[rahy-zoh-sef-uh-luh s]
adjective Zoology.
  1. belonging to the Rhizocephala, a group of degenerate hermaphrodite crustaceans that are parasitic chiefly on crabs.

Origin of rhizocephalous

First recorded in 1890–95; rhizo- + -cephalous
Related formsrhi·zo·ceph·a·lan, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for rhizocephalan


  1. any parasitic crustacean of the order Rhizocephala, esp Sacculina carcini, which has a saclike body and sends out absorptive processes into the body of its host, the crab: subclass Cirripedia (barnacles)
adjective Also: rhizocephalous
  1. of, relating to, or belonging to the order Rhizocephala

Word Origin for rhizocephalan

C19: from New Latin Rhizocephala (literally: root-headed), from rhizo- + -cephala from Greek kephalē head
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012