Definition of Agnatha in English:


plural noun

  • A group of primitive jawless vertebrates which includes the lampreys, hagfishes, and many fossil fishlike forms.

    Compare with cyclostome

    Superclass Agnatha: the living forms are in the classes Myxini (hagfishes) and Cephalaspidomorphi (lampreys)

    ‘Here, we use the sequences of 35 nuclear protein-encoding genes to provide definitive evidence for the monophyly of the Agnatha (jawless vertebrates, a group encompassing the hagfishes and lampreys).’
    • ‘The earliest fossil vertebrates belong to a group called the Agnatha or jawless vertebrates.’
    • ‘In modern classification schemes, living vertebrates consist of two main groups, the jawless Agnatha (represented by hagfishes and lampreys) and the jawed Gnathostomata.’
    • ‘By the mid 1970s, insulin had been isolated and sequenced from all classes of vertebrates, including Agnatha.’
    • ‘All of these jawless fish are traditionally placed in the order Agnatha, but as you can see, this group is paraphyletic, including some but not all descendants of the common ancestor.’



/ˈaɡnəTHə/ /ˈæɡnəθə/


From modern Latin Agnatha, from a-‘without’ + Greek gnathos ‘jaw’.