Definitions

spiny

echidna

[ih-kid-nuh]
or spiny anteater

Short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus).

any of three species of egg-laying mammals (monotremes) of the family Tachyglossidae. Echidnas are stocky and virtually tailless. They have strong-clawed feet and spines on the upper part of the brownish body. The snout is narrow, the mouth very small, and the tongue long and sticky for feeding on termites, ants, and other invertebrates in the soil. The short-beaked echidna common in Australia and Tasmania is 12–21 in. (30–53 cm) long. Two species of long-beaked echidna live only on the island of New Guinea. They are 18–31 in. (45–78 cm) long and have a prominent downward-pointing snout. They are valued for their meat and are declining in numbers. Echidnas exude milk from mammary openings on the skin, and the young lap it up. Seealso anteater; pangolin; hedgehog.

Learn more about echidna with a free trial on Britannica.com.

The spiny-back eel, Notacanthus sexspinis, is a deep-sea spiny eel of the genus Notacanthus, found in all the southern hemisphere oceans, in depths between 500 and 1,000 m. Their length is up to 60 cm. The spiny-back eel is a deep-bodied scaleless eel-like fish with a blunt rounded snout overhanging a small mouth. The dorsal fin has been reduced to 6 or 7 short sharp spines widely separated on the back but the anal fin is long, extending from midway along the body to the tip of the tail.

These fish are a pallid off-white colour faintly tinged with pink, and are black inside the mouth and lips.

References

  • Tony Ayling & Geoffrey Cox, Collins Guide to the Sea Fishes of New Zealand, (William Collins Publishers Ltd, Auckland, New Zealand 1982) ISBN 0-00-216987-8
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