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hectocotylus Line breaks: hecto|coty¦lus
Pronunciation: /ˌhɛktə(ʊ)ˈkɒtɪləs/

Definition of hectocotylus in English:

noun (plural hectocotyli ˌhɛktə(ʊ)ˈkɒtɪlʌɪˌhɛktə(ʊ)ˈkɒtɪliː)

A modified arm used by male octopuses and some other cephalopods to transfer sperm to the female.
Example sentences
  • In some species, the specialized arm tip may be pinched off and left in the female's mantle cavity: this is known as the hectocotylus arm.
  • The hectocotylus is used to deliver the spermatophores (sperm-filled sacs) to the female during mating.
  • In some cephalopods, the end of the hectocotylus snaps off and remains imbedded in the female.


Mid 19th century: modern Latin, from hecto- 'hundred' + Greek kotulē 'hollow thing', a name given by Cuvier to what he mistakenly took to be a genus of parasitic worms.

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