Amphioxidae – Definition & Meaning

Amphioxidae is a scientific term that refers to a family of primitive, jawless fish commonly known as lancelets or amphioxus. These fish are small, elongated creatures that live in shallow marine waters around the world. Amphioxidae is an important group of animals in evolutionary biology, as they are believed to be one of the earliest branches of the vertebrate family tree.


Amphioxidae is a family of animals that includes the lancelets or amphioxus. They are small, eel-like creatures that have a notochord, a dorsal nerve cord, and pharyngeal gill slits. They are also known as cephalochordates, as they have a head region that is distinct from the rest of their body.


The origin of Amphioxidae can be traced back to the Cambrian period, around 525 million years ago. They are believed to be one of the earliest branches of the vertebrate family tree, and their simple body plan has remained relatively unchanged over millions of years.

Meaning in different dictionaries

The term Amphioxidae is not commonly used outside of scientific circles, and is therefore not included in most general-purpose dictionaries. However, it can be found in specialized dictionaries and encyclopedias that focus on biology and zoology.


Amphioxidae is associated with the study of evolutionary biology and the early development of vertebrates. They are also important in the study of developmental biology, as their relatively simple body plan makes them a useful model organism for understanding the genetic and molecular mechanisms that control development.


The scientific name for Amphioxidae is Branchiostomidae, which is sometimes used interchangeably with the term lancelets or cephalochordates.


As a scientific term, Amphioxidae does not have an antonym.

The same root words

The term Amphioxidae is derived from the Greek words “amphi” meaning “both” and “oxys” meaning “sharp”. This refers to the shape of the lancelet’s body, which is pointed at both ends.

Example Sentences

  • Amphioxidae are a family of primitive, jawless fish that live in shallow marine waters.
  • Lancelets are members of the Amphioxidae family.
  • The study of Amphioxidae is important in understanding the early evolution of vertebrates.
  • Amphioxidae have a simple body plan that makes them a useful model organism for studying developmental biology.
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