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A genus of small, translucent, fishlike chordates found in warm marine waters. Members are structurally similar to vertebrates in having a notochord, gills, digestive tract, and nerve cord, but they lack paired fins, vertebrae, ribs, or a skull for example, Branchiostoma lanceolatum.
[amphi- + G. oxys, sharp]
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The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Amphioxusthe disused scientific, though better-known, name for Branchiostoma (the lancet), a PROTOCHORDATE found in many parts of the world. Its embryonic development has been extensively studied and is used in texts as an example of a link between invertebrates and vertebrates. It feeds by ciliary action, trapping food particles in mucus.
Collins Dictionary of Biology, 3rd ed. © W. G. Hale, V. A. Saunders, J. P. Margham 2005