Chionophile


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chionophile

[‚kī′än·ə‚fīl]
(ecology)
Having a preference for snow.

Chionophile

 

a plant or animal capable of surviving a snow cover. Chionophilic plants include many species occurring in broadleaf forests, for example Corydalis, Scilla, Ficaria, Anemone, and Galanthus. Chionophiles belong to the group of snow plants, in which growth processes and photosynthesis occur at temperatures around 0°C in late winter and early spring, when the plants are covered with snow. The green leaves of tundra evergreen herbs and shrublets and of plants constituting the ground cover of temperate-zone forests are preserved throughout the winter under the snow, as are certain cultivated plants (rye and wheat) and winter weeds (wintercress and shepherd’s purse).

Animal chionophiles find protection under the snow cover from predators and unfavorable weather. Lucerne fleas and insects of the family Boreidae live under the snow on the forest floor. Small mammals, for example, voles and shrews, burrow under the snow, and in years with abundant food common voles reproduce, building warm nests in their snowy burrows. Chionophilic animals are common in regions with a stable and relatively deep snow cover; after winters with little snow, their numbers sharply decrease.

A. M. BYLOVA

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