Each of a number of body segments containing the same internal structures, clearly visible in invertebrates such as earthworms but also present in the embryonic stages of vertebrates. Also called metamere.
- This takes the vertebrate embryo up to the stage at which it has become recognizably vertebrate, with somites, notochord, and neural tube.
- If male abdomina are preserved, the fusion of the somites is also diagnostic; pseudoziids exhibit no fusion of somites while carpiliids have somites 3-5 fused.
- The basis for the confusion arises from the visible suture between somites 4 and 5, which suggests that the fusion is not complete.
Mid 19th century: from Greek sōma 'body' + -ite1.
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