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Word of the Week: Matutinal

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Welcome to Word of the Week! Stay tuned for a new word each week to amp up your nature vocabulary!

The word of the week is matutinal [MAH-TYU-TEH-NULL] (adjective): of, relating to, active or occurring during the twlight hours of dawn.

This word is often used to describe wildlife that are active at dawn. Some matutinal animals include honey bees and gerbils. An example of matutinal plants are morning glory flowers that open up at dawn.

Being active during the twilight hours of the dawn or dusk holds some benefits for some species of plants and animals. The dim light can provide cover for both predator and prey animals. Additionally, since most animals hunt during the day or night, twilight hours are less crowded, allowing animals to avoid competition with similar species.

The opposite of matutinal, used to describe wildlife active at dusk, is vespertine. Matutinal and vespertine species are together referred to as crepescular species, a word used to describe wildlife that are active during twilight hours.

Are you an early riser? You too could use this word to describe your own matutinal routines!