Noun, pl. carapaces
1. A dorsal (upper) section of the exoskeleton or shell in a number of animal groups, including arthropods such as crustaceans and arachnids, as well as vertebrates such as turtles and tortoises. (wikipedia.org)
2. Hard outer covering or case of certain organisms such as arthropods and turtles. (biology-online.org)
3. A hard protective covering of bone or chitin, especially one which covers the dorsal portion of an animal. (wiktionary.org)
Word origin: From French carapace (“tortoise shell”), from Portuguese carapaça (“carapace, shell”), of uncertain origin.