One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Either of a pair of appendages in front of the mouth in arachnids and some other arthropods, usually modified as pincer-like claws.Compare with chela
- ‘The legs, pedipalps and chelicerae are pulled free from the skin with rhythmic movements until finally the spider pulls free.’
- ‘There is no eye streak above their anterior eyes, as seen in SR males, but the chelicerae are striped.’
- ‘The front pair of appendages, the chelicerae, are the ones which contain the poison glands.’
- ‘The chelicerae (first appendages) may be clawed mouthparts or may be modified for piercing, as in ticks.’
- ‘Although they have weak chelicerae, they secrete extremely potent venom, which enables them to attack insects 2-3 times their size.’
Mid 19th century: modern Latin, from Greek khēlē ‘claw’ + keras ‘horn’.
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