The term operculum comes from the Latin word opercŭlum, which translates as “front”. The concept refers to an element that allows the blocking certain openings or holes.
A part of the animal body
In the case of osteíctios, which are also known as bony fish, the operculum is a fin that provides protection and covers the gills. Usually the rear sector of the operculum establishes the boundary between the trunk and the head of the animal.
Although the characteristics of the operculum vary according to the species, this piece consists of four bones. Many times the operculum plays a key role for the fish to get oxygen because, when the mouth is opened, this lid closes and generates a negative pressure in the outer area of the gills to make the water flow.
In the mollusks who are part of the group of gastropods, the operculum is a calcified or horny disc that allows the closure of the shell. When the animal is hidden, such closure takes place.
In the field of botany, on the other hand, the operculum is a structure that functions as a top. This mechanism is present in some types of fungi, mosses and vascular plants. In the case of the latter, another name by which this concept is known is Coping.
Let’s see below a brief definition of each of these three concepts:
* vascular plants: they are also known by the name of cormophytic plants and they are those that have root, stem and leaves. The former not only provides sustenance but also gets nutrients from the soil or can store food. The stem serves so that the leaves, fruits and flowers are not in direct contact with the ground, a characteristic that allows these plants to grow larger than the so-called bryophytes;
* mosses: belong to the non vascular, more specifically to bryophytes, along with the liverworts. Its habitat must be humid, like the rain forest. They are recognized for forming a kind of thick carpet on the ground, although they can also develop on stones and logs where there is abundant moisture. Its horizontal expansion is considerable, with surfaces that are counted in kilometers, but its height does not usually exceed 3 centimeters;
* mushrooms: This term can refer to a group of eukaryotes which includes those that produce mushrooms, yeasts and molds. A peculiarity is that they are classified in a kingdom independent from that of animals, protists and plants. Are considered heterotrophs, because they obtain energy and nutrients from organic matter, something that differentiates them from plants.
Operculums on plants
The eucalyptusTo mention one case, they have an operculum. In these plants, the operculum covers the flowers and falls off when they open. In certain species carnivorousMeanwhile, the operculum or leaflet is a device that prevents the accumulation of water from rainfall in the plant.
Other cases of structures Known that have operculums are:
* the fin that, in the case of mosses, covers the appendages that are found around the mouth of one of its capsules;
* the cap that we can find in the sex cell of some fungi ascomycetes;
* in pollen, a cap that is over the opening of its grains;
* the cap of a capsule known as pyxidium, which acts as a container for the seeds. The upper part of the pyxidium falls off when these are released. We can see this in the plantains, a genus of flowering plants with about two hundred species.