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A zooid or zoöid // is a single animal that is part of a colonial animal. Zooids are multicellular; their structure is similar to that of other solitary animals. The zooids can either be directly connected by tissue (e.g. corals, Catenulida, Siphonophorae, Pyrosome or Ectoprocta) or share a common exoskeleton (e.g. Bryozoa or Pterobranchia). The colonial organism as a whole is called a zoon //, plural zoa (from Greek zòon ζώον meaning animal; plural zòa, ζώα).
The term zooid has historically also been used for an organic cell or organized body that has independent movement within a living organism, especially a motile gamete such as a spermatozoon (in the case of algae now zoid), or an independent animal-like organism produced asexually, as by budding or fission.
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