Definition of Symphyla in US English:


plural noun

  • A small class of myriapod invertebrates which resemble the centipedes. They are small eyeless animals with one pair of legs per segment, typically living in soil and leaf mold.

    • ‘The Pauropoda and Symphyla are both rather obscure groups and relatively little is known about their biology and habits.’
    • ‘Moulting continues throughout their life, and adult Symphyla can live for several years, undergoing more than 50 moults.’
    • ‘Two of them, the Symphyla and Pauropoda, consist of tiny arthropods living in leaf litter and soil; both superficially resemble centipedes.’
    • ‘It is tempting to interpret this structural similarity as evidence of a close evolutionary affinity between Symphyla and Insecta.’
    • ‘An excellent collection of reprints on the little-known Symphyla is also maintained.’


Modern Latin (plural), from sym- ‘together’ + Greek phulē, phulon ‘tribe’.