ar·​thro·​pod | \ ˈär-thrə-ˌpäd How to pronounce arthropod (audio) \

Definition of arthropod

: any of a phylum (Arthropoda) of invertebrate animals (such as insects, arachnids, and crustaceans) that have a segmented body and jointed appendages, a usually chitinous exoskeleton molted at intervals, and a dorsal anterior brain connected to a ventral chain of ganglia

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Other Words from arthropod

arthropod adjective
arthropodan \ är-​ˈthrä-​pə-​dən How to pronounce arthropod (audio) \ adjective

Examples of arthropod in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Velvet worms are incredibly social; studying them provides clues to the evolution of social behavior in arthropods. Helen Sullivan, New York Times, "Some of Australia’s Smallest Species Could Be Lost to Wildfires," 9 Jan. 2020 Its dense shade cools mountain streams, and its leaves and branches host hundreds of insects and other arthropods. Gabriel Popkin, Science | AAAS, "Aphid-munching beetle could help save hemlock forests," 15 Jan. 2020 In 2008, researchers uncovered a similar line of the prehistoric arthropods. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Trilobite Fossil Shows Animals Have Stood in Line for Hundreds of Millions of Years," 22 Oct. 2019 Moreover, like many endemic insect and arthropod species, velvet worms are highly local. Helen Sullivan, New York Times, "Some of Australia’s Smallest Species Could Be Lost to Wildfires," 9 Jan. 2020 Across the natural world — in vertebrates, arthropods and plants — new species most often arise after a little more than 2 million years. Quanta Magazine, "A Surprise for Evolution in Giant Tree of Life," 5 May 2015 The mealworms that stuffed themselves on plastic were in turn fed to Pacific whiteleg shrimp, tasty arthropods commonly sold in supermarkets for human consumption. Peter Fimrite,, "Plastic-munching mealworms may be key to helping clean environment," 19 Dec. 2019 Add it all up, and light is one of the major causes of mortality for arthropods. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "The Devastating Role of Light Pollution in the ‘Insect Apocalypse’," 26 Nov. 2019 Amphibians, mollusks and arthropods – including the Sonoran tiger salamander, white wartyback pearly mussel and Florida leafwing butterfly – were sensitive to the greatest number of factors related to climate change. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "Feds aren't doing enough to protect endangered species from climate change, study finds," 19 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'arthropod.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of arthropod

1857, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for arthropod

from base of New Latin Arthropoda, group name, from arthro- arthro- + -poda, neuter plural of Greek -podos -pod

Note: The taxon Arthropoda, "those with jointed limbs," was introduced by the German zoologist Karl Theodor Ernst von Siebold (1804-85) in Lehrbuch der vergleichenden Anatomie, von v. Siebold und Stannius [Hermann Friedrich Stannius], Erster Teil, Wirbellose Thiere, von C.Th. v. Siebold (Berlin, 1848), p. 4. Note that the first part of the Lehrbuch was published after the second part, released in 1846, an irregularity that has resulted in Arthropoda being incorrectly dated to that year, and credited to both Stannius and von Siebold. See the discussion in Thomas A. Hegna, et al., "The correct authorship of the taxon name 'Arthropoda'," Arthropod Systematics and Phylogeny, vol. 71, no. 2 (November 19, 2013), pp. 71-74.

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The first known use of arthropod was in 1857

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Cite this Entry

“Arthropod.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for arthropod


ar·​thro·​pod | \ ˈär-thrə-ˌpäd How to pronounce arthropod (audio) \

Kids Definition of arthropod

: any of a large group of animals (as crabs, insects, and spiders) with jointed limbs and a body made up of segments

More from Merriam-Webster on arthropod

Nglish: Translation of arthropod for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about arthropod

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