[ spur-muh-thee-kuh ]

noun,plural sper·ma·the·cae [spur-muh-thee-see]. /ˌspɜr məˈθi si/. Zoology.
  1. a small sac or cavity in female or hermaphroditic invertebrates used to store sperm for fertilizing eggs, as in the queen bee.

Origin of spermatheca

1820–30; sperma- (variant of spermato-, spermo-) + theca

Words Nearby spermatheca

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British Dictionary definitions for spermatheca


/ (ˌspɜːməˈθiːkə) /

  1. a sac or cavity within the body of many female invertebrates, esp insects, used for storing spermatozoa before fertilization takes place

Origin of spermatheca

C19: see sperm 1, theca

Derived forms of spermatheca

  • spermathecal, adjective

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

Scientific definitions for spermatheca


[ spûr′mə-thē ]

Plural spermathecae (spûr′mə-thē)
  1. A receptacle in the reproductive tracts of certain female invertebrates, especially insects, in which spermatozoa are received and stored until needed to fertilize the ova.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.