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illustration Proboscis



Part of speech: noun

Origin: Greek, early 17th century


The nose of a mammal, especially when it is long and mobile such as the trunk of an elephant or the snout of a tapir.


(In many insects) An elongated sucking mouthpart that is typically tubular and flexible.

Examples of Proboscis in a sentence

"At the zoo, I watched an anteater use its proboscis to stir up the dirt and eat insects."

"The botanical garden is planted with flowers known to have pollen to attract bees and other insects with a proboscis."

About Proboscis

You'll recognize the long snout called a proboscis on animals such as the elephant, tapir, and anteater, but it also exists in the insect world. On a lepidoptera, or butterfly, the proboscis is also called a haustellum, and it's used to reach down deep into flowers for pollen and nectar.

Did you Know?

Many mammals have a nose or snout that could be called a proboscis, but one species of monkey earned a special designation. The proboscis monkey is endemic to Borneo, and is one of the largest species of Asian monkeys. Females and babies have smaller, pointier proboscises, while the males have a more pronounced and bulbous feature.

illustration Proboscis

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