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member of the phylum Chordata; animal that has, for at least some stage of its life, a dorsal hollow nerve cord, a notochord, pharyngeal pouches, and a muscular tail


long supporting rod that runs through a chordate's body just below the nerve cord

pharyngeal pouch

one of a pair of structures in the throat (pharynx) region of a chordate


individual segment of the backbone; encloses and protects the spinal cord


aquatic vertabrate characterized by paired fins, scales, and gills


strong connective tissue that supports the body and is softer and more flexible than bone


upper chamber of the heart that receives and holds blood that is about to enter the ventricle


lower chamber of the heart that pumps blood out of the heart


area of the brain responsible for all voluntary activities of the body


region of the brain that coordinates body movements

medulla oblongata

area of the brain that controls the functioning of many internal organs

lateral line system

sensitive receptor system that enables fish to detect gentle currents and vibrations in the water

swim bladder

internal gas-filled organ in many bony fishes that adjusts their buoyancy


term used to refer to animals whose eggs hatch outside the mother's body


term used to refer to animals whose young are born alive after developing in eggs inside the mother's body


term used to refer to animals that bear live young that are nourished directly by the mother's body as they develop


vertebrate that, with some exceptions, lives in water as a larva and on land as an adult, breathes with lungs as an adult, has moist skin that contains mucus glands, and lacks scales and claws


a muscular cavity at the end of the large intestine through which digestive wastes, urine, and eggs or sperm leave the body

nictitating membrane

movable transparent membrane in amphibians located inside the regular eyelid; protects the surface of the eye from damage under water and keeps it moist on land

tympanic membrane

The eardrum. A structure that separates the outer ear from the middle ear and vibrates in response to sound waves.

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