zo·​o·​xan·​thel·​la | \ ˌzō-ə-zan-ˈthe-lə How to pronounce zooxanthella (audio) \
plural zooxanthellae\ ˌzō-​ə-​zan-​ˈthe-​(ˌ)lē How to pronounce zooxanthellae (audio) \

Definition of zooxanthella

: any of various symbiotic dinoflagellates that live within the cells of other organisms (such as reef-building coral polyps)

First Known Use of zooxanthella

1882, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for zooxanthella

borrowed from New Latin, originally a genus name, from zoo- zoo- + Greek xanthós "yellow" + New Latin -ella, suffix in names of microorganisms, going back to Latin, feminine of -ellus, diminutive suffix, originally from bases ending in -ul-, -r- or -n- — more at xanthophyll

Note: As a genus name, Zooxanthella was introduced by the German marine biologist Karl Brandt (1854-1931) in "Ueber das Zusammenleben von Thieren und Algen" ("Verhandlungen der physiologischen Gesellschaft zu Berlin," "Nachtrag zur Sitzung von 11. November 1881"), Archiv für Physiologie, Physiologische Abtheilung des Archives für Anatomie und Physiologie, Jahrgang 1881, p. 572.

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The first known use of zooxanthella was in 1882

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Last Updated

27 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Zooxanthella.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/zooxanthella. Accessed 28 January 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on zooxanthella

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about zooxanthella

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