any parasitic worm of the phylum or class Acanthocephala, having a proboscis covered with recurved hooks.
belonging or pertaining to the Acanthocephala.

1905–10; < Neo-Latin Acanthocephal(a), neuter plural of acanthocephalus (see acantho-, -cephalous) + -an Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
acanthocephalan (əˌkænθəʊˈsɛfələn)
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
2.  of, relating to, or belonging to the Acanthocephala

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
acanthocephalan   (ə-kān'thə-sěf'ə-lən)  Pronunciation Key 
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
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