<zoology> A peculiar larval stage of certain decapod Crustacea, especially of crabs and certain Anomura.

Alternative forms: zoaea.

In this stage the anterior part of the body is relatively large, and usually bears three or four long spines. The years are conspicuous, and the antennae and jaws are long, fringed organs used in swimming. The thoracic legs are undeveloped or rudimentary, the abdomen long, slender, and often without appendages. The zoea, after casting its shell, changes to a megalops.

Origin: NL, fr. Gr. Life.

(01 Mar 1998)

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