Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Croc supersense: Multi-sensory organs in crocodylian skin sensitive to touch, heat, cold, environment

Date:
July 2, 2013
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
Previously misunderstood multi-sensory organs in the skin of crocodylians are sensitive to touch, heat, cold, and the chemicals in their environment, new research finds. These sensors have no equivalent in any other vertebrate.

Caiman crocodilus.
Credit: © Andrey Armyagov / Fotolia

Previously misunderstood multi-sensory organs in the skin of crocodylians are sensitive to touch, heat, cold, and the chemicals in their environment, finds research in BioMed Central's open access journal EvoDevo. These sensors have no equivalent in any other vertebrate.

Related Articles


Crocodylians, the group that includes crocodiles, gharials, alligators and caimans, have particularly tough epidermal scales consisting of keratin and bony plates for added protection. On the head, these scales are unusual because they result from cracking of the hardened skin, rather than their shape being genetically determined.

The scales have sensors known as dome pressure receptors (DPR) or Integumentary Sensory organs (ISOs) with fingertip sensitivity. Researchers from the University of Geneva investigated ISOs in Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) and the spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus) to find out exactly what these micro-organs can 'see and how they are formed.'.

ISOs appear on the head of the developing caiman and crocodile embryos before the skin starts to crack and form scales. Nile crocodiles additionally develop ISOs all over their body. In both animals the ISOs contain mechano-, thermo-, and chemo-sensory receptor-channels giving them the combined ability to detect touch, heat/cold and chemical stimuli, but not salinity. Nile crocodiles have separate salt glands on their tongues which help regulate osmolarity in hyper-saline environments.

This means that they can detect surface pressure waves allowing them to quickly find prey even in the dark. The thermal sensitivity help them to maintain body temperature by moving between basking in the sun and cooling in the water, and the chemical sensors may help them to detect suitable habitats.

Prof Michel Milinkovitch, who led this study explained, "ISO sensors are remarkable because not only are they able to detect many different types of physical and chemical stimuli, but because there is no equivalent in any other vertebrates. It is this transformation of a diffuse sensory system, such as we have in our own skin, into ISO which has allowed crocodilians to evolve a highly armored yet very sensitive skin."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Nicolas Di-Poï, Michel C Milinkovitch. Crocodylians evolved scattered multi-sensory micro-organs. EvoDevo, 2013; 4 (1): 19 DOI: 10.1186/2041-9139-4-19

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "Croc supersense: Multi-sensory organs in crocodylian skin sensitive to touch, heat, cold, environment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130702101506.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2013, July 2). Croc supersense: Multi-sensory organs in crocodylian skin sensitive to touch, heat, cold, environment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130702101506.htm
BioMed Central. "Croc supersense: Multi-sensory organs in crocodylian skin sensitive to touch, heat, cold, environment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130702101506.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) — Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) — Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

Buzz60 (Dec. 22, 2014) — A new species of fish is discovered living five miles beneath the ocean surface, making it the deepest living fish on earth. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) — Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins