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noun, plural: nematocytes

A specialized cell containing a nematocyst used by cnidarians to capture their prey and to defend them against predators


Nematocytes are explosive cells commonly found in the animals of the Phylum Cnidaria (e.g. jellyfish, sea anemones, corals, hydrae, etc.). Each of these cells contains a nematocyst that shoots off a thread-like (often toxic) tubule that produces a paralyzing or stinging effect to the target animal.

Word origin: Greek nēmat- (thread) + -cyte (cell)


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