corpus allatum


corpus al·​la·​tum -ə-ˈlā-təm How to pronounce corpus allatum (audio)
plural corpora allata -ˈlā-tə How to pronounce corpus allatum (audio)
: one of a pair of separate or fused bodies in many insects that are sometimes closely associated with the corpora cardiaca and that secrete hormones (such as juvenile hormone)

Word History


borrowed from New Latin, perhaps literally, "inserted body"

Note: Term introduced by the German zoologist and entomologist Richard Heymons (1867-1943) in "Über bläschenförmige Organe bei den Gespenstheuschrecken," Sitzungsberichte der Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1899, 1. Halbband, p. 572. The Latin adjective allatus is the suppletive past participle of afferre "to bring with, deliver, contribute, insert" (see afferent entry 1). It is unclear what meaning Heymons intended when applying the name to the organ. He at first named them ganglia allata, in the monograph Die Embryonalentwickelung von Dermopteren und Orthopteren (Jena, 1895), but in the later publication he changed the designation to corpora allata when he realized that they did not function as ganglia. He explains the name as follows in the 1899 paper: "Da diese hinteren paarigen Ganglien erst in Folge secundärer Wachsthumsprocesse beim Embryo volkommen passiv zu den übrigen Schlundganglien hingeschoben werden, so hatte ich sie als »ganglia allata« bezeichnet." ("As this anterior pair of ganglia have been pushed into the other esophageal ganglia in a completely passive way, only in consequence of secondary growth processes of the embryo, I had designated them as 'ganglia allata'.") Latin allatus is apparently meant as the equivalent of hingeschoben "pushed (in)" in German.

First Known Use

1899, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of corpus allatum was in 1899

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Cite this Entry

“Corpus allatum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2023.

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