Share this entry
zooxanthella Syllabification: zo·o·xan·thel·la
Pronunciation: /ˌzōəzanˈTHelə/

Definition of zooxanthella in English:

noun (plural zooxanthellae-ˈTHelē)

A yellowish-brown symbiotic dinoflagellate present in large numbers in the cytoplasm of many marine invertebrates.
Example sentences
  • The plants are tiny single-celled algae, the zooxanthellae or symbiotic dinoflagellates, that live within the tissues of corals in great numbers.
  • It is not known whether rugose corals had symbiotic photosymbiotic zooxanthellae as modern corals do.
  • The zooxanthellae in these corals are dinoflagellates, and it is suspected that there may be a relationship between their diversifications.


Pronunciation: /-ˈTHelˌāt/
Example sentences
  • In any case, most if not all Triassic scleractinians, whether zooxanthellate or not, show skeletal construction different from modern (strictly post-Cretaceous) equivalents.
  • New collections from the Tamana Formation in Trinidad contain 41 species of zooxanthellate corals.
  • A total of 41 species of zooxanthellate corals were recovered from the unit, including 21 new records.


Late 19th century: modern Latin, from zoo- 'of animals' + Greek xanthos 'yellow' + the diminutive suffix -ella.

Definition of zooxanthella in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources