Any of various photosynthetic, unicellular marine algae of the division Haptophyta or Prymnesiophyta, possessing two flagella and often bearing external calcified scales that fossilize as coccoliths. Haptophytes are abundant in the world's oceans and are thought to play an important role in global carbon and sulfur cycles.
Origin of haptophyte
- From New Latin Haptophyta division name Greek haptein to grasp, touch (from the threadlike structure characteristic of the haptophytes, used to capture food and as a sensory organ) Greek phyton plant -phyte
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition