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tail of a leopard shark
Triakis semifasciata


Relating to, having, or being a tail fin in which the upper lobe is larger than the lower and the vertebral column extends into the upper lobe, as in sharks.

[hetero- + Greek kerkos, tail + -al.]
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.


(Zoology) ichthyol of or possessing a tail in which the vertebral column turns upwards and extends into the upper, usually larger, lobe, as in sharks. Compare homocercal
[C19: from hetero- + Greek kerkos tail]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˌhɛt ər əˈsɜr kəl)

designating or having a tail fin in which the upper lobe is larger than the lower lobe, as in sharks.
[1830–40; hetero- + Greek kérk(os) tail + -al1]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.heterocercal - possessing a tail with the upper lobe larger than the lower and with the vertebral column prolonged into the upper lobe
ichthyology - the branch of zoology that studies fishes
homocercal - possessing a symmetrical tail that extends beyond the end of the vertebral column (as in most bony fishes)
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