Definition of sclerite in US English:



  • A component section of an exoskeleton, especially each of the plates forming the skeleton of an arthropod.

    • ‘The mineralized chancellorid sclerites located on or immediately under the epidermis were ‘hollow,’ subdivided by thin internal walls, and filled with soft tissues connected to the rest of the animal by restricted basal foramens.’
    • ‘Statistical evaluations of this material prove the orientation of sclerites to be about 50 percent in one and 50 percent in the opposite direction with respect to the outer surface.’
    • ‘In well-preserved specimens, this layer forms an undulating coat that covers the entire sclerite.’
    • ‘The animal is likely to have been fairly short and broad to account for the even distribution of sclerite sizes, as an elongate morphology results in a preponderance of large sclerites.’
    • ‘All dorsal sclerites are in close articulation and there are no gaps along cephalic sutures.’


Mid 19th century: from Greek sklēros ‘hard’ + -ite.