Dorsum (biology)

Dorsal view of a rove beetle

In anatomy, the dorsum is the upper side of animals that typically run, fly, swim or crawl in a horizontal position, and the back side of animals (like humans) that walk upright. In vertebrates the dorsum contains the backbone. The term dorsal refers to anatomical structures that are either situated toward or grow off that side of an animal. The opposite side of the animal is described with the terms ventrum and ventral.

In lepidoptera (moths and butterflies), the dorsum also refers to the trailing edge of the wing (the leading edge is called the costa).

The term "dorsum" is used for the upper surface of the body of nudibranch sea slugs.

Human anatomy

Dorsal (posterior) means the back or toward the back of the body; behind. For example, the heart is posterior to the breastbone. [1] Due to its embryological orientation on the posterior during development, the top-side of the foot is referred to as the "Dorsum of the foot".

In neurobiology, nerve rootlets stemming from the spinal cord form dorsal (sensory) and ventral (motor) roots before these unite to form the spinal nerve.

See also


  1. ^ "Essentials of Human Anatomy and Physiology", Elaine N. Marieb, Tenth Edition