Definition of parapodium in US English:



  • 1(in a polychaete worm) each of a number of paired muscular bristle-bearing appendages used in locomotion, sensation, or respiration.

    • ‘Muller and Westheide found the innervation pattern of myzostomid parapodia and marginal cirri to be identical to that of polychaete parapodia and cirri.’
    • ‘Mating status was easily established by inserting a finger between parapodia to determine if adjacent animals were linked by an extended penis.’
    • ‘Subsequently work on a brittle star showed expression of the gene in the tube feet, and many found it difficult to equate the tube feet of echinoderms with the parapodia of polychaetes or the arthropod limb.’
    • ‘The effect of progenesis has been best illustrated in some groups of interstitial-living annelids in which parapodia as well as the coelom are lost and the segmented appearance greatly reduced.’
    • ‘The Polychaeta lack a clitellum and have parapodia, paddle-like appendages with numerous bristles or chaetae.’
    1. 1.1 (in a sea slug or other mollusk) a lateral extension of the foot used as an undulating fin for swimming.
      • ‘In the latter group, parapodia are highly modified into wings.’
      • ‘The lateral edge of the parapodium was left free to contract.’
      • ‘Swimming results from alternate dorsal and ventral flexions of two symmetrical wing-like parapodia.’
      • ‘The pteropod mollusk Clione limacina swims by flapping a pair of wing-like parapodia.’
      • ‘Among the Anaspidea, numerous species of the genus Aplysia, such as A. brasiliana, are capable of swimming by undulating their parapodia.’


Late 19th century: modern Latin, from Greek para- ‘subsidiary’ + pous, pod- ‘foot’.