A tergum (Latin for "the back"; plural terga, associated adjective tergal) is the dorsal ('upper') portion of an arthropod segment other than the head. The anterior edge is called the base and posterior edge is called the apex or margin. A given tergum may be divided into hardened plates or sclerites commonly referred to as tergites.[1]:20 For a detailed explanation of the terminology, see [2].

In a thoracic segment, for example, the tergum may be divided into an anterior notum and a posterior scutellum. Lateral extensions of a tergite are known as paranota (Greek for "alongside the back") or carinae (Latin for "keel"), exemplified by the flat-backed millipedes of the order Polydesmida.

Kinorhynchs have tergal and sternal plates too, though seemingly not homologous with those of arthropods.[3]



  1. McCafferty (1983).
  2. Hood (1958). "THE TERMS TERGUM AND STERNUM, TERGITE AND STERNITE". doi:10.2307/2411977/2/7-3-131 (inactive 2019-08-20). Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. Sørensen, M. V. et al. Phylogeny of Kinorhyncha based on morphology and two molecular loci. PLoS One 10, 1–33 (2015).


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