Meaning of fossorial in English:


Pronunciation /fɒˈsɔːrɪəl/


  • 1Zoology
    (of an animal) burrowing.

    ‘The only Australian fossorial mammal is the marsupial mole, Notoryctes typhlops (order Notoryctimorphia, family Notoryctidae).’
    • ‘The means of intraspecific communication in the insectivorous fossorial mammals clearly needs to be examined in more detail and is not addressed further here.’
    • ‘Most mammals employing this behavior are subterranean, rather than simply fossorial; most fossorial mammals are limited to scratch digging.’
    • ‘For instance, because rodents drum with feet that are also used for digging, footdrumming may have originated as a ritualized form of digging behavior, especially in fossorial mammals.’
    • ‘There is considerable behavioral evidence to suggest that certain fossorial mammals do use the seismic channel to glean information about their surroundings.’
    1. 1.1(of limbs) adapted for use in burrowing.
      • ‘In insects with fossorial legs the fore legs and tibiae are specialized for digging.’


Mid 19th century from medieval Latin fossorius (from Latin fossor ‘digger’, from fodere ‘to dig’) + -al.