AskDefine | Define prosoma

User Contributed Dictionary



From pro- + ‘body’.


  • (UK) /pɹəʊˈsəʊmə/


  1. The front segment of a body which is divided into two or more segments, especially the cephalothorax of an arachnid.
    • 1996: The front part, called the cephalothorax (or prosoma), is enclosed within a relatively hard and unyielding chitinous shell. — Michael J. Roberts, Spiders of Britain and Northern Europe (Collins 1996, p. 12)

Extensive Definition

The cephalothorax (called prosoma in some groups) is an anatomical term used in arachnids and malacostracan crustaceans for the first (anterior) major body section. The remainder of the body is the abdomen (opisthosoma), which may also bear lateral appendages as well as the tail, if present. The term "prosoma" can also be applied to the head of insects, but as the two are always exactly synonymous in insects (not true for mesosoma vs. thorax or metasoma vs. abdomen), the simpler term - "head" - is used instead.

Chelicerate cephalothorax

In the chelicerates, the cephalothorax does not originate from any fusion of head + thorax, because there is no post-cephalic tagmosis (no thorax) in their immediate ancestors. A more correct usage is to say that the cephalothorax (prosoma) in the Chelicerata is formed by the fusion of the head segments + some anteriormost trunk segments. Abdomen is too much a general term, indicated unrelated structures in a number of taxa. Recommended usage is prosoma versus opisthosoma. The dorsal sclerites of the cephalothorax are typically fused into a shield called carapace, while the ventral ones are much reduced and usually covered by the coxae of pedipalps and legs I-IV.

Crustacean cephalothorax

It is derived from the fusion of the head (from Greek cephale) and the trunk (from Greek thorax), and therefore includes all the mouthparts, antennae, and the thoracic appendages, such as the legs of a lobster. In the Malacostraca, the cephalothorax is typically covered by a protective carapace.
prosoma in German: Prosoma
prosoma in Spanish: Cefalotórax
prosoma in French: Céphalothorax
prosoma in Icelandic: Höfuðbolur
prosoma in Italian: Cefalotorace
prosoma in Japanese: 頭胸部
prosoma in Lithuanian: Galvakrūtinė
prosoma in Polish: Głowotułów
prosoma in Portuguese: Cefalotórax
prosoma in Russian: Головогрудь
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