In this book, I attempt to standardize use of these marks by using a hyphen(s) in an adjectival phrase that precedes the nouns that it modifies. I use a one-em dash(es) to separate hyphenated terms within adjectival phrases. This avoids the use of a forward slash (/) for a hyphen, or one-em dash, except when I am true to original published information. This book does not hyphenate names that are capitalized in the literature, although such names are grouped under key words (e.g., under "project," one finds "Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragment Project" and "Deep Green Project").
Gender-neutral writing. With all due respect for treating female and male Humans and other organisms equitably, for the reason of more direct writing, this book uses "he" to mean he or she, "him" to mean him or her, and so forth in many entries. My referring only to he, him, or his in many definitions from past times is done to reflect English style of these times.
Other information. For selected terms, this book gives further information such as etymologies and related facts. When they are known by me, I include term originators. This book includes some euphemistic and obscene terms and indicates them as such at the request some foreign scientists.
Was this article helpful?