- 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.
“At the zoo I watched an anteater use its proboscis to stir up the dirt and eat insects.”
“I love watching bees collect pollen and other insects stick their long proboscises down into my flowers.”
“Many mammals have a nose or snout that could be called a proboscis, but one species received special designation as the ‘proboscis monkey.'”
Greek, early 17th century
Why this word?
You’ll recognize the proboscis on animals such as elephants, tapirs, and anteaters, but the proboscis anatomy is also present in the insect world. On a lepidoptera, or butterfly, the proboscis is also called the “haustellum,” and it’s used to reach deep into flowers for pollen and nectar.
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