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n. pl. lep·to·ceph·a·li (-lī′)
The small, laterally compressed, transparent larva of an eel or of any of certain related fishes, such as a tarpon.

[New Latin : lepto- + cephalus, head (from Greek -kephalos, -headed); see -cephalous.]
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 -li (-ˌlaɪ)
(Animals) the slender transparent oceanic larva of eels of the genus Anguilla that migrates from its hatching ground in the Caribbean to European freshwater habitats
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˌlɛp təˈsɛf ə ləs)

n., pl. -li (-ˌlaɪ)
a ribbony, transparent fish larva of warm seas, esp. that of eels.
[1760–70; < New Latin; see lepto-, -cephalous]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.leptocephalus - slender transparent larva of eels and certain fishesleptocephalus - slender transparent larva of eels and certain fishes
larva - the immature free-living form of most invertebrates and amphibians and fish which at hatching from the egg is fundamentally unlike its parent and must metamorphose
subclass Teleostei, Teleostei - large diverse group of bony fishes; includes most living species
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
After hatching from an egg, ladyfish develop into what's known as a leptocephali ("slim head") larvae, which is uncommon given that most fish advance from egg to adult without going through any type of metamorphosis; tarpon (Megalops atlanticus), bonefish, and eels undergo a similar transformation.
Differential timing of gene expression regulation between leptocephali of the two Anguilla eel species in the Sargasso Sea.
In Tampa Bay and the Indian River Lagoon some recruitment occurred during the fall for a couple of years, which might have been associated with an influx or pulse of ladyfish leptocephali recruitment occurring earlier in some years than others, which could have been related to water temperature.
For example, these include notes on oophagy by eels, consumption of eel leptocephali by bluefish, and taxonomy of Cyprinodon.
Aoyama, J, N Mochioka, T Otake, S Ishikawa, Y Kawakami, P Castle, M Nishida and K Tsukamoto 1999 'Distribution and dispersal of Anguillid Leptocephali in the western Pacific Ocean revealed by molecular analysis', Marine Ecology Progress Series 188:193-200.
Marine debris drifting in rarely drifts out, creating a sort of maritime black hole.) The eel larvae (called leptocephali) do manage to leave and themselves drift for up to three years before reaching Europe.
Diet of anguilloid larvae: leptocephali feed selectively on larvacean houses and fecal pellets.
Changes in otoliths strontium:calcium ratios in metamorphosing Conger myrisaster leptocephali. Mar.
These leptocephali metamorphosed into juveniles which were abundant in July and October of the same year.