dermatoblasts n.pl. [Gr. derma, skin; blastos, bud] (ARTHRO: Insecta) In an embryo, the outer thin layer of cells which form the ventral body wall. see neuroblasts.
dermatozoon n. [Gr. derma, skin; zoion, animal] Any animal parasitic on the skin.
dermis n. [Gr. derma, skin] (PORIF) The skinlike external covering.
dermoptic sense The response of an animal to light or shadow after removal of eyes and other photosensors.
dermosclerites n.pl. [Gr. derma, skin; skleros, hard] (CNID: Anthozoa) Calcareous spicules (sclerites) of alcyonarian coral polyps, produced by scleroblasts embedded in the mesoglea or stolons (or both) or in the coenenchyma connecting the polyps.
dermoskeleton n. [Gr. derma, skin; sketeto, dried hard] The exoskeleton.
descending a. [L. de, away from; scandere, to climb] Directed downwards or caudad; detrorse.
desclerotization n. [L. de, away from; Gr. skleros, hard] A reduction of sclerotin in sclerotized parts or structures.
description n. [L. describere, to delineate] In taxonomy, a more or less complete formal statement of the characters of a taxon without delimiting it from coordinate taxa. see delimitation, diagnosis, differential diagnosis.
desegmentation n. [L. de, away from; segmentum, piece] The fusion of segments formerly separated.
deserticolous a. [L. desertum, a waste place; colere, to inhabit] Desert-inhabiting.
desiccate v. [L. desiccare, to dry up] To dry up; a process of preserving.
desiccation n. [L. desiccare, to dry up] An inactive dry state of various invertebrates, directly referable to extreme, dry conditions.
desma n.; pl. -mata [Gr. desmos, bond] (PORIF: Demospongiae) In Lithistida, branched, irregular interlocking megascleres consisting of layers of silica irregularly deposited on ordinary spicules.
desmacyte n. [Gr. desmos, bond; kytos, container] (PORIF) Long slender cells in the cortex and around the internal channels; fiber cells.
desmen n.pl. [Gr. desmos, bond] (NEMATA: Adenophorea) Transverse rings around the bodies of Desmoscolecida; concretion rings.
desmergate n. [Gr. desmos, bond; ergates, worker] (ARTHRO: Insecta) A form of ant intermediate between the typical worker and the soldier; can also be used to designate the intermediate forms between the large and small workers in certain genera.
desmoneme n. [Gr. desmos, bond; nema, thread] (CNID: Hy-
drozoa) A small nematocyst of hydras with a short unarmed spirally coiled tubule, which functions in entangling and wrapping around bristles of prey; volvent.
desmosome n. [Gr. desmos, bond; soma, body] 1. That portion of a cell membrane specialized for adhesion to a neighboring cell. 2. (ARTHRO: Insecta) An attachment area between epidermal and muscle cells; the muscle fibrils of the muscles attach on one side and the epidermal micro-tubules attach on the other side of the desmosome. see hemidesmosome, tonofibrillae.
Desmospongiae n. [Gr. desmos, bond; spongos, sponge] A class of sponges encompassing 90% of all existing sponges with ancestory tracing back to simple Cambrian sponges (500 million years).
Desor's larva (NEMER) Oval ciliated postgastral stage (in the egg) of Lineus ; develops like the pilidium larva.
desquamation n. [L. de, away from; squama, scale] Peeling or scaling off of cuticle or epidermis in flakes.
desynapsis n. [L. de, away from; Gr. synaptos, joined together] Separation of paired chromosomes during the dip-lotene phase of the first meiotic division; desyndesis; de-conjugation. see asynapsis.
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