Any of a phylum (Acanthocephala) of intestinal worms, lacking a digestive tract and having a proboscis bearing rows of thornlike hooks.
Any of various, mostly small worms of the phylum Acanthocephala that live parasitically in arthropods as juveniles and in the intestines of vertebrates (especially fish) as adults. Acanthocephalans have a cylindrical, retractile proboscis that has rows of hooked spines and is used for attachment to a host.
Origin of acanthocephalan
- From New Latin Acanthocephala phylum name acantho– Greek kephalē head –cephalous
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- From Ancient Greek ἄκανθος (akanthos, “thorn”) + κεφαλή (kephalē, “head”).