chromatophore

noun
chro·​mato·​phore | \ krō-ˈma-tə-ˌfȯr How to pronounce chromatophore (audio) , krə- \
plural chromatophores

Definition of chromatophore

1 : a pigment-bearing cell especially : a cell (such as a melanophore) of an animal integument capable of causing integumentary color changes by expanding or contracting Cephalopods have such remarkable camouflage primarily because of their chromatophores—sacs of red, yellow or brown pigment in the skin made visible (or invisible) by muscles around their circumference. — Michael Brooks
2 : the organelle of photosynthesis in photosynthetic bacteria (such as the cyanobacteria) broadly : chromoplast, chloroplast

Examples of chromatophore in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Organs called chromatophores, which contain sacs of skin pigment, dot their skin. Washington Post, 7 Feb. 2019 Octopuses’ can quickly and drastically change colors thanks to chromatophores, which are elastic cells of pigment that contract and expand to make certain colors more visible. Claire Bugos, Smithsonian, 12 Oct. 2019 Cephalopods have a layer of skin that’s packed with pigment-containing cells called chromatophores. Washington Post, 24 June 2019 But beneath the chromatophores is a separate layer of cells called iridophores. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 23 Sep. 2018 In this period, glass eels lack color-producing cells such as chromatophores and melanophores, says George Burgess, an ichthyologist at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Liz Langley, National Geographic, 25 Mar. 2017 Most of the 60 species of glass squid are clear, but deep-sea cockatoo squid also have color-creating chromatophores. Liz Langley, National Geographic, 25 Mar. 2017 In this period, glass eels lack color-producing cells such as chromatophores and melanophores, says George Burgess, an ichthyologist at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Liz Langley, National Geographic, 25 Mar. 2017 What's more, its wraith-like appearance is due to a total lack of pigment cells, or chromatophores, which are useless in the dark depths. National Geographic, 4 Mar. 2016 See More

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

First Known Use of chromatophore

1849, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for chromatophore

probably borrowed from German Chromatophore, Chromatophor, from chromato- chromato- + -phore, -phor -phore

Note: In use in German no later than 1841, as Chromatophoren (plural) in Rudolf Wagner's Icones Zootomicae: Handatlas zur zur vergleichenden Anatomie nach fremden und eigen Untersuchungen (Leipzig). In notes to the plates illustrating cephalopod anatomy, Wagner gives Farbzellen ("color" or "pigment cells") as the vernacular equivalent of Chromatophoren.

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The first known use of chromatophore was in 1849

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chromatone process

chromatophore

chromatoplasm

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Cite this Entry

“Chromatophore.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chromatophore. Accessed 1 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for chromatophore

chromatophore

noun
chro·​mato·​phore | \ krō-ˈmat-ə-ˌfō(ə)r, krə-, -ˌfȯ(ə)r How to pronounce chromatophore (audio) \

Medical Definition of chromatophore

1 : a pigment-bearing cell especially : a cell (such as a melanophore) of an animal integument capable of causing integumentary color changes by expanding or contracting
2 : the organelle of photosynthesis in photosynthetic bacteria (such as the cyanobacteria) : chromoplast, chloroplast

Other Words from chromatophore

chromatophoric \ -​ˌmat-​ə-​ˈfōr-​ik, -​ˈfȯr-​ How to pronounce chromatophore (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on chromatophore

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about chromatophore

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