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Receptors detect minuscule vibrations: alligator


Pigmented domes on alligator / Roger Smith / LicenseCC-by-nc-nd - Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives

Faces of alligators detect miniscule vibrations on air water interfaces via dome pressure receptors

"Crocodilians have organ dome pressure receptors (DPRs) on their faces that are connected to the hypertrophied nerve system, and are capable of detecting very small disruptions in the surface of the surrounding water, caused by location of their prey. The faces of alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) are covered with small-pigmented domes, outside and inside the mouth. Experiments in full darkness with half submerged alligators revealed that they are sensitive to single water droplets, with their hearing organs shut. Soares [29] investigated this effect in crocodilians and lizards and found that only animals that are semi-aquatic show the same pattern of vibration perception as that of the crocodilians." (Collins 2004:170)
About the inspiring organism
Med_276782553_622f93947c_b Alligator, Gator, American alligator, Florida alligator, Mississippi alligator, Louisiana alligator.
Alligator mississippiensis DAUDIN 1802
Common name: Mississippi-alligator

Habitat(s): Wetlands
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Some organism data provided by: TIGR Reptile Database
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Threat Categories LONG_LC IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Ultrasound domes for medical imaging.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Sensors, medical

Soares Lab Neuroethology
Daphne Soares
Biology Department, University of Maryland
Collins, M. 2004. Design and nature II: comparing design in nature with science and engineering. Southampton: WIT.
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Soares, D. 2002. Neurology: An ancient sensory organ in crocodilians. Nature. 417(16 May): 241-242.
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Leitch, D.B.; Catania, K.C. 2012. Structure, innervation and response properties of integumentary sensory organs in crocodilians. The Journal of Experimental Biology. 296(4): 4217-4230.
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