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acanthocephalan

[uh-kan-thuh-sef-uh-luh n] /əˌkæn θəˈsɛf ə lən/
noun
1.
any parasitic worm of the phylum or class Acanthocephala, having a proboscis covered with recurved hooks.
adjective
2.
belonging or pertaining to the Acanthocephala.
Origin
1905-1910
1905-10; < New Latin Acanthocephal(a), neuter plural of acanthocephalus (see acantho-, -cephalous) + -an
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for acanthocephalan

acanthocephalan

/əˌkænθəʊˈsɛfələn/
noun
1.
any of the parasitic wormlike invertebrates of the phylum Acanthocephala, the adults of which have a spiny proboscis and live in the intestines of vertebrates
adjective
2.
of, relating to, or belonging to the Acanthocephala
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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acanthocephalan in Science
acanthocephalan
  (ə-kān'thə-sěf'ə-lən)   
Any of various, mostly small worms of the phylum Acanthocephala that live parasitically in arthropods as juveniles and in the intestines of vertebrates (especially fish) as adults. Acanthocephalans have a cylindrical, retractile proboscis that has rows of hooked spines and is used for attachment to a host. Also called spiny-headed worm.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for acanthocephalan

any animal of the invertebrate phylum Acanthocephala. A proboscis, or snout, which bears hooks, gives the group its name. There are about 600 recorded species, all of which are parasites in vertebrates (usually fish) as adults and in arthropods as juveniles. The adults are usually less than 1 cm (0.4 inch) in length, but some reach 50 cm (about 20 inches) or more. Spiny-headed worms are found throughout the world

Learn more about acanthocephalan with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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