Wildlife Encounters - 9th - 12th grade
Lesson 1: Illinois Habitats

Key Words

Amphibian: Member of the class Amphibia. Vertebrate animal with moist skin capable of gas exchange, spends at least part of its lifecycle in the water, is ectothermic (body temperature regulated by environmental temperature), and many undergo metamorphosis to transition from one life stage to another.


Biome: Specific types of ecosystems that form due to the specific environmental and geographical conditions of a location.


Bird: Member of the class Aves. Is a feathered, egg-laying, endothermic (can regulate its body temperature) vertebrate animal.


Carnivore: An animal that eats other animals.


Cohabitation: For two species to exist together without positively or negatively impacting each other.


Competition: The struggle between individuals of the same or different species for limited resources like light, food, or nesting locations.


Conservation: The protection and management of ecosystems at all levels including individual habitats, water resources, and species of plants and animals.


Ecosystem: All nonliving (soil, water, sun light) and living (bacteria, plants, and animals) parts of a habitat that coexist and depend on each other.


Food Web: The elaborate, interconnected feeding relationship in an ecosystem.


Foraging: Behavior necessary to recognize, search for, capture, and consume food.


Habitat: The natural environment for an animal or other organism that maximizes survival. The environment provides the animal with everything it needs to successful survive and thrive.


Herbivore: An animal that consumes only plants and other vegetation.


Mammal: Member of the class Mammalia. Any vertebrate animal that is furred, endothermic (regulates its own body temperature), and has the modified sweat glands known as mammary glands to produce milk for offspring.


Natural History: The study of plants and animals in their natural state/environment, including how they find food, where they live, and how they interact with other animals.


Nesting: Behavior that allows animals to build a place for raising young.


Niche: The role of an organism within its ecosystem which determines its activities, relationships, and interactions with other organisms.


Omnivore: An animal that consumes both plants and animals.


Predator: An animal that actively hunts and eats other animals.


Prey: An animal that is a food source for another animal.


Reptile: Member of the class Reptilia. They have skin made of scales, and are ectothermic (body temperature regulated by environmental temperature).


Species: Group of organisms whose members possess similar physical characteristics and have the ability to interbreed to produce viable offspring. A species has a scientific name that consists of two Latin words. Human beings are considered a species, and their scientific name is Homo sapiens.


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