<zoology> A class of Molluscoidea, including minute animals which by budding form compound colonies.

Synonyms: Polyzoa.

They are often coralike in form and appearance, each small cell containing an individual zooid. Other species grow in delicate, flexible, branched forms, resembling moss, whence the name. Some are found in fresh water, but most are marine. The three principal divisions are Ectoprocta, Entoprocta, and Pterobranchia. See Cyclostoma, Chilostoma, and Phylactolema.

Origin: NL, fr. Gr. Moss + animal.

(01 Mar 1998)

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