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n. pl. tuatara or tu·a·ta·ras
Either of two lizardlike reptiles (Sphenodon punctatus or S. guntheri) that inhabit several small New Zealand islands and are the only extant members of the group Rhynchocephalia or Sphenodontia, which flourished during the Mesozoic Era. Also called sphenodon.

[Maori tuatara : tua, back + tara, spine.]
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.


(Animals) a greenish-grey lizard-like rhynchocephalian reptile, Sphenodon punctatus, occurring only on certain small islands near New Zealand: it is the sole surviving member of a group common in Mesozoic times. Also called: hatteria
[C19: from Māori, from tua back + tara spine]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˌtu əˈtɑr ə)

also tu•a•te•ra

(-ˈtɛər ə)

n., pl. -ras.
a large lizardlike reptile, Sphenodon punctatus, of New Zealand: the only surviving rhynchocephalian.
[1810–20;< Maori, =tua dorsal + tara spine]
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.tuatara - only extant member of the order Rhynchocephalia of large spiny lizard-like diapsid reptiles of coastal islands off New Zealandtuatara - only extant member of the order Rhynchocephalia of large spiny lizard-like diapsid reptiles of coastal islands off New Zealand
diapsid, diapsid reptile - reptile having a pair of openings in the skull behind each eye
genus Sphenodon, Sphenodon - coextensive with the order Rhynchocephalia: tuataras
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Thermoregulation in reptiles with special reference to the Tuatara and its ecophysiology.
Another car looking to join the 300-mph club is the striking Tuatara from SSC North America, the company formerly known as Shelby SuperCars (no relation to the late Carroll Shelby).
The tympanic membrane in many fossorial (burrowing) and semi-fossorial Lizards, such as the legless Anniella, as well as in other Reptiles, such as the Tuatara, Amphisbaenians, and, of course, Snakes are absent (Tumarkin, 1968; Kaplan, 2014).
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Omantel on Tuesday announced the launch of the sultanate's first highly capable IBM-powered Big Data analytics platform 'TASIL', in collaboration with Poland-based technology firm TUATARA.
In the Late Triassic period, the hills of south Wales and the south west of England formed an archipelago that was inhabited with small dinosaurs and relatives of the Tuatara, a reptilian fossil from New Zealand.
The detection and identification of tuatara and gecko scents by dogs.--J.
I found myself prepared to dislike it, but there's a fugitive billionaire to be found with a hefty reward at stake, a tuatara (look that up), Star Wars fanfic, and lifelong friendship and though Aza is only 16, her friend Daisy is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery to claim the reward, so off they went searching for a missing billionaire, traversing a path toward his son David with whom Aza has a relationship.