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The term mandible may be used in several ways.

It is most often used to refer to the jaw - or the jawbone, or lower jaw in vertebrates. This jaw is hinged to the upper jaw and moves down and up and can be used for crunching or crushing food.

Mandible also refers to appendages in some arthropods (including crustaceans) and annelids. This pair of appendages is used for holding cutting and grinding food, and are located behind the antennae.

The term mandible can also be used to refer to either the upper or lower parts of the bill of a bird.


  • Martinez, A. J. 2003. Marine Life of the North Atlantic. AquaQuest Publications, Inc.: New York.
  • Meinkoth, N.A. 1981. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Seashore Creatures. Alfred A. Knopf: New York.
  • Waller, G., ed. 1996. SeaLife: A Complete Guide to the Marine Environment. Smithsonian Institution Press: Washington, D.C.


Pronunciation: man-dih-bull


  • The blue whale's mandibles are the largest bones on Earth.
  • Crustaceans have one pair of mandibles.


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