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Odontodes, or dermal teeth, are hard structures found on the external surfaces of animals or near internal openings. They consist of a soft pulp surrounded by dentine and covered by a mineralized substance such as enamel, a structure similar to that of teeth.[1] They generally do not have the same function as teeth, and are not replaced the same way teeth are in most fish.[2] In some animals (notably catfish), the presence or size of odontodes can be used in determining the sex.[3]

The name comes from the Greek "odon" meaning tooth.


A New Species of Hisonotus (Siluriformes, Loricariidae) of the Upper Rı´o Uruguay Basin (see page 7) An article showing scanning electron microscope images of odontodes on a catfish. Author:Adriana E. Aquino, Scott A. Schaefer, Amalia M. Miquelarena. Publisher: The American Museum of Natural History.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Paleos Vertebrates: Glossary". 
  2. ^ "Evolution of development of the vertebrate dermal and oral skeletons: Unraveling concepts, regulatory theories, and homologies". Paleobiology. 2002. 
  3. ^ "Sexual Dimorphism of the “Zebra Pleco” Hypancistrus zebra".