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GLOSSARY
 
Abdomen : Belly, the ventral side of the fish surrounding the cavity containing
the digestive and reproductive organs.
Adipose fin : Fleshy finlike projection without rays, behind the rayed dorsal fin.
aff. : affinis = similar, but distinct species.
Airbladder : Gas filled sac located in the body cavity below the vertebrae
Albino : Lacking melanin, usually white with pink/red eyes.
Algae : Group of Thallophytes, the seaweeds and allied forms.
Amphibious : Living or adapted to life or use, on land and in or on water.
Anal fin : The median, unpaired, ventrally located fin that lies behind the anus, usually on the posterior half of the fish.
Anatomy : The science of the structure of the animal body.
Anoxic : A deficient supply of oxygen to the tissues.
Anterior : The head end.
Anteriordorsal : Front of dorsal.
Anterolateral Pertaining to the direction or position between the front and side of an object.
Barbels : Whisker-like structure on the heads of most catfish.
Bethnic : Sea-bottom dwellers.
Bicuspd: Ending in two points; a tooth with two cusps or points.
Biotype : Environment in which the fish is found.
Brackish : A mix of salt and fresh water.
Branchial : Pertaining to the gills.
Branchiostegal: Slender bones which support the gill membranes.
Carnivorous : Meat eating, also piscivorous.
Casque: Shaped like a helmet.
Caudal fin : The tail.
Caudal peduncle : The narrow part of a fish's body to which the caudal or tail fin is attached.
cf. : Conferre: same species, but with different characteristics.
Cleithral process : A flattened pointed posterior extension of the pectoral girdle (most prominent in the genus Synodontis)
Cleithrum : The major bone of the pectoral girdle, extending upward from the pectoral fin base and forming the rear margin of the gill cavity, also: the principal bow-shaped bone of the prectoral girlde, dermal in origin, forming the rear margin of the gill cavity. It articulates dorsally with the supracleithrum and ventrally with the scapula and coracoid.
Compressed : Flattened from side to side.
Coracoid : Middle and lower section of the pectoral girdle.
Crepuscular : Active at dusk.
Cryptic : Hidden, obscure, little seen.
Depressed : Flattened from top to bottom.
Dermal ossifications : Small bony skin plates.
Detritus : An aggregate of loosened fragments.
Dimorphism : The morphological variations of one species.
Diurnal : Active during daylight hours.
Dorsal fin :
The primary rayed fin(s) on top of the body
Dorsolateral : Extending from the top to the side.
Dorsum : The upper (dorsal) surface of the head or body.
Ecology : The study of plants and animals
Emarginate: Concave; used to describe the posterior border of a caudal fin which is inwardly curved; a caudal fin with a slightly concave margin
Endemic : Native to a particular area only.
Estuarine : The inhabitants of a wide lower tidal part of a river.
Falcate : When the anterior fin rays are prolonged.
Filaments: Thread-like extensions on the fins.
Fontanel : The space(s) between the bones on top of the skull covered by skin.
Fry : Young fish at the age when the yolk has been consumed and is actively feeding
Fulcra : Bony plates.
Fusiform : Spindle or cigar shaped.
Gills : The organs utilized to obtain oxygen from the water.
Gill arches : The bearer of the gill filaments.
Gill filament : Structure on the lower portion of the gill arches.
Gill rakers : Structure on the upper portion of the gill arches.
Herbivorous :
A vegetable eater.
Holotype : The specimen on which the description of a new species is based.
Humeral process : Bony extension of the pectoral girdle.
Hyaline : Transparent or clear without pigment.
Hybrid : The progeny of two individuals belonging to different species; the progeny of two individuals belonging to different subspecies of the same species are not hybrids.
Ichthyology : The science of the study of fishes.
-idae (suffix) : The family name always ends in -idae, as in Callichthyidae
-inae (suffix) : The subfamily name always ends in -inae as in Corydoradinae
incertae sedis : Latin: of uncertain position (seat) signifies a taxonomic group difficult to place in the larger taxonomic scheme.
Inferior : Visible only from beneath the head, usually referring to the eyes or mouth.
Interoperculum : Between the preoperculum and the operculum, sometimes very small, and in some Loricariidae bearing spines.
Interorbital : The space between the orbits of the eyes.
Isomorphic :
The lack of dimorphism.
Lacustrine : Pertaining to lakes.
Lateral line : A sensory line, along the sides of the body.
Larvae : Young fish in the first state of development.
Lecotype : Specimen chosen from a syntype series.
Littoral : The shallow area along a shoreline in lakes or sea.
Mandibular :
Pertaining to the lower jaw. (mandibular barbels)
Maxillary : Pertaining to the upper jaw. (maxillary barbels)
Medial : Middle or inner.
Melanin : The dark pigment that gives the colouring to the fish.
Membrane : A thin flexible tissue.
Mental :
Pertaining to the chin, on the lower jaw. (mental barbels)
Metamorphosis : A sharp change in form.
Monotypic : Having only one species, such as a monotypic family of fishes.
Nasal : On top of the head, by the nostrils. (nasal barbels)
Neotype : Specimen which replaces Holotype when lost.
Nocturnal : Active at night.
Nomenclature : A system of names for the objects of study in any branch of science.
Nomen nudum : Name without description.
Nuchal : Area between the skull and dorsal fin.
Occipital : A median bone on the upper surface of the back of the head; pertaining to the occiput.
Odontodes : Hair - like stuctures on the body
Omnivorous : Pertaining to both vegetable and flesh diet.
Opercle : The bony covering of the gills of fishes.
Operculum : The bony covering of the gills of fishes.
Orbit: The dermal or bony eye socket; bony cavity in the skull where the eyeball is housed; the eye socket, usually surrounded by bone.
Osteological : Pertaining to the study of bones, part of anatomy.
Oviparous : Describing a species that lays eggs.
Ovoviviparous : Describing a species that produces eggs that hatch in the mother, resulting in the delivery of live young.
Palatine teeth : The teeth present on the palatine bone which lies laterally in the roof of the mouth.
Papilla : A small fleshy projection, plural papillae.
Paratype : Remaining specimens after Holotype has been selected.
Pectoral fins : The paired fins just behind the head.
Pectoral girdle : The bony or cartilaginous skeletal arch supporting the pectoral fins.
p.H. : The symbol of relative alkalinity or acidity in liquid (potential of hydrogen).
Pharyngeal Teeth : Teeth located in the throat on the pharyngeal jaw apparatus.
Phylogentic : Descendant lines.
Pelagic : Pertaining to the open water (ocean).
Pelvic fins : The paired fins, between the pectorals and the anal fins. (also referred to as ventrals)
Piscivorous : Fish eating.
Plankton :
The floating organism that drifts with the movement of the water.
Plicate : Covered in small ridges.
Posterior : The tail end of the fish. Situated behind.
Potamodromous : Freshwater fish migrations are usually shorter, typically from lake to stream or vice versa, for spawning purposes.
Predator : Something that lives on other forms of life.
Predorsal plate : In front of the dorsal fin spine.
Premaxillary : In relation to the premaxilla (an upper jaw bone) e.g. premaxillary tooth band.
Preoperculum : The anterior bone of the opercular series, forming the border of the cheek.
Preorbital : The first and usually the largest of the suborbital bones; located along the ventro-anterior rim of the eye. Sometimes called the lacrimal bone; the bone or region before and below the eye.
Ramifications : Side branches (as on the barbels on many Synodontis species).
Retrorse : Pointing or curved backwards or inwards; opposite of atrose.
Rictal:
Pertaining to the barbels on the corners of the mouth (Corydoras)
Riverine : Only inhabiting rivers.
Rostrum : Snout (usually applied to long snouts)
Rugose : Covered in ridges, knobs or protuberances, deeply wrinkled etc.
Saline : Salty.
Scapular : The shoulder region.
Scutes : Bony covering.
Sensu stricto : In a narrow or strict sense.
Serrae : Saw-like notches along an edge.
Serrated : With sharp, forward-pointing teeth.
SL : Standard length as measured from the snout to the caudal peduncle.
Snout: The part of the head in front of the eyes.
Spawn : Mass of eggs laid in water.
Spatulate teeth. Having an end that is broad and flattened, like a spatula.
Spinous : Spiny.
Subcutaneous: Positioned beneath the skin.
Substrate : Sea or river bottom/floor.
Sub-terminal : Just below.
Superior : Visible from above the head, usually referring to the eyes or mouth.
Supraoccipital : Unpaired bone at the back of the skull, usually with a crest.
Swim bladder: The air sac that gives fish buoyancy and balance. Acts as sound resonator in some fish.
Sympatric : Referring to two or more species living in the same or overlapping geographical area.
Syntopic : Defined as being similar in appearance.
Syntype : Type series (listed for new description) of which none have been selected as Holotype.
Synonym : Different name for the same fish.
Systematics : A set of things considered as a connected whole.
Taxonomic : Classification based on similarities of structure.
Taxonomy : The study and classification of living creatures.
Temperate : Moderate in temperature.
Terminal : The end point.
Thoracic: Pertaining to the chest area.
TL : Total length measured from the snout to the end of the fish (tail)
Troglomorphic Morphological characters that are adaptions to living in the constant darkness of caves, such as loss of pigments and reduced eyes.
Truncate : Cut off, blunt. (as in squared off caudal fin).
Tubercles: Tentacle-like projections.
Ventral : The lower surface.
Ventral fins : The paired fins, between the pectorals and the anal fins.
Ventrolateral : Extending from below and to the side.
Villiform : Elongated cardiform teeth.
Villose : Covered with villosities (minute hair-like projections)
Viviparous : Describing a species that produces living young that have been nourished during development by their mother.
Vomer : The anterior bone in the mid-line of the roof of the mouth.
Vomerine teeth : Teeth present on the vomer.
Voracious : Eating greadily or in large quantities.
Weberian apparatus : Modified 4 vertebrae, connecting the swim bladder with the inner ear.

Blinded by a bit too much science!. Check out the ScotCat glossary page and find out what that name or description really means.

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                                                                                                                                                    Glossary updated = June 2, 2017 © ScotCat 1997-2017 Go to Top