Tagma (biology)
In invertebrate
An invertebrate is an animal without a backbone. The group includes 97% of all animal species – all animals except those in the chordate subphylum Vertebrata .Invertebrates form a paraphyletic group...

Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

, a tagma (plural tagmata) is a specialized grouping of arthropod
An arthropod is an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton , a segmented body, and jointed appendages. Arthropods are members of the phylum Arthropoda , and include the insects, arachnids, crustaceans, and others...

Segmentation (biology)
Segmentation in biology refers to either a type of gastrointestinal motility or the division of some animal and plant body plans into a series of repetitive segments. This article will focus on the segmentation of animal body plans, specifically using the examples of the phyla Arthropoda,...

s, such as the head, the thorax
The thorax is a division of an animal's body that lies between the head and the abdomen.-In tetrapods:...

, and the abdomen
In vertebrates such as mammals the abdomen constitutes the part of the body between the thorax and pelvis. The region enclosed by the abdomen is termed the abdominal cavity...

 with a common function. The segments of a tagma may be either fused or moveable.


Tagma divisions vary among taxa. For example, in trilobite
Trilobites are a well-known fossil group of extinct marine arthropods that form the class Trilobita. The first appearance of trilobites in the fossil record defines the base of the Atdabanian stage of the Early Cambrian period , and they flourished throughout the lower Paleozoic era before...

s the tagmata are the cephalon (head), thorax (body), and pygidium (tail), whereas in hexapods
The subphylum Hexapoda constitutes the largest grouping of arthropods and includes the insects as well as three much smaller groups of wingless arthropods: Collembola, Protura, and Diplura . The Collembola are very abundant in terrestrial environments...

, these same divisions are called head
In anatomy, the head of an animal is the rostral part that usually comprises the brain, eyes, ears, nose and mouth . Some very simple animals may not have a head, but many bilaterally symmetric forms do....

, thorax, and abdomen. The body of spider
Spiders are air-breathing arthropods that have eight legs, and chelicerae with fangs that inject venom. They are the largest order of arachnids and rank seventh in total species diversity among all other groups of organisms...

s and some crustacean
Crustaceans form a very large group of arthropods, usually treated as a subphylum, which includes such familiar animals as crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill and barnacles. The 50,000 described species range in size from Stygotantulus stocki at , to the Japanese spider crab with a leg span...

s is divided into two tagmata: the cephalothorax
The cephalothorax is a tagma of various arthropods, comprising the head and the thorax fused together, as distinct from the abdomen behind. The word cephalothorax is derived from the Greek words for head and thorax...

 and the opisthosoma
The opisthosoma is the posterior part of the body in some arthropods, behind the prosoma . It is a distinctive feature of the subphylum Chelicerata...

 (spiders) or abdomen (crustaceans).


The evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

ary process that creates tagmata by fusing and modifying segments is called tagmosis, which is an extreme form of heteronomy, mediated by Hox genes and the other developmental genes they influence.
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