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n. pl. bys·sus·es or bys·si (bĭs′ī′)
1. Zoology A mass of strong, silky filaments by which certain bivalve mollusks, such as mussels, attach themselves to rocks and other fixed surfaces.
2. A fine-textured linen of ancient times, used by the Egyptians for wrapping mummies.

[Middle English bissus, linen cloth, from Latin, from Greek bussos, linen; akin to Sanskrit picuḥ, cotton (of Dravidian origin), or ultimately from Egyptian w'ḏ, linen.]

bys′sal (bĭs′əl) adj.


n, pl byssuses or byssi (ˈbɪsaɪ)
(Zoology) a mass of strong threads secreted by a sea mussel or similar mollusc that attaches the animal to a hard fixed surface
[C17: from Latin, from Greek bussos linen, flax, ultimately of Egyptian origin]


(ˈbɪs əs)

n., pl. bys•sus•es, bys•si (ˈbɪs aɪ)
1. a collection of silky filaments by which certain mollusks attach themselves to rocks.
2. an ancient cloth, thought to be of linen, cotton, or silk.
[1350–1400; Middle English < Latin < Greek býssos a fine cotton or linen < Semitic]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.byssus - tuft of strong filaments by which e.g. a mussel makes itself fast to a fixed surfacebyssus - tuft of strong filaments by which e.g. a mussel makes itself fast to a fixed surface
fiber, fibre - a slender and greatly elongated substance capable of being spun into yarn
References in periodicals archive ?
For large mussels, maintenance, including byssal thread production to resist dislodgement, seemed to have higher priority than shell growth and condition.
trossulus seldom grow large enough to avoid predation by sea stars (Kozloff, 1996), nor do their relatively weak byssal thread attachments (Bell and Gosline, 1997) appear to pose a significant obstacle for P.
About 80 percent of a byssal thread is made of stiff material, while the rest is made of softer stuff.
wightii and documented complete inhibition of byssal thread production and attachment of brown mussel P.
A more detailed study is required to elucidate the interaction of byssal thread location and energetics.
To test these hypotheses, we evaluated mussel bed characteristics, byssal thread production, bivalve shell morphology, and shell strength of Mytilus edulis within the Damariscotta River, a 20-km estuary along the central coast of Maine, USA.
2014) stated that the adhesion of the plaque (the attachment point to the substrate) could only occur when a water-free interface is achieved between the byssal thread and the substrate.
Both byssal thread number and byssal thread diameter contribute to attachment strength: a larger number of thicker threads hold mussels to the substratum more strongly (Bell and Gosline, 1996, 1997).
In Mytilus mussels, the proteinaceous byssal thread are used to anchor individuals to hard substrates and the observed changes in mechanical properties could reduce attachment strength.
In mussels, holding force can be increased by changing the effective size of the byssal attachment complex, involving increases in byssal thread number or thickness (Bell and Gosline, 1997).
Data for byssal thread thickness and total distance traveled was log-transformed to meet the assumption of normality, before being analyzed using a 1-way ANOVA followed by Tukey's HSD post hoc test.