One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A genus of nudibranchiate gastropod molluscs (properly called Phylliroe) having a thin translucent body with no foot, cerata, or ctenidia, living in the open sea and respiring by means of the exchange of gases across the whole body surface; (also phyllirhoe) a mollusc of this genus.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in The Penny Cyclopaedia. From scientific Latin Phylliroe, genus name (F. Péron & C. A. Lesueur 1810, in Ann. du Muséum d'Hist. Nat 15 65; amended to Phyllirhoe by L. Oken Lehrb. der Naturgeschichte iii. 330, and to Phyllirrhoe by C. T. Menke Synopsis Methodica Molluscorum 5) from ancient Greek ϕύλλον leaf + ῥοή flow, so called in allusion to the animal's motion.
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