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

  • n. Botany A nutritive tissue within the sporangium, particularly within an anther.
  • n. Anatomy A membranous layer or region, especially the iridescent membrane of the choroid of certain mammals.
  • n. Anatomy A layer of fibers of the corpus callosum forming the roof of part of the lateral ventricle of the brain.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A membranous layer of tissue

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An area in the pigmented layer of the choroid coat of the eye in many animals, which has an iridescent or metallic luster and helps to make the eye visible in the dark. Sometimes applied to the whole layer of pigmented epithelium of the choroid.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In botany, the cell or layer of cells which is immediately outside an archesporium. It is disorganized and absorbed as the spores develop and mature. Also tapete.
  • n. The pigmentary layer of the retina; the tapetum nigrum.
  • n. The fibers from the corpus callosum forming a layer lining the roof of the middle and posterior cornua of the lateral ventricles.


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

Medieval Latin tapētum, coverlet, from Latin tapēte, *tapētum, from Greek tapēs, tapēt-; see tapestry.


  • All night-prowling animals have widely dilatable pupils, and in addition to this they have in the retina a special organ called the tapetum lucidum, the function of which is to reflect to a focus in front of them the relatively few rays of light that enter the widely-dilated pupil and thus enable them the better to see their way.

    Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine

  • It's the crystals inside their retina, inside a layer called tapetum.


  • The tapetum is a thick reflective membrane, 15 cells wide, directly beneath the retina.

    Yahoo! Answers: Latest Questions

  • The green glow of the ratfish eye is due to a lowlight adaptation called a tapetum lucidum, News of the Underwater World

  • no tapetum: The tapetum is a layer of the eye that reflects light.

    Archive 2008-12-01

  • The effect you are referring to is called eyeshine yet the phenomenon behind it is caused by light amplification within the eye of an organism with a tapetum lucidium layer.

    Fire from the Eyes

  • » A cat sees about six times better than a human at night because of the tapetum lucidum, a layer of extra reflecting cells which absorb light.

    Pet Cat Trivia

  • This tapetum lucidum, in Latin “carpet of light,” accounts for all the photographs you have of your dog with brilliant light shining out where their eyes should be.


  • When animal eyes glow at night when light hits them, it is the tapetum you're seeing.

    Pygmy tarsier, a monkey that defies categorization, not extinct afterall!

  • Tarsiers lack a tapetum even though they are nocturnal which suggests that tarsiers may have once been diurnal and became nocturnal in response to some change in their ecology, for example, the addition of new predators or competitors.

    Archive 2008-12-01


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  • eye-tapestry.. funny

    August 24, 2008

  • The tapetum lucidum (Latin: "bright tapestry", plural tapeta lucida)1 is a layer of tissue in the eye

    August 24, 2008

  • Also "tapetum lucidum", a layer in the eye of many vertebrates that reflects light that has passed through the retina back into the retina, increasing the amount of light it catches. Some of this reflected light goes back out of the eye, resulting in eyeshine or tapetolucence.

    February 18, 2008