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  Section: Zoological Terms used in General Zoology
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L - Zoological Terms

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(L. a lip). The lower lip of the insect formed by fusion of the second pair of maxillae.


(L. a lip). The upper lip of insects and crustaceans situated above or in front of the mandibles; also refers to the outer lip of a gastropod shell.


(L. labyrinthus, labyrinth). Vertebrate internal ear, composed of a series of fluid-filled sacs and tubules (membranous labyrinth) suspended within bone cavities (osseous labyrinth).


(Gr. labyrinthos, labyrinth, + odous, odontos, tooth). A group of Paleozoic amphibians containing the temnospondyls and the anthracosaurs.


(L. lacrimia, tear). Secreting or relating to tears.


(L. lacteus, of milk). Noun, one of the lymph vessels in the villus of the intestine. Adj., relating to milk.


, pl. lacunae (L. pit, cavity). A sinus; a space between cells; a cavity in cartilage or bone.


(L. large flask). Portion of the primitive ear in which sound is translated into nerve impulses; evolutionary beginning of cochlea.


Hypothesis, as expounded by Jean Baptiste de Lamarck, of evolution by the acquisition during an organism's lifetime of characteristics that are transmitted to offspring.


(L. dim. of lamina, plate). One of the two plates forming a gill in a bivalve mollusc. One of the thin layers of bone laid concentrically around an osteon (Haversian canal). Any thin, platelike structure.


Lobes around the margin of scyphozoan medusae (phylum Cnidaria).


, pl. larvae (L. a ghost). An immature stage that is quite different from the adult.


(Gr., the larynx, gullet). Modified upper portion of respiratory tract of air-breathing vertebrates, bounded by the glottis above and the trachea below; voice box; adj., laryngeal, relating to the larynx.


(L. latus, the side, flank). Of or pertaining to the side of an animal; a bilateral animal has two sides.


(L. later, brick). Group of hard, red soils from topical areas that show intense weathering and leaching of bases and silica, leaving aluminum hydroxides and iron oxides; adj. lateritic


(Gr. lekithos, yolk of egg, + trophos, one who feeds). Nutrition of an embryo directly from the yolk of an ovum.


(Sw. play, game). An area where animals assemble for communal courtship display and mating.


(L. ribbon). One of a pair of internal projections of the epidermis from the neck region of Acanthocephala, which functions in fluid control in the protrusion and invagination of the proboscis.


(L. lentus, slow). Of or relating to standing water such as swamp, pond, or lake.


(L. lepidos, scale,+ sauros, lizard). A lineage of diapsid reptiles that appeared in the Permian and that includes the modern snakes, lizards, amphisbaenids, and tuataras, and the extinct ichthyosaurs.


(Gr. lepos, scale, + spondylos, vertebra). A group of Paleozoic amphibians distinguished by the possession of spool-shaped vertebral centra.


pl. leptocephali (Gr. leptos, thin, + kephale, head). Transparent, ribbonlike migratory larva of the European or American eel.


(Gr. leukos, white, + ismos, condition of). Presence of white pelage or plumage in animals with normally pigmented eyes and skin.


(Gr. leukos, white, + kytos, hollow vessel). Any of several kinds of white blood cells (for example, granulocytes, lymphocytes, monocytes), so called because they bear no hemoglobin, as do red blood cells.


In molecular biology, a set of clones containing recombinant DNA. Obtained from and representing the genome of the organism.


(L. ligamentum, bandage). A tough, dense band of connective tissue connecting one bone to another.


(L. ligo, to bind). A molecule that specifically binds to a receptor; for example, a hormone (ligand) binds specifically to its receptor on the cell surface.

limax form

(L. limax, slug). Form of pseudopodial movement in which entire organism moves without extending a discrete pseudopodium.


(Gr. lipos, fat, + ase, enzyme suffix). An enzyme that accelerates the hydrolysis or synthesis of fats.

lipid, lipoid

(Gr. lipos, fat). Certain fatlike substances, often containing other groups such as phosphoric acid; lipids combine with proteins and carbohydrates to form principal structural components of cells.


(Gr. lithos, rock, + sphaira, ball). The rocky component of the earth's surface layers.


(L. litoralis, seashore). Adj., pertaining to the shore. Noun, that portion of the sea floor between the extent of high and low tides, intertidal; in lakes, the shallow part from the shore to the lakeward limit of aquatic plants.


(Gr. lobos, lobe, + pous, podos, foot). Blunt, lobelike pseudopodium.


, pl. loci (lo´sï) (L. place). Position of a gene in a chromosome.

logistic equation

A mathematical expression describing an idealized sigmoid curve of population growth.


(Gr. lophos, crest, + kytos, hollow vessel). Type of sponge amebocyte that secretes bundles of fibrils.


(Gr. lophos, crest, + phoros, bearing). Tentacle-bearing ridge or arm within which is an extension of the coelomic cavity in lophophorate animals (ectoprocts, brachiopods, and phoronids).


(L. corselet). Protective external case found in some protozoa, rotifers, and others.


(L. lotus, action of washing or bathing). Of or pertaining to running water, such as a brook or river.


(L. lumbus, loin). Relating to or near the loins or lower back.


(L. light). The cavity of a tube or organ.


(limf) (L. lympha, water). The interstitial (intercellular) fluid in the body, also the fluid in the lymphatic system.


(L. lympha, water, goddess of water, + Gr. kytos, hollow vessel). Cell in blood and lymph that has central role in immune responses. See T cell and B cell


(L. lympha, water, + Gr. kinein, to move). A molecule secreted by an activated or stimulated lymphocyte that causes physiological changes in certain other cells.


(Gr. lysis, loosing, + soma, body). Intracellular organelle consisting of a membrane enclosing several digestive enzymes that are released when the lysosome ruptures.

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