The bill of the duck-billed platypus aids in the detection of prey via large sensory mucous glands that act as electroreceptors.

“Both platypus and echidnas possess electroreceptors in their bill to detect weak electric fields generated by the movements of invertebrate prey. The electroreceptors are large sensory mucous glands that are distributed over the entire surface of the platypus bill, and are restricted to the tip of the echidna’s bill.” (Fowler and Miller 2003:279)

“A platypus — which closes its eyes, ears, and nostrils when diving — hunts by being sensitive to the electrical impulses produced by its prey. Tiny electroreceptors cover the platypus’s bill. They are linked to the trigeminal cranial nerve, in contrast to electrosensitive fishes whose receptors are linked to the auditory cranial nerve.” (Shuker 2001:57)

Last Updated October 25, 2016