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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
tu•a•ta•ra(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.
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|Noun||1.||tuatara - only extant member of the order Rhynchocephalia of large spiny lizard-like diapsid reptiles of coastal islands off New Zealand|
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