Definition of Gastrotricha in US English:


plural noun

  • A small phylum of minute aquatic wormlike animals that bear bristles and cilia. They are thought to be related to the nematode worms and rotifers.

    • ‘Furthermore they have several plesiomorphic characters, such as a myoepitheal pharyngeal bulb, comparable to the other Cycloneuralia, especially the Nematoda and Gastrotricha.’
    • ‘They concluded that Gastrotricha is the sister-taxon of a monophyletic clade comprising Nematoda, Nematomorpha, Priapulida, Kinorhyncha and Loricifera.’
    • ‘These are the horsehair worms or Nematomorpha and the Gastrotricha.’
    • ‘The name Gastrotricha derives from the possession of ventral locomotory cilia which are covered by cuticle, a unique feature among metazoan animals.’
    • ‘With the two examples from Nematomorpha and Gastrotricha I aimed to exemplify these interconnections and show gaps in knowledge that are mainly due to the evaluation of nematomorphs and gastrotrichs as ‘lesser known groups.’’


Modern Latin (plural), from Greek gastēr, gastr- ‘stomach’ + thrix, trikh- ‘hair’.