AskDefine | Define fossorial

Dictionary Definition

fossorial adj : (of limbs and feet) adapted for digging [ant: cursorial]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Of, pertaining to, or adapted for digging or burrowing.
    The mole is a fossorial mammal.

Extensive Definition

A fossorial is an organism adapted to digging and life underground such as the badger, the naked mole rat, and the mole salamanders Ambystomatidae. It is most commonly used as an adjective to describe the habit of living underground, even if the physical adaptations are minimal - thus, most bees and many wasps are called "fossorial Hymenoptera", and a great many rodents are considered fossorial. Some organisms are fossorial to aid in temperature regulation, others utilize the new habit for food.

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