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A chaeta or cheta (see spelling differences) is a chitinous bristle or seta found in insects, arthropods or annelid worms, although the term is also frequently used to describe similar structures in other invertebrates. The plural form is chaetae or chetae.
Polychaetes, literally meaning "many bristles" are named for their chaetae. In Polychaeta, chaetae are located on the parapodia, paired appendages on the side of the body. The chaetae are epidermal extracellular structures, and clearly visible in most polychaetes, are probably the best studied structures on those worms. A wide range of chaetal shapes and arrangements exists. Particular forms of chaetae are often species-specific, giving the features a useful taxonomic function. Types of chaetae include capillary, compound, pseudocompound, hooked, and others.
- Hausen, H. (2005). "Chaetae and chaetogenesis in polychaetes (Annelida)". Hydrobiologia. 535-536: 37–52. doi:10.1007/s10750-004-1836-8.
- Merz, R. A.; Woodin, S. A. (2006). "Polychaete chaetae: Function, fossils, and phylogeny". Integrative and Comparative Biology. 46 (4): 481–496. doi:10.1093/icb/icj057. PMID 21672760.
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