One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A spiny insectivorous egg-laying mammal with a long snout and claws, native to Australia and New Guinea.
Family Tachyglossidae, order Monotremata: two genera and species, in particular Tachyglossus aculeatusAlso called spiny anteater
- ‘Maybe you would see koalas, wombats, echidnas, brush tail and ring tail possums and emus if you're lucky.’
- ‘But it is the immediate predecessor of modern mammals, such as the platypus and the echidna.’
- ‘These exotic egg-laying animals are represented by just three species: the duck-billed platypus and two echidnas.’
- ‘Unlike platypuses, echidnas lack webbing and instead have large, shovel-like claws are present on all feet.’
- ‘The platypus and the echidna - a nocturnal, burrowing mammal with a spiny coat, long claws, and no teeth - are the only known living members of a type of animal known as monotremes.’
Mid 19th century: modern Latin, from Greek ekhidna ‘viper’, also the name of a mythical creature which gave birth to the Hydra; compare with ekhinos ‘sea urchin, hedgehog’.
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