zo·​ea | \ zō-ˈē-ə How to pronounce zoea (audio) \
plural zoeae\ zō-​ˈē-​ˌē How to pronounce zoea (audio) \ or zoeas\ zō-​ˈē-​əz How to pronounce zoea (audio) \

Definition of zoea

: a free-swimming planktonic larval form of many decapod crustaceans and especially crabs that has a relatively large cephalothorax, conspicuous eyes, and fringed antennae and mouthparts

Illustration of zoea

Illustration of zoea

First Known Use of zoea

1828, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for zoea

borrowed from New Latin, originally a genus name (the larva having been mistaken for a crustacean species), probably from Greek zōḗ "life" (derivative from the base of zô, zên "to be alive, live") + New Latin -ea, noun derivative from the feminine of Latin -eus -eous, zoo-

Note: Name introduced by the French botanist and zoologist Louis Augustin Guillaume Bosc (1759-1828) in Histoire naturelle des crustacés, tome second (Paris, An X [1801-02]), p. 135. Bosc gives the vernacular name as zoé, but does not comment on the derivation of the word.

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Cite this Entry

“Zoea.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/zoea. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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