Definition of cercus in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsərkəs/

noun (plural cerci /ˈsərˌsī/ /-ˌkī/)

A small appendage at the end of the abdomen of some insects and other arthropods, occurring in pairs.
Example sentences
  • They have no eyes, antennae, or caudal cerci but have a telson tail, which is common in crustaceans but absent in other hexapods.
  • By analogy with modern arthropods this zone was inferred to lie at the anterior of a terminal ventral body segment-the telosoma and the antenniform cerci of Olenoides serratus might be interpreted as belonging to that segment.
  • These species are notable for the plesiomorphic retention of venation (albeit already quite reduced) in their tegmina, segmented cerci, and pentamerous tarsi.


Early 19th century: from modern Latin, from Greek kerkos 'tail'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cer·cus

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