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Glossary of Herpetological Terms

... compiled by Dave Royans & Sue Knight
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Term Definition

Bushes and small tree communities present in the Mediterranean often provides suitable habitat for reptiles.

Greek: Meaning Large
Latin: Meaning Bordered Lined
Mast Crop

An event where the production of offspring is timed to reduce the toll on them by predators.

Maxillary Teeth

The teeth of the upper jaw. Often used in morphological comparison.

Metabolic Bone Disease this disease is one of the most common ailment in captive iguanas and other lizard species. It most often is the result of either poor diet improper temperatures lack of exposure to UV light or a combination of these things. Symptoms include soft weak bones swollen rubbery jaw and twisted spines and limbs among others

High concentrations of the pigment melanin resulting in a black or dark colouration of the skin.


A tendency toward a dark or black colouration.

Greek: Meaning Black

Meaning something that is measured for instance the occurrence of neonates preference for a particular prey type is mensural by stomach palpitation causing regurgitation.

Mental Groove

The groove located in the middle of the lower jaw on snakes comprising of loose skin that allows the jaws to expand to accomadate prey larger than the gape of a snakes mouth.

A characteristic that is counted for instance the number of specimens that exhibit a pattern anomaly within a population survey.
Form the Greek word meristos meaning divided having multiple parts.
Mesic - term used to describe dry areas that can hold standing water in wet weather due to the properites of poor drainage.
Microcomplement fixation

A process used to determine immunological distances.

Middorsal - term used to describe the centre of the back on a body.
This site has information on the following genera of Ratsnakes ... Spilotes, Spalerosophis, Ptyas, Zamenis, Elaphe, Rhinechis, Senticolis, Pseudelaphe, Pantherophis, Bogertophis, Orthriophis, Gonyosoma, Oreocryptophis, Oocatochus, Euprepiophis, Coelognathus, Archelaphe