Explanation Of Common Technical Terms
by Wayne Martin
Like most fields of scientific endeavour, herpetology (the study of frogs and reptiles) involves a certain amount of jargon. In this section I will attempt to explain the terms he uses. I will provide other definitions as required in forthcoming newsletters. Over time you will be able to build up a dictionary of common terms.
tympanum: The frogs eardrum, located on the side of the head, behind the eye.
supratympanic fold: A fold of skin laying along the upper edge of the tympanum, and running down to the neck.
dorsal: The upper surface of the frog, its back.
lateral: The sides of the frog.
ventral: The lower surface of the frog, its belly.
nuptial pads: A roughened pad on the thumb and first finger of male frogs which develops during the breeding season.
amplexus: The breeding position. This may be axillary (the male grips the females armpits) or inguinal (the male grips the females groin).
lentic tadpole: A tadpole adapted to living in still pools. Have an oval body, mouth at the front of the head, and deep fins.
lotic tadpole: A tadpole adapted to living in fastflowing streams. Have a flattened body, a sucker-like mouth on the underside of the head, and narrow fins.
dextral: located on the right side of the body.
spiracle: A small tube opening on the side of the tadpoles body.
sinistral: located on the left side of the body.
papillae: Small fleshy bumps around the tadpoles mouth.
oral disc: The slightly funnel shaped area around the tadpoles mouth.
caudal: Relating to the tail. Caudal stripes means stripes on the tail.