Brain Meninges: Two Mothers and a Spider

Meninges are membranes that protect central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). From external to internal, the meninges are dura mater, arachnoid mater, and pia mater. In this post, I will talk about brain meninges (spinal meninges are a little different to brain meninges).


Dura Mater

Literally, dura mater means tough mother. It consists of two layers: periosteal and meningeal. The periosteal attaches to the cranium and the meningeal layer continues to caudal as spinal dura mater.

Arachnoid Mater

Arachnoid mater is separated from dura mater by subdural space. Arachnida means spider. Why is this membrane called arachnoid? Below arachnoid mater, there is subarachnoid space. There is spider web-like extension in this space for securing arachnoid mater to pia mater. 

Pia Mater

Pia mater means gentle mother. As the name implies, it’s a gentle membrane rich with tiny blood vessels that wraps the brain.


Marieb, E. and Hoehn, K. (2013). Human anatomy & physiology. Boston: Pearson.

T, V. (2013). Flashcards – Ch. 13 Meninges – Meninges (3) Dura Mater (tough mother) | StudyBlue. [online] StudyBlue. Available at: [Accessed 28 Feb. 2015].

p.s. In formal academic setting, a flashcard like in studyblue can’t be used as reference. However, since this is a blog and I only use the site as a picture source, I think it’s fine.

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