AskDefine | Define stemma

Dictionary Definition



1 a tree diagram showing a reconstruction of the transmission of manuscripts of a literary work
2 the descendants of one individual; "his entire lineage has been warriors" [syn: lineage, line, line of descent, descent, bloodline, blood line, blood, pedigree, ancestry, origin, parentage, stock]
3 an eye having a single lens [syn: simple eye, ocellus] [also: stemmata (pl)]

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Extensive Definition

For information regarding Stemma in textual analysis, see Stemmatics
For "stoma" or "stomata," gas exchange pores on plant leaves, see Stoma.
A stemma (plural stemmata) is a simple eye which is capable only of detecting light. Stemmata neither focus nor allow reception of images.
Stemmata are located on the sides of the head of many insect larvae. They are also called lateral ocelli. Caterpillars have six ocelli on each side of their heads, while others such as the nicrophorine larvae have only a single ocellus on each side of their heads.
As the larva develops and matures into an adult insect, the stemmata either develop into a more complex visual organ, such as a compound eye, or they become an internal component of that organ.
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