A varix (Pl. varices) is an anatomical feature of the shell of certain sea snails, marine gastropod molluscs. Gastropods whose shells have varices are primarily families and species within the taxonomic groups Littorinimorpha and Neogastropoda.
The varix is a thickened axial ridge, a subcylindrical protrusion, in the shell which exists in some families of marine gastropods. It is an important shell character in generic classification. A varix is located at intervals around the whorl, and is formed by considerable thickening of the outer lip during a resting stage in the growth of the shell. In other words, in gastropods whose shells have varices, the shells are characterised by episodic growth - the shell grows in spurts, and during the resting phase the varix forms.
In many gastropod whose shells have varices, for example the Cassinae, the varix is essentially merely a thickening and swelling of the shell at that point. But in some genera within the family Muricidae, such as Chicoreus, Hexaplex, Pteropurpura and Pterynotus, and also within the genus Biplex, of the family Ranellidae, the varices are characterised by elaborate ruffles, frills or lamellae. Some other genera, for example Murex, are armed with protective spines which may be straight or curved, and which are formed by the varices closing or curling around their axis.
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Varix \Va"rix\, n.; pl. Varices. [L.]
(Med.) A uneven, permanent dilatation of a vein.
Note: Varices are owing to local retardation of the venous circulation, and in some cases to relaxation of the parietes of the veins. They are very common in the superficial veins of the lower limbs.
(Zo["o]l.) One of the prominent ridges or ribs extending across each of the whorls of certain univalve shells.
Note: The varices usually indicate stages of growth, each one showing a former position of the outer lip of the aperture.
n. abnormally enlarged or twisted blood vessel or lymphatic vessel
[also: varices (pl)]
n. (context medicine English) a varicose, i.e. swollen and knotted, vein
Usage examples of "varix".
But for the local aneurysmal thrill at the point of the scar the condition would have been diagnosed as angioma, but as a bruit could be heard over the entire mass it was called an aneurysmal varix, because it was believed there was a connection between a rather large artery and a vein close to the mass.