(Of a fish’s tail) approximately symmetrical and with the vertebral column continuing to the tip, as in lampreys. Contrasted with heterocercal, homocercal.
- The symmetrical, diphycercal tail, not perfected by gnathostomes until the Cretaceous, was standard equipment on heterostracans in the Silurian.
- In Strepsodus the tail was diamond shaped and diphycercal; in Gooloogongia loomesi it was nearly so.
- Sharks, and similar chondrichthyes, have heterocercal tails; the diphycercal tails are found in lungfish and their relatives; and the homocercal tail is characteristic of bony fish.
Mid 19th century: from Greek diphu- 'of double form' + kerkos 'tail' + -al.
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