Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Zoology Adapted for or used in burrowing or digging: the fossorial forefeet of a mole.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of, pertaining to, or adapted for digging or burrowing.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Fitted for digging, adapted for burrowing or digging

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Digging, burrowing, or excavating, especially in the ground; fodient: as, a fossorial animal.
  • Fit or used for digging or burrowing: as, a fossorial limb.
  • Able to dig or burrow; being a burrower; specifically, of or pertaining to the Fossores, Fossoria, or Fodientia: as, fossorial nature or habits; a fossorial insect or quadruped.
  • n. An animal which digs into the earth for a retreat or residence, and whose feet are adapted for that purpose; a burrowing animal.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. (of limbs and feet) adapted for digging

Etymologies

From Late Latin fossōrius, from Latin fossus, past participle of fodere, to dig.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin fossōrius ("adapted for digging or delving"), from fodiō ("dig"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Four of the endemics are representatives of the three endemic genera in the hotspot: a rodent (Microakodontomys transitorius), known only from a single specimen collected in 1986 in the Brasília National Park; the Candango mouse (Juscelinomys candango), a semi-fossorial rodent first discovered in 1960 on the site of the capital, Brasília, then under construction, and which has never again been collected; and the cerrado mouse (Thalpomys cerradensis) and hairy-eared cerrado mouse (T. lasiotis).

    Biological diversity in the Cerrado

  • These include colonial fossorial rodents (marmots, ground squirrels) large birds of prey, and phytophagous insects (grasshoppers).

    Kazakh steppe

  • -- Pearsonomys annectans Patterson, 1992, a semi-fossorial Chilean murid.

    Archive 2006-03-01

  • Of special interest to me right now are the dinosaurs of the British Wealden (of course), the intriguing tie-ins between Wealden fossil collectors, Conan Doyle's Lost World and the Piltdown fiasco, convergence between different fossorial tetrapods, manatee evolution, and British big cats (yes, really).

    Archive 2006-01-01

  • Slow-worms are nocturnal and semi-fossorial and mostly occur in well-vegetated places with thick ground cover and loose soils.

    Archive 2006-05-01

  • And those big hands that moles have testify to their underground lifestyle, fancy word -- fossorial.

    Urban Wildlife Watch: Moles and Shrews

  • The aquatic origin seems very illogical since no aquatic lineage of lizard has ever lost its limbs but fossorial lizards have undergone limb reduction or loss on multiple occasions.

    In the, "it's so sad, it's funny" category today... - The Panda's Thumb

  • Burrow structure and fossorial ecology of the springhare Pedetes capensis in Botswana.

    Chapter 11

  • In seeking food and avoiding enemies in different habitats the limbs and feet radiate in four diverse directions; they either become _fossorial_ or adapted to digging habits,

    Form and Function A Contribution to the History of Animal Morphology

  • Malaxation: a kneading or softening; applied to the chewing and squeezing by fossorial wasps of insects captured as food for their larva.

    Explanation of Terms Used in Entomology

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Comments

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  • fossorial a word I dig, and its not a fossil, though I may have dug it up

    January 16, 2007