(redirected from Byssus thread)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.


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 ?
As we examined a clump of blue mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis planulatus stranded at the high tide mark by recent heavy seas, I observed the rear end and leg of a crustacean in the dark murky recess of a dead bivalve, Barbatia pistachio, attached to the mussels by a byssus thread. I dislodged a large amphipod from the bivalve using a soft brush and placed it into a glass look box.
Rajitha Senaratne: Now we are starting a project - hatcheries in the lagoons to propagate 'sea baas' - (a name for many fish species of various families, including a name for Lates calcarifer) , Sea Cucumber, Mussel culture (Mussels are bivalve mollusks and are found attached to rocks or any other hard substratum by means of byssus thread secreted by the body.
Byssus thread strength in the mussel, Mytilus edulis L.
In mussels, for example, it has been demonstrated that subcritical loadings altered the mechanical properties of the byssus thread in a manner that is dependent on the extension applied and that thread stiffness and damping increased with increasing tension rate (Carrington & Gosline 2004).
Relationships between attached number of byssus thread, frequency of shed byssus, and time were tested using logarithmic regressions.