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branchial clefts

 

Definition: a bilateral series of slitlike openings into the pharynx through which water is drawn by aquatic animals; in the walls of the clefts are the vascular gill filaments that take up oxygen from the water passing through the clefts; sometimes wrongly applied to the pharyngeal grooves of mammalian embryos, which are imperforate, rudimentary homologues of complete gill clefts.

Synonym(s): gill clefts

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© Copyright 2017 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.
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