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1. a long flexible prehensile trunk or snout, as of an elephant
2. the elongated mouthparts of certain insects, adapted for piercing or sucking food
3. any similar part or organ
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(1) The narrowed anterior part of the body of invertebrates that performs a sensory function (in some turbellarians) or serves to gather food particles (in echiurids). In priapulids and sipunculids the proboscis retracts into the body. The term “proboscis” is also used to designate the sharply differentiated anterior section of Enteropneusta that serves for digging in the bottom.

(2) A special movable anterior organ in nemertinoids and some turbellarians that is used to capture prey. The proboscis is especially well developed in nemertinoids.

(3) A tubelike organ of attachment in parasitic worms, for example, thorny-headed worms and tapeworms. The proboscis is armed with hooks and is often retractile.

(4) The externally protruding tubular pharynx of some annelid worms, for example, polychaetes and leeches.

(5) In certain arthropods, mouth apparatus in the form of an elongate tube adapted for sucking liquid food. The proboscis may be a sucking organ (as in trichopterons, lepidopterons, hymenopterons, and some dipterons) or a stinging and sucking organ capable of piercing animal or plant integuments (as in ticks, Homoptera, hemipterons, thrips, lice, fleas, and certain dipterons).




in certain reptiles (soft river tortoises) and mammals (most insectivores, tapirs, male elephant seals, elephants) the movable elongate nasal part of the snout with nostrils at its tip. The proboscis usually performs respiratory, olfactory, and tactile functions. Its degree of mobility and development varies in different animals. It is especially well developed in elephants, where it is formed by the concrescence of the elongated nose and the upper lip. The tip of the elephant’s proboscis, or trunk, is equipped with a movable fingerlike projection, which enables the animal to pick up even very small objects from the ground. The trunk serves to grasp food and to touch and hold objects. Water is sucked up into the trunk and then discharged into the mouth.

In certain invertebrates the modified, usually retractile, anterior part of the body or an outgrowth of it is also called a proboscis.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(invertebrate zoology)
A tubular organ of varying form and function on a large number of invertebrates, such as insects, annelids, and tapeworms.
(vertebrate zoology)
The flexible, elongated snout of certain mammals.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Los esfingidos se mantuvieron en sobres entomologicos individuales y luego se inspeccionaron bajo una lupa binocular para constatar si transportaban polen en diferentes partes del cuerpo (proboscide, alas, torax, abdomen y patas).
Longitud operativa de las flores y de la proboscide de los polinizadores.
Se realizo una correlacion de Spearman (Zar, 2010) entre la longitud operativa media de las flores de cada especie y la longitud media de la proboscide de todos los individuos de las especies de polinizadores que transportaban polen de la respectiva especie de planta en la proboscide con el fin de determinar si estas variables se encuentran asociadas.
El genero Mediorhynchus Van Cleave, 1916 (Gigantorhynchidae) agrupa a especies que son parasitas de aves de diferentes regiones del mundo; segun Schmidt & Kuntz (1977) y Petrotchenko (1958) se caracteriza por tener la proboscide truncada, armada de ganchos y espinas, lemniscos largos y delgados, testiculos en la mitad posterior del cuerpo, ocho glandulas de cemento y huevos ovalados.
emberizae oswaldocruzi oswaldocruzi Hospedero Icteridae Turdidae Estructuras (mm) Cuerpo largo 20 - 55 35 35 ancho 1 - 1,5 0,87 0,77 Lemnisco 5-Apr 6,5 6,5 Proboscide largo 0,43 0,43 total ancho* 0,26 0,26 Receptaculo Proboscide 0,4 Huevo mayor 0,06 - 0,068 0,048 (diametro) menor 0, 04 - 0,05 0,021 Numero de ganchos 132 120 120 Numeros de espinas Tamano de los 53 78 37 ganchos ([micron]m) Brasil Peru M.
Karling (1961) noted that in karkinorhynchs, the hook apparatus closing mechanism is uncertain because their proboscides lack adductor muscles.
Karling (1961) described the closing mechanism in karkinorhynch proboscides as being puzzling because of their lack of adductor muscles.
Karling (1961) noted that unarmed schizorhynch proboscides, from which armed karkinorhynch proboscides may have evolved, are used to wrap and adhere to prey items.
draconis attached to their proboscides [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 2 OMITTED].
While the tabanid flies we captured at one site in the northern mountains clearly act as pollinators, they do not have sufficiently long proboscides to account for the evolution of spurs up to 72 mm in length in some populations in this region.
4b Sedas en las patas ausentes ademas de las preapicales y apicales, si estan presentes, entonces palpos biarticulados; proboscide corta o alargada; antenas juntas o separadas en la base....
6 b) (Heterotropus: proboscide se proyecta mas alla del margen subcraneal; [M.sub.1] y [M.sub.2] surgen separadas del apice de la celda dm)