Archive for the ‘Words’ Category

Shore of Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi - Image via Wikipedia

This week’s word is littoral.

Pronounced – LIT-or-ul

Meaning – relating to the shore of a lake, sea, or ocean.

Origin – from the latin word litor, meaning shore.

Example usage – many species of cichlids are found in the littoral zone of Lake Malawi.


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Cyphotilapia frontosa with fry in mouth Photo ...

Cichlid with buccal cavity full of fry - Image via Wikipedia

This week’s word is buccal.

Pronounced – BUCK-ill

Meaning – relating to the cheeks or the mouth cavity.

Origin – from the latin word bucca, meaning cheek.

Example usage – mouth-brooding cichlids hold eggs in their buccal cavity.

Trivia – hamsters and chipmunks are famous for stuffing their buccal cavities with food. In humans a cosmetic surgeon can carry out buccal fat removal surgery to cure what is known as “chipmunk cheeks” in well to do women.

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Pregnant guppy, named Betta, in author's aquarium

Gravid female guppy

This week’s word is gravid.

Pronounced – GRAH-vid

Meaning – carrying developing young or eggs.

Origin – from the latin word gravis, meaning heavy.

Example usage – a gravid female guppy can give birth to many fry.

Trivia – gravid is usually used to refer to livebearing fishes but it can also be used to describe female fish that are full of eggs.

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This week’s word is synonym

Pronounced – SIN-oh-nim

Meaning – a different name for the same species

Origin – from the greek words syn (with) and onoma (name)

A Bronze Corydoras (Corydoras aeneus) owned by...

Bronze corydoras

Example usageCorydoras macrosteus is a synonym of Corydoras aeneus, the bronze corydoras.

Trivia – the first scientific name published is known as the senior synonym. Names published after this are known as junior synonyms. The senior synonym should always be used when referring to a species.

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A northern water snake (Nerodia sipedon) caugh...

A piscivorous snake - Image via Wikipedia

This week’s word is piscivore.

Pronounced – PIH-sih-voar (rhymes with kiss her more)

Meaning – a fish-eater.

Origin – from the latin words piscis (fish) and vorare (devour).

Similar words – carnivore (meat-eater), herbivore (plant eater), omnivore (everything eater).

Example usage – A piscivore such as the pike cichlid preys on small fish.

Trivia – piscivore is also used to indicate a person who is fond of fish.

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This week’s word is substrate.

Pronounced – SUB strait

Meaning – the material or surface layer in which plants grow.

Origin – from the Latin words sub – under and stratum – layer.

Example usage – Many catfish need a fine substrate such as sand rather than a sharp-edged material like some types of gravel.

Trivia – the word was originally “substratum”.

Sandy areas are a favored habitat for the comm...

Stingrays like a sandy substrate

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This week’s word is aufwuchs.

Pronounced – Ow-fuchs (The ‘ch’ is pronounced as in Scottish ‘loch’)

Rusty Cichlid,Iodotropheus sprengerae

Rusty Cichlid from Lake Malawi

Meaning – a term used to cover the small animals and plants that cover wood and rock surfaces.

Origin – a German word – over + growth.

Example usage mbuna cichlids in Lake Malawi have evolved to feed on aufwuchs.

Trivia – Aufwuchs is a term used by German aquarists (particularly cichlid enthusiasts) that has entered the English language. Similar English words would be biofilm and periphyton.

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