invertebrate


invertebrate
invertebracy /in verr"teuh breuh see/, invertebrateness, n.
/in verr"teuh brit, -brayt'/, adj.
1. Zool.
a. not vertebrate; without a backbone.
b. of or pertaining to creatures without a backbone.
2. without strength of character.
n.
3. an invertebrate animal.
4. a person who lacks strength of character.
[1820-30; < NL invertebratus. See IN-3, VERTEBRATE]

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Any animal that lacks a vertebral column, or backbone.

They include the protozoans, annelids, cnidarians, echinoderms, flatworms, nematodes, mollusks, and arthropods. More than 90% of living animals are invertebrates. Worldwide in distribution, they range in size from minute protozoans to giant squids. Apart from the absence of a vertebral column, invertebrates have little in common. They are generally soft-bodied and have an external skeleton for muscle attachment and protection. See also vertebrate.

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      any animal that lacks a vertebral column, or backbone, in contrast to the cartilaginous or bony vertebrates. More than 90 percent of all living animal species are invertebrates. Worldwide in distribution, they include animals as diverse as sea stars, sea urchins, earthworms, sponges, jellyfish, lobsters, crabs, insects, spiders, snails, clams, and squid. Invertebrates are especially important as agricultural pests, parasites, or agents for the transmission of parasitic infections to humans and other vertebrates. Invertebrates serve as food for humans and are key elements in food chains that support birds, fish, and many other vertebrate species.

      Apart from the absence of a vertebral column, invertebrates have little in common. Indeed, they are distributed between more than 35 phyla. In contrast, all vertebrates are contained within a single phylum, the Chordata. (Phylum Chordata also includes the sea squirts and some other invertebrate groups.) Invertebrates are generally soft-bodied animals that lack a rigid internal skeleton for the attachment of muscles but often possess a hard outer skeleton (as in most mollusks, crustaceans, and insects) that serves, as well, for body protection.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Invertebrate — In*ver te*brate, a. (Zo[ o]l.) Destitute of a backbone; having no vertebr[ae]; of or pertaining to the Invertebrata. n. One of the Invertebrata. [1913 Webster] {Age of invertebrates}. See {Age}, and {Silurian}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • invertebrate — (n.) 1826, from L. in not (see IN (Cf. in ) (1)) + vertebra joint (see VERTEBRA (Cf. vertebra)). Invertebrata as a biological classification was coined 1805 by French naturalist Georges Léopole Chrétien Frédéric Dagobert, Baron Cuvier (1769 1832) …   Etymology dictionary

  • invertebrate — ► NOUN ▪ an animal having no backbone, such as an arthropod, mollusc, etc. ► ADJECTIVE ▪ relating to such animals …   English terms dictionary

  • invertebrate — [in vʉr′tə brit, in vʉr′təbrāt΄] adj. [ModL invertebratus] 1. not vertebrate; having no backbone, or spinal column 2. of invertebrates 3. having no moral backbone; lacking courage, resolution, etc. n. any animal without a backbone, or spinal… …   English World dictionary

  • Invertebrate — The common fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, has been the subject of much research An invertebrate is an animal without a backbone. The group includes 97% of all animal species[1] – all animals except those in the …   Wikipedia

  • invertebrate — 1. Not possessed of a spinal or vertebral column. 2. Any animal that has no spinal column. * * * in·ver·te·brate ( )in vərt ə brət, .brāt n an animal having no backbone or internal skeleton invertebrate adj lacking a spinal column …   Medical dictionary

  • invertebrate — [[t]ɪnvɜ͟ː(r)tɪbrət[/t]] invertebrates N COUNT An invertebrate is a creature that does not have a spine, for example an insect, a worm, or an octopus. [TECHNICAL] ADJ Invertebrate is also an adjective. ...invertebrate creatures …   English dictionary

  • invertebrate — adjective Etymology: New Latin invertebratus, from Latin in + New Latin vertebratus vertebrate Date: 1832 1. lacking a spinal column; also of, relating to, or concerned with invertebrate animals 2. lacking in strength or vitality ; weak •… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • invertebrate — UK [ɪnˈvɜː(r)tɪbrət] / US [ɪnˈvɜrtəbrət] / US [ɪnˈvɜrtəˌbreɪt] noun [countable] Word forms invertebrate : singular invertebrate plural invertebrates biology a small animal without a backbone, for example an insect or a worm • See: vertebrate …   English dictionary

  • invertebrate — in|ver|te|brate [ınˈvə:tıbrıt, breıt US ə:r ] n a living creature that does not have a ↑backbone →↑vertebrate >invertebrate adj …   Dictionary of contemporary English


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