Also found in: Medical, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


 (sûr′kəs, kĕr′-)
n. pl. cer·ci (sûr′sī, -kī, kĕr′kē)
Either of a pair of appendages located near the tip of the abdomen in many insects and certain other arthropods, usually having a sensory function.

[New Latin, from Greek kerkos, tail.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


n, pl -ci (-siː)
(Zoology) one of a pair of sensory appendages at the tip of the abdomen of some insects and other arthropods
[C19: from New Latin, from Greek kerkos tail]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈsɜr kəs, ˈkɛr-)

n., pl. cer•ci (ˈsɜr saɪ, ˈkɛr ki)
one of a pair of usu. jointed feelers at the rear of the abdomen of some insects.
[1820–30; < New Latin < Greek kérkos tail]
cer′cal, adj.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Toma and Guimaraes (2000) suggested that Proparachaeta and Proparachaetopsis might be related genera based on shared similarities of the male terminalia, such as cercus beak-shaped in lateral view, aedeagus with broad acrophallus and basiphallus slightly bent upward, and hypandrial arms fused, but Proparachaeta differs from the latter by parafacials bare on basal two-thirds, postpronotal lobe with three basal postpronotal setae almost in line and one weaker anterior postpronotal seta usually in front of inner postpronotal seta, surstylus in lateral view almost straight throughout its length with margins slightly parallel-sided and apex rounded, and pregonite tapered subapically (for comparison see Toma and Guimaraes 2000: Figs.
Male terminalia: Hypoproct slightly bilobed, wider than cercus, with pair of posterior setae; aedeagus longer than hypoproct and parameres; parameres apically with 2 to 3 short setae; gonocoxite cylindrical; gonostylus attenuate, widest at base, tapering to narrow apex, setulose basally, carinate beyond; apical tooth present.
Caption: Figure 2--Male terminalia--Archytas marmoratus, (A) fifth sternite (ventral view), (B) genital complex (lateral view), (C) surstylus and cercus (posterior view); Archytas incertus, (D) fifth sternite (ventral view), (E) genital complex (lateral view), (F) surstylus and cercus (posterior view).
Valves of ovipositor long, straight, with slightly curved apices; cercus conical.
Male: sternite IV with similar width and height; sternite V "V-shaped"; cercus and surstylus with almost the same length of the aedeagus.
Setae on cercus: two sub-basal setae, longer and thinner than preapical setae; two very short postmedian setae; two long preapical setae (Figs.
Cerci setose and bilobed, outer lobe longer than the inner; hypoproct short, not deeply bilobed, with 1 strong setae at apex of each lobe, and as long as inner cercus lobe; parameres absent; aedeagus elongate, tapering gradually to the apex, and 1.5 longer than hypoproct.
The new species can be included in the genus Lopesia due to the following features: (1) R5 curved at its juncture with Rs (Gagne and Marohasy, 1993); (2) Rs situated near the midlength of Rt (Gagne and Marohasy, 1993); (3) a short postabdomen in female, and the cercus bearing many short, sensory setae (Gagne and Marohasy, 1993), and (4) larva with short and mostly corniform terminal papillae, each on a terminal projection (Gagne and Marohasy, 1993).
Male cercus thick at base, narrowing towards and gradually transforming into apical third; moderately curved with spinule at tip Fig.
occidentalis Sturtevant, 1954): epandrium and surstyli connected with internal structures of terminalia; cercus moderately well sclerotised, longer than wide, porrect posteriorly, not narrowed apically, bearing several moderately long setae, but lacking stout, tooth-like setae at apex; surstyli fused with ventral margin of epandrium, asymmetrical or symmetrical, narrow and rounded apically, bearing sparse, short setulae on apical half; a well-sclerotised process joining base of surstylus; gonite distinct and comparatively long, tapered ventrally, shorter than surstylus.