1. <zoology> Any edentate animal if the family Dasypidae, peculiar to America. Do called from being armed with a bony shell.

The body and head are incased in an armor composed of small bony plates. The armadillos burrow in the earth, seldom going abroad except at night. When attacked, they curl up into a ball, presenting the armor on all sides. Their flesh is good food. There are several species, one of which (the peba) is found as far north as Texas. See Peba, Poyou, Tatouay.

2. <marine biology> A genus of small isopod Crustacea that can roll themselves into a ball.

Origin: Sp. Armadillo, dim. Of armado armed, p. P. Of armar to arm.

(04 Mar 1998)

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