Baby salamander means something

Meat-eating pitcher plants feast on baby salamanders

Power words

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amphibians A group of animals that includes frogs, salamanders and caecilians. Amphibians have backbones and can breathe through their skin. Unlike reptiles, birds and mammals, unborn or unhatched amphibians do not develop in a special protective sac called an amniotic sac.

biologist A scientist involved in the study of living things.

bent A type of wetland that forms peat from the accumulation of dead plant material - often mosses.

bug The slang term for an insect. Sometimes it's even used to refer to a germ. (In computing) Slang term for a glitch in computer code, the instructions that direct the operations of a computer.

carnivorous plans A plant that trap animals, usually insects, as food.

chemical A substance formed from two or more atoms that unite (bond) in a fixed proportion and structure. For example, water is a chemical made when two hydrogen atoms bond to one oxygen atom. Its chemical formula is H.2O. Chemical can also be an adjective to describe properties of materials that are the result of various reactions between different compounds.

chemical reaction A process that involves the rearrangement of the molecules or structure of a substance, as opposed to a change in physical form (as from a solid to a gas).

component Something that is part of something else (such as pieces that go on an electronic circuit board or ingredients that go into a cookie recipe).

ecology A branch of biology that deals with the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings. A scientist who works in this field is called an ecologist.

enzymes Molecules made by living things to speed up chemical reactions.

field A term to describe a real-world environment in which some research is conducted, such as at sea, in a forest, on a mountaintop or on a city street. It is the opposite of an artificial setting, such as a research laboratory.

graduate student Someone working toward an advanced degree by taking classes and performing research. This work is done after the student has already graduated from college (usually with a four-year degree).

insect A type of arthropod that as an adult will have six segmented legs and three body parts: a head, thorax and abdomen. There are hundreds of thousands of insects, which include bees, beetles, flies and moths.

mammal A warm-blooded animal distinguished by the possession of hair or fur, the secretion of milk by females for feeding their young, and (typically) the bearing of live young.

molecule An electrically neutral group of atoms that represents the smallest possible amount of a chemical compound. Molecules can be made of single types of atoms or of different types. For example, the oxygen in the air is made of two oxygen atoms (O2); water is made of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom (H2O).

nitrogen A colorless, odorless and nonreactive gaseous element that forms about 78 percent of Earth's atmosphere. Its scientific symbol is N. Nitrogen is released in the form of nitrogen oxides as fossil fuels burn. It comes in two stable forms. Both have 14 protons in the nucleus. But one has 14 neutrons in that nucleus; the other has 15. For that difference, they are known, respectively, as nitrogen-14 and nitrogen-15 (or 14N and 15N).

nutrient A vitamin, mineral, fat, carbohydrate or protein that a plant, animal or other organism requires as part of its food in order to survive.

nutrition (adj. nutritious) The healthful components (nutrients) in the diet - such as proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals - that the body uses to grow and to fuel its processes. A scientist who works in this field is known as a nutritionist.

pitcher plans A carnivorous plant that traps bugs in traps filled with fluid and shaped like pitchers.

population (in biology) A group of individuals from the same species that lives in the same area.

predator (adjective: predatory) A creature that preys on other animals for most or all of its food.

prey (n.) Animal species eat by others. (v.) To attack and eat another species.

spider A type of arthropod with four pairs of legs that usually spin threads of silk that they can use to create webs or other structures.

vertebrates The group of animals with a brain, two eyes, and a stiff nerve cord or backbone running down the back. This group includes amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and most fish.


Sharon Oosthoek is a freelance science journalist. She likes to write about animals and their habitats. Sharon also really likes chocolate. Her sons have learned to hide their Halloween candy.