Dictionary > Terrestrial


Of, pertaining to, or corresponding to land (on earth), as opposed to water and air
The term terrestrial in biology is generally used to describe living organisms that live and grow on land. Living things that make use of nature as their habitat may be grouped based on where they live, grow and reproduce. Living things that spend most of their life on land are called terrestrial. This is in contrast to living things that live on water (called aquatic) and those that are not growing in the ground (called aerial or epiphytic, especially of plants). There is another distinct group of living things that live both on land and in water and they are referred to as amphibious. As for the type of habitat, the term terrestrial may also be used. Land as a habitat is called a terrestrial habitat to distinguish from water that is called aquatic habitat. A terrestrial habitat would therefore indicate the habitat specifically for terrestrial living things whereas an aquatic habitat pertains to the various shelters of aquatic living things in different water forms.
Word origin: Latin terrestri (s) pertaining to earth, from terra (earth) + -al

See also:

  • epiphyte
  • habitat
  • ecosystem
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