Appendage

In invertebrate biology, an appendage is an external body part, or natural prolongation, that protrudes from an organism's body (in verterbrate biology, an example would be a vertebrate's limbs). It is a general term that covers any of the homologous body parts that may extend from a body segment. These include antennae, mouthparts (including mandibles, maxillae and maxillipeds), wings, elytra, gills, walking legs (pereiopods), swimming legs (pleopods), sexual organs (gonopods), and parts of the tail (uropods). Typically, each body segment carries one pair of appendages.

An appendage which is modified to assist in feeding is known as a maxilliped or gnathopod.

Appendages may be uniramous, as in insects and centipedes, where each appendage comprises a single series of segments, or it may be biramous, as in many crustaceans, where each appendage branches into two sections. Triramous (branching into three) appendages are also possible.

All arthropod appendages are variations of the same basic structure (homologous), and which structure is produced is controlled by "homeobox" genes. Changes to these genes have allowed scientists to produce animals (chiefly Drosophila melanogaster) with modified appendages, such as legs instead of antennae.


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  • appendage — appendage, appurtenance, accessory, adjunct designate something regarded as additional and at the same time as subsidiary to another object. Appendage implies a certain closeness of attachment or connection yet often stresses the idea of… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Appendage — Ap*pend age, n. 1. Something appended to, or accompanying, a principal or greater thing, though not necessary to it, as a portico to a house. [1913 Webster] Modesty is the appendage of sobriety. Jer. Taylor. [1913 Webster] 2. (Biol.) A… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Appendage — (frz. –angdasch), Appendance (frz. –angs), Appendicula, Anhängsel, Zugehör …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • appendage — index accession (annexation), addendum, adjoiner, adjunct, allonge, appendix (accession), appendix …   Law dictionary

  • appendage — (n.) 1640s, from APPEND (Cf. append) + AGE (Cf. age) …   Etymology dictionary

  • appendage — [n] limb; accessory addendum, addition, adjunct, ancillary, annex, appendix, appurtenance, attachment, auxiliary, extremity, member, projection, protuberance, supplement; concept 835 Ant. body, trunk …   New thesaurus

  • appendage — ► NOUN ▪ a thing attached to or projecting from something larger or more important …   English terms dictionary

  • appendage — [ə pen′dij] n. 1. anything appended; adjunct 2. any subordinate or external organ or part of a plant or animal, as a branch, tail, or limb …   English World dictionary

  • appendage — [[t]əpe̱ndɪʤ[/t]] appendages N COUNT: oft N of/to n An appendage is something that is joined to or connected with something larger or more important. [FORMAL] Upon marriage she automatically lost most of her legal rights and became an appendage… …   English dictionary

  • appendage — n. an appendage to * * * [ə pendɪdʒ] an appendage to …   Combinatory dictionary


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