Lizards & Snakes
Lizards & Snakes
Cortland Herpetology ConnectionGlossary
definitions will help you use the identification keys.
- Acanthal ridges -- Ridges (with light
lines) extending from the eyes to the nostrils in members of the species Gyrinophilus
porphyriticus (spring salamanders).
- Anal plate -- The scale or scales directly
covering the cloaca of a snake. This plate may be single (one scale) or divided
along the mid-line into two scales.
- Bridge -- The part of the shell between the
front and hind legs connecting the upper and lower halves of the shell.
- Carapace -- The upper half of a turtle
- Costal grooves -- The grooves present along
the sides of the bodies of many salamanders. When counting them for
identification purposes, include only those between the front legs and the hind
- Dorsolateral ridge -- Lines or folds of
skin (usually gold colored) along the upper sides of some frogs in the family
- Intercalary cartilage -- An extra piece
of cartilage in the toes of members of the Hylidae (tree frog) family. It
causes the end of the toes to have a "stepped-down" appearance.
- Keeled scales -- Snake or lizard scales that
have a raised ridge running horizontally along each scale. They give the scales
a rough appearance.
- Keeled tail -- A salamander tail that
narrows to a knife edge along its dorsal (top) surface.
- Nasolabial grooves -- Narrow grooves that
extend from the nostrils to the mouth in salamanders of the family
- Parotoid glands -- Large skin glands that
appear as swellings on each side of the back of the head of toads (family
Bufonidae) and some salamanders.
- Pit organ -- The heat sensing organs of the pit
vipers that belong to the family Viperidae. They appear as holes on each side
of the head between the eye and nostril.
- Plastron -- The lower half of a turtle
- Rostral -- This is the tip of the snout.
- Scale rows -- The scales on the bodies of
snakes are arranged in rows that extend down the length of the animal. To count
scale rows, choose a position about midway posterior (back) from the head.
Start with the first scale row dorsal (above) the enlarged ventral (belly)
scales, and count from one side of the snake over the back to the other. Do not
count the ventral scales.
- Scutes -- Another word for keratin scales.
Refers especially to the keratin scales on the outer layer of turtle shells.
Sometimes called horny scutes.
- Tympanum -- This is the external ear drum
visible on the side of the head of most frogs.
- Vestigial -- Greatly reduced and
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