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what is a platypus

[11], Dives normally last around 30 seconds, but can last longer, although few exceed the estimated aerobic limit of 40 seconds. Females seal themselves inside one of the burrow's chambers to lay their eggs. It is one of the few species of venomous mammals, as the male platypus has a spur on the hind foot that delivers a venom capable of causing severe pain to humans. Reduction of watercourse flows and water levels through excessive droughts and extraction of water for industrial, agricultural, and domestic supplies are also considered a threat. Their fur, dark brown on top and tan on their bellies, is thick and repels water to keep them warm and dry even after hours of swimming. [114][115], In the American animated series Phineas and Ferb (2007–2015), the title characters own a pet platypus named Perry who, unknown to them, is a secret agent. Bronze Flying Gemwish Badge. Starter: Fennekin. In 2020 it has been recommended to be listed as a vulnerable species in Victoria under the state's Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. The duck-billed platypus ( Ornithorhynchus anatinus) is a small mammal. Although they have a rep… As they swim, they try to detect food along the muddy bottom of the river, stream, pond or lake using their sensitive bills. His account includes a drawing of the animal. [117][118], Jørn H. Hurum, Zhe-Xi Luo, and Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska, [11] The scientific name Ornithorhynchus anatinus is derived from ορνιθόρυγχος (ornithorhynkhos), which literally means "bird snout" in Greek; and anatinus, which means "duck-like" in Latin.[13]. [58], The average sleep time of a platypus is said to be as long as 14 hours per day, possibly because it eats crustaceans, which provide a high level of calories. Bronze Fairy Gemwish Badge. In this posture, a platypus can remain submerged for a minute or two and employ its sensitive bill to find food. The electrosensory area of the cerebral cortex is contained within the tactile somatosensory area, and some cortical cells receive input from both electroreceptors and mechanoreceptors, suggesting a close association between the tactile and electric senses. Due to their small size, they can fit into small spaces as well. [87], Platypuses have been used several times as mascots: Syd the platypus was one of the three mascots chosen for the Sydney 2000 Olympics along with an echidna and a kookaburra,[110] Expo Oz the platypus was the mascot for World Expo 88, which was held in Brisbane in 1988,[111] and Hexley the platypus is the mascot for the Darwin operating system, the BSD-based core of macOS and other operating systems from Apple Inc.[112], Since the introduction of decimal currency to Australia in 1966, the embossed image of a platypus, designed and sculpted by Stuart Devlin, has appeared on the reverse (tails) side of the 20-cent coin. Unlike the modern platypus (and echidnas), Teinolophos lacked a beak. Its historical abundance is unknown and its current abundance difficult to gauge, but it is assumed to have declined in numbers, although as of 1998 was still being considered as common over most of its current range. The platypus is among nature's most unlikely animals. Both electroreceptors and mechanoreceptors in the bill dominate the somatotopic map of the platypus brain, in the same way human hands dominate the Penfield homunculus map. Mortality rates for adults in the wild appear to be low. The platypus is a semiaquatic animal native to Australia. [51], The platypus is no longer found in the main part of the Murray-Darling Basin, possibly due to the declining water quality brought about by extensive land clearing and irrigation schemes. The platypus lives in rivers and river banks. [52] Along the coastal river systems, its distribution is unpredictable; it appears to be absent from some relatively healthy rivers, and yet maintains a presence in others, for example, the lower Maribyrnong, that are quite degraded. The female softens the ground in the burrow with dead, folded, wet leaves, and she fills the nest at the end of the tunnel with fallen leaves and reeds for bedding material. Platypuses use their nails and feet to construct dirt burrows at the water's edge. Were mammals originally venomous?, Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 51 (1), 2006: 1–11. After mating, the female constructs a deeper, more elaborate burrow up to 20 m (65 ft) long and blocked at intervals with plugs (which may act as a safeguard against rising waters or predators, or as a method of regulating humidity and temperature). Although it is not the version of the platypus that exists today, one of the most … Although powerful enough to kill smaller animals such as dogs, the venom is not lethal to humans, but the pain is so excruciating that the victim may be incapacitated. The species is classified as a near-threatened species by the IUCN, but a November 2020 report has recommended that it is upgraded to threatened species under the federal EPBC Act, due to habitat destruction and declining numbers in all states. [36][37], The platypus can determine the direction of an electric source, perhaps by comparing differences in signal strength across the sheet of electroreceptors. The function of defensins is to cause lysis in pathogenic bacteria and viruses, but in platypuses they also are formed into venom for defence. Platypuses are kept at the following sanctuaries: As of 2019, the only platypuses in captivity outside of Australia are in the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in the U.S. state of California. [87], The platypus is also used by some Aboriginal peoples as a totem, which is to them "a natural object, plant or animal that is inherited by members of a clan or family as their spiritual emblem", and the animal holds special meaning as a totem animal for the Wadi Wadi people, who live along the Murray River. "Comparative cranial morphology in living and extinct platypuses: Feeding behavior, electroreception, and loss of teeth". Recovery at the surface between dives commonly takes from 10 to 20 seconds. [6], Weight varies considerably from 0.7 to 2.4 kg (1 lb 9 oz to 5 lb 5 oz), with males being larger than females. Evolutionary relationships between the platypus and other mammals. [11] It was independently described as Ornithorhynchus paradoxus by Johann Blumenbach in 1800 (from a specimen given to him by Sir Joseph Banks)[12] and following the rules of priority of nomenclature, it was later officially recognised as Ornithorhynchus anatinus. They have sharp stingers on the heels of their rear feet and can use them to deliver a strong toxic blow to any foe. Instead, milk is released through pores in the skin. A first of its kind remote attack. This is in comparison to the more ancestral process of meroblastic cleavage, present in monotremes like the platypus and in non-mammals like reptiles and birds. [99] Since 2008, platypus has bred regularly at Healesville,[100] including second-generation (captive born themselves breeding in captivity). The disease (termed mucormycosis) affects only Tasmanian platypuses, and had not been observed in platypuses in mainland Australia. Masakazu Asahara; Masahiro Koizumi; Thomas E. Macrini; Suzanne J. [88], A November 2020 report by scientists from the University of New South Wales, funded by a research grant from the Australian Conservation Foundation in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund Australia and the Humane Society International Australia revealed that that platypus habitat in Australia had shrunk by 22 per cent in the previous 30 years, and recommended that the platypus should be listed as a threatened species under the EPBC Act.

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