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Zoology Terminology

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Zoology Terminology

shape Introduction

Zoology, a branch of biology is the study of animals. Zoology includes the study of animal kingdom including animal anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, genetics, ecology, behavior, conservation, structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct, and how they interact with their ecosystems. Zoology Terminology chapter lists all the important terms that are prominently used in the study of animal kingdom in Zoology.


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Zoologists study subjects ranging from single-celled organisms to the behavior of groups of animals. The table below lists all the important Zoology Terminology in the alphabetical order.


Term Definition
Actin It is one of the two proteins in the muscles.
Adrenal gland It is the pair of important glands present by the side of the kidneys in higher animals.
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome AIDS is a disease caused by a virus which inactivates the immune system in the body.
Albinism It is a condition in which the normal skin colour is absent. It is caused by reduction or total lack of the pigment Melanin.
Albumin It is one of a group of simple water soluble globular proteins present widely in milk.
Alimentary canal It is a tube in multicellular animals through which food is taken into the body, digested and absorbed by the cells.
Allergy It is hypersensitivity.
Amoeba It is a unicellular fresh water organism, it is a simple Protozoan and has no definite shape.
Amphibia It is the class of back-boned land-animals like frogs, toads, newts and salamander. They are the first vertebrates that colonized land and can stay in water as well as on land.
Anaemia It is a condition marked by low hemoglobin content of the blood.
Androgen It is a class of male sex hormones chiefly produced in the testis.
Anthropology It is the study of human species in all its aspects including evolution, culture and population dynamics.
Antibodies It is a group of specific Proteins produced by mammals to defend themselves from foreign organisms or chemicals.
Anticoagulant It is a chemical that can prevent blood from clotting for example heparin.
Antiemetic It is a substance which inhibits vomiting.
Antigen It is a foreign substance, usually proteins in nature, which elicits the formation of specific antibodies within an organism.
Annelida It is a group of invertebrates like earthworms, which have long, cylindrical, segmented bodies.
Aorta It is the main artery leading out of heart carrying oxygenated blood.
Appendicitis It is the inflammation of the appendix.
Arboreal These are the organisms that spend most or all of their lives among the branches of trees.
Artery It is the blood vessel carrying blood away from the heart.
Arthritis It is the painful inflammation of bone joints.
Autograft It is grafting of one tissue to another tissue of the same organisms.

Term Definition
Bacteria It is a class of extremely small relatively simple micro-organism.
Bile It is a secretion the liver in animals. It is an alkaline fluid that helps in digestion and absorption of fats.
Blood Clotting It is the solidification of blood.
Blood pressure It is the pressure exerted by blood on the walls of blood vessels, especially the main arteries. It is due to the pumping action of the heart.

Term Definition
Capillary The smallest tubes or vessels which form the connecting link between the circulatory and lymphatic system. Usually the walls are single layer thick.
Carbohydrate It is a group of organic compounds like sugars, starches and cellulose composed entirely of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. They form the main source of energy for the human body.
Carcinogen Any substance or agent capable of causing cancer.
Carnivorous It is a mode of living by which animals and plants survive by eating the flesh of other animals.
Chromosome It is a complex thread-like structure seen in plant and animal cells at the time of cell division. They are the carriers of the genetic material DNA.
Chyme It is the partially digested food after leaving the stomach.
Circumcision It is the surgical removal or excision of the foreskin covering the male or female genital organs.
Cirrhosis It is a progressively inflammation disease of the live in which the liver cells are destroyed.
Clone It is parthenogenetic or asexual descendants from a single individual, all having the same genetic constitution.
Colon It is a portion of the large intestine of humans extending from the caecum to the rectum. The inflammation of the colon in humans is called colitis.
Contagious disease It is an infectious disease communicable by contact with one suffering from it, with his bodily discharges, or with an object touched by him for example, cholera and chicken pox.
Convulsion It is a violet, uncontrolled muscle spasm, or a series of them, sometimes repeated rapidly and accompanied by unconsciousness.
Cretin Victim of severe congenital thyroid deficiency, causing physical and mental retardation.

Term Definition
Eczema It is a non-specific term used to denote skin disorders characterized by redness, thickening, oozing blisters and occasional formation of fissures and cracks.
Elephantiasis It is a diseased state which constitutes one of the manifestations of filariasis.
Embryo It is a developing fertilized egg during the early project. An unborn human being is called an embryo for the first two months of its period of development in the womb.
Encephalitis It is inflammation of the brain.
Endocrine glands These are ductless glands which produce hormones which pass directly into the blood.
Endocrinology It is the study of endocrine glands and their products.
Endoscope It is a tubular instrument which has a light source and a viewing optical system. This may be inserted into the organs.
Enterovirus It is a group of viruses that enter the body via the alimentary tract and tend to invade the central nervous system.
Entomology It is the study of insects.
Epidemic The term is used to describe a disease which spread quickly to affect a large proportion of the population.
Epilepsy It is recurrent disorder of the brain function characterized by clouding of convulsions due to an abnormal discharge of nerve impulses in the brain.
Ergonomics It is the study relating to efficient use of human energy.
Estrogen It is any of a group of steroid hormones containing 18 carbon atoms produced chiefly by the ovary and placenta but also by the testis and adrenal gland of all vertebrates.
Ethnology It is the science dealing with the various races of mankind, their distribution, relationship, culture and activities.
Eugenics It is the science dealing with the selective genetic improvement of the human race.
Euthanasia It is painless killing of a person or animal suffering from an incurable disease.
Expectorants The drugs which promote or increase the elimination of secretion from the respiratory tract by coughing.

Term Definition
Filariasis It is an infestation with parasitic threadworm-like worms.
Foetus It is a mammalian embryo on its late stages when the main features are clearly recognizable.

Term Definition
Gallbladder It is a small pouch-like organ that stores bile secreted from liver. Most vertebrates have gall bladders.
Gall stone It is an insoluble deposit precipitated from the bile, when bile stagnates in the gall bladder, it becomes excessively concentrated and gall stones form.
Gangrene It is death of body tissues from lack of oxygen caused by a loss of blood supply to those areas of the body, often hands of feet.
Gene It is the basic unit of inheritance. A gene is a short length of a chromosome made of DNA which influences a particular set of characters in a particular way.
Genetic code It is a sequence of bases along the DNA molecule.
Genetic engineering It is a technique of altering the genetic makeup of an organism to suit a specific purpose.
Genetics It is the scientific study of heredity, that is, the passing on of characteristics from parents to their offspring.
Genome It is the complete set of chromosomes found in each nucleus of a given species, which contains the entire genetic material.
Gerontology It is the scientific study of again.
Gestation period It is the period during which an embryo develops in the uterus of a mammal, from the time, of conception to birth.
Gland It is an organ which secretes specific chemical compounds such as enzymes or hormones.
Glaucoma It is an eye disease characterized by increased pressure of the fluid with in the eye.
Goitre It is an enlargement of all of part of the thyroid gland, which appears as a smooth swelling at the front of the neck. Goitre generally occurs due to iodine deficiency.
Gonad It is the organs which produces gametes in animals and in some produce hormones too. The female gonad is called ovary and male gonad is called testis.
Gout It is a chronic disease that can produce severe swelling of the joints.
Gynaecology It is the branch of medical science dealing with diseases of women, particularly those affecting reproductive organs.

Term Definition
Haematology It is the science dealing with the formation, composition, functions and disease of blood.
Haemoglobin It is the iron-containing, red, respiratory pigment of vertebrates and a few invertebrates that transports oxygen.
Haemophilia It is an inherited disease in which the blood fails to clot.
Hay fever It is a form of allergy that affects the nose and throat due to sensitivity to certain plant pollens
Heat stroke A condition caused by overexposure to the sun.
Hapatitis It is acute or chronic viral inflammation of the liver.
Herbivore It is a plant eating organism.
Herpes It is a group of closely related viruses that cause various diseases which included herpes simplex, herpes zoster and chicken pox.
Hibernation It is a condition of dormancy in animals to protect themselves against cold and study food scarcity during winter.
Histology It is the biological science that deals with the study of structure of tissues.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) It is a virus that causes AIDS.
Homo sapiens It is the term in Greek means ‘wise man’ and refers to the genus and species to which all modern human beings belong.
Homograft It is a tissue or organ which is transplanted from one individual to another of the same species.
Hormone It is a chemical messenger produced by endocrine glands in animals and secreted directly into the bloodstream.
Hybrid It is the offspring of parents of different races, varieties or species.
Hymen It is a fold of mucous membrane which normally partially covers the entrance to the vagina.
Hypersensitivity It is an exaggerated reaction of the body’s defence system to basically harmless substances which may have been inhaled, eaten, drunk, injected or just been in contact with the skin.
Hypnosis It is a temporary condition of altered attention in an individual.
Hysteria It is a psychological disorder, in which a person has physical complaints when no physical cause can be found.

Term Definition
Id It is a part of human personality that relates to the primitive instinct of the body, notably sex and aggression.
Immunity It is an inbuilt defence mechanism by which vertebrates can resist infection caused by parasitic microorganisms or their products.
Inbreeding It is reproduction by the mating of closely related individuals.
Incubation It is the act of providing proper physical conditions for the development of the young ones of certain organisms. Commonly it is the hatching of eggs by means of heat natural or artificial.
Incubation period It is the interval between exposure to a disease and its appearance.
Insemination It is the introduction of semen and spermatozoa into the female genital tract.
Insulin It is a protein. Hormone produced by the Islets of Langerhans, a part of the endocrine gland pancreas.
Invertebrate It is a collective terms for all animals which do not have a backbone or vertebral column.

Term Definition
Jaundice It is a condition characterised by yellowness of the skin, whites of eyes, mucous membranes and body fluids.

Term Definition
Keratitis It is an inflammation involving the cornea of the eyes.

Term Definition
Lactation It is the process by which milk secretion in the breasts is initiated and maintained and milk is delivered to the suckling infant.
Leukemia It is a kind of cancer in which certain white blood cells grow in an uncontrollable manner.
Lipid It is one of a large group of oily or fatty substances essential for good health.

Term Definition
Mammal It is an animal.
Mastectomy It is surgical removal of the breast. Usually carried out in the case of patients suffering from breast cancer.
Melanin It is a polymeric pigment responsible for colouring of eyes, skin and hair. Melanins are produced by epidermal cells called melanocytes.
Membrane It is a sheetlike tissue covering biological cells.
Meningitis It is an inflammation of the protective tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It is characterised by high fever, severe headache, aversion to strong light and neck stiffness.
Metamorphosis It describes a change in an animal.
Motor nerve It is nerve which conveys an impulse directly to a muscle and causes it to contract.
Muscular dystrophy It is a hereditary disease which progressively damaged muscle fibres and eventually destroys them.

Term Definition
Necrosis These are changes in the tissue brought about by the local death of cells.
Nematode It is a class of elongated roundworms.
Neuron It is an elongated greyish or reddish cell that is the basic functional unit of the nervous system.
Neurosis It is emotional disturbance that adversely affects thinking and judgement. A person suffering from neurosis shows constant anxiety about something or other.
Nocturnal It is active at night e.g. bats.

Term Definition
Obesity It is overweight of the body due to excessive accumulates in body tissues causing overall swelling.
Odontology It is a branch of science dealing with the study of teeth.
Oedema It is a condition in which excess of fluid accumulates in body tissues causing overall swelling.
Oedipus complex It is an abnormal both plant and animal material.
Omnivore It is an organism that can eat both plant and animal material.
Orgasm It is a state of highly emotional excitement that occurs at the climax of sexual intercourse.
Ornithology It is the branch of zoology dealing with the study of life or birds, including their identification and behavioural patterns.
Oral Rehydration Solution It is prepared by dissolving a pinch of salt and a little sugar in a glass of clean water.
Orthopaedics It is the branch of surgery dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of injuries, deformities and diseases of bones, joints ligaments and muscles.
Ossification It is the process of bone formation.
Osteoporosis It is a condition in which bones become thin and brittle due to loss of calcium.
Ovary It is an oval-shaped female sex gland that produces the ova, or egg cells and secreted hormones like oestrogen and progesterone.
Ovulation It is the release of a mature egg from the ovary during the menstrual cycle.

Term Definition
Pancreas It is a tongue-shaped organ that lies behind the stomach and produces two types of secretions.
Paralysis Any condition in which the ability to control the movement of a limb or a muscles is lost.
Pasteurization It is a technique of making milk safe for drinking by killing off any disease-causing bacteria present in it.
Pathogen Any micro-organism that causes disease.
Pathology It is the scientific study of the changes in tissue or body organs brought about by a disease or a physiological disorder. It is now used for diagnostic purposes.
Pharynx It is the cavity between the back of the mouth and the wind-pipe or food role in speech production.
Phobia It is a form an anxiety or irrational and intense fear triggered off by a specific, often harmless, situation or object.
Plasma It is the liquid part of body fluids such as lymph and blood. Blood plasma is a straw coloured fluid containing proteins and inorganic materials.
Platelet It is a tiny, disc-shaped body present in blood which plays an important role in blood clotting.
Puberty It is the period of life when the gonads become functional i.e. an individuals becomes sexually mature.
Prostrate gland It is a gland of the male reproductive system of mammals. It secretes a fluid into the semen that activates the sperms and prevents them from clumping together.
Protoplasm It is the living material within a cell including the Mitochondria, ribosomes and chromosomes.
Protozoa It is a group of single celled organisms ranging from the heart to the lungs. It is the only artery that carries oxygen depleted blood.
Pulmonary artery It is the blood vessel that carries deoxygenated blood from the heart to the lungs. It is the only artery that carries oxygen depleted blood.
Pulmonary vein It is the blood vessel that carries oxygenated blood from lungs to the heart. It is the only vein in the body that carries oxygenated blood.

Term Definition
Ruminants These are grazing mammals that chew cud and have split hooves, for example, ox, sheep, cow, camel and goat

Term Definition
Scabies It is a contagious skin disease caused by a microscopic mite Sarcoptes scabiei.
Schizophrenia It is a severe mental disease characterised by unpredictable disturbances in thinking where the individual withdraws from reality and begins thinking in illogical and confused patterns.
Scurvy It is a disease caused by lack of vitamins C in the diet. The symptoms include slow healing of wounds, mouth and gums become sore.
Senescence It is the process of growing old; the period of old age.
Serum It is liquid portion that remains after blood clots, and the blood cells and clotting elements are removed by centrifugation
Sex chromosomes It is one of a pair of chromosomes or one of several chromosomes that determine the genetic gender of its bearer. In humans the gender determining chromosomes are x and y chromosomes.
Silicosis It is a lung disease caused by inhalation of crystalline silica dust.
Spinal cord It is that portion of the central nervous system behind or below the brain and beyond the confines of the skull.
Sterile It is a word which describes something that is completely free from bacteria and other micro-organisms.

Term Definition
Thrombosis It is the formation of a solid mass of blood, often called “clot” or “thrombus”, in a blood vessel, which leads to partial or complete blockage of blood circulation in the area.
Thyroid It is the ductless gland found on both sides of the windpipe, It secretes the hormone thyroxine, a compound of iodine and tyrosine which controls the rate of metabolism in the body affecting its growth and activity.
Tonsils These are two small glands, about the shape and size of an almond at either side of the back of the mouth. They are lymphoid tissues which protect the body from infections by filtering out germs. They also aid in the production of white blood cells.
Toxicology It is the scientific study of poisons. It also deals with the technology required for their study, detection and counteraction.
Transfusion It is the transfer of blood or plasma from one individual to another.
Tuberculosis It is commonly known as T.B., It is an infectious, inflammatory and contagious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Tumour It is an uncontrolled growth of cells resulting in a large mass.
Typhoid It is an infectious gastrointestinal disease that causes fever. It often spreads by contamination of food, milk or water with Salmonella typhi bacteria.

Term Definition
Umbilical cord It is a connective cord that links the unborn infant or foetus with the mother.
Uterus Hollow organs of the female reproductive system in which an unborn baby develops. It is located near the base of the abdomen.

Term Definition
Vasectomy It is a surgical operation for closing up of vas deferens, the tube which carries sperms from the testis to the prostate gland from where they are carried outside along with other secretions.
Vector It is an agent which carries infectious organisms from an infected individual to another.
Vein It is a blood vessel which carries blood from different parts of the body to the heart. All veins except the pulmonary veins pulmonary veins carry oxygenated blood from lungs to the heart.
Vertebrate Any animal having a backbone or vertebral column.
Vestigial organs It is a small imperfectly developed organ which may have lost of changed its function in the course of evolution e.g. vermiform appendix of man.
Virus It is an extremely small obligate parasite which can multiply only in a living cell of a plant or an animal.
Vitamins These are organic compound that are essential but required in small quantities for the normal growth and proper nourishment of the body.

Term Definition
X-chromosome It is one of the sex determining chromosomes. In humans it is this chromosome that carries the genes for maleness. A human only when it carries an XY chromosomal set up.

Term Definition
Yeast It is a collective name for unicellular fungi.

Term Definition
Zygote It is the fusion product of an egg and a male gamete (sperm), i.e. a fertilized egg or ovum.