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Glossary of biological terms: P

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panicle (adjective paniculate). A branched or compound raceme: an inflorescence of flowers on a plant in which the main stalk gives rise to side stalks that in turn give rise to a series of flowers.  Each side stalk of flowers is a seperate raceme defined by the oldest flowers being at the base and the youngest ones at the end. 

parasites. An organism that lives in or on the body of another organism (its host), at least for part of its life cycle, feeding on the tissues of its host. Insect parasites that kill their hosts are termed parasitoids.

parasitoidAn insect that feeds in or on another living animal for a long time, eating most of its tissues and eventually killing it. 

parthenogenesis. Development of the adult form from an unfertilised egg.


perianth (botany). The outer unit enclosing the flower, made up of an outer calyx and inner corolla, or either calyx or corolla, or both combined and undifferentiated from one another. 

petal (botany). The corolla of a flower is divided up into petals whereas the calyx (which usually encloses the corolla at its base) is made up or sepals. If the calyx and corolla are combined into one undifferentiated unit, then the individual parts are referred to as tepals. See perianth for illustrations.


prosoma (zoology). In the subphylum Cheliceriformes (arachnids and kin), the body is divided into two main parts (tagmata), the prosoma (also termed cephalothorax) and the opisthosoma (also termed thorax). In insects, the head and thorax divide the functions of eating and sensing from those of locomotion (legs) whereas in the Cheliceriformes the prosoma combines both these sets of functions. 


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