One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(in a mollusk) a rasplike structure of tiny teeth used for scraping food particles off a surface and drawing them into the mouth.
- ‘Most mollusks use the radula to break up food, but the cone snail uses it to inject venom.’
- ‘Once the prey is snared it is bitten with strong beak-like jaws and pulled into the mouth by the radula.’
- ‘In some chitons, the radula has teeth tipped with magnetite, which hardens them.’
- ‘Threadlike cilia-bearing tentacles probe for food, such as forams, detritus, and even the occasional buried bivalve, and bring it to the mouth where a large radula grinds it up.’
- ‘The correct characterization of fossil taxa is difficult as specimens are missing many important features necessary for an accurate identification, particularly protoconchs and radulae.’
Late 19th century: from Latin, literally ‘scraper’, from radere ‘to scrape’.
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