glochidium

[gloh-kid-ee-uhm]
noun, plural glochidia [gloh-kid-ee-uh] .
2.
the larva of a freshwater mussel of the family Unionidae that lives as a temporary parasite in the gills or on other external parts of fishes.

Origin:
1895–1900; < Neo-Latin < Greek glōch(ís) point of an arrow + -idion diminutive suffix

glochidial, adjective
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World English Dictionary
glochidium (ɡləʊˈkɪdɪəm)
 
n , pl -chidia
1.  a barbed hair, esp among the spore masses of water ferns and on certain other plants
2.  a parasitic larva of certain freshwater mussels that attaches itself to the fins or gills of fish by hooks or suckers
 
[C19: from New Latin, from Greek glōkhis projecting point]
 
glo'chidiate
 
adj

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Example sentences
If a glochidium attaches to the correct fish species, it encysts into the fish's tissue and undergoes a short life as a parasite.
If a glochidium attaches to an unsuitable host, it dies.
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