Weird Animal Brain: Platypus

The platypus and the echidna are the only mammals that have the power of electroreception, which means they can sense electrical changes. Check out this new Weird Animal Brain to learn how the platypus uses its bill to catch prey underwater!


For more info:

Scheich H., Langner G., Tidemann C., Coles R.B., Guppy A. (1986). Electroreception and electrolocation in platypus. Nature. 319(6052):401-2.

Pettigrew, J.D., Manger, P.R., and Fine, S.L. (1998). The sensory world of the platypus. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 353(1372): 1199–1210.

Patel, M. (2007). Platypus Electroreception. Retrieved June 26, 2017, from

Weird Animal Brain: Shark

This quote from a Scientific American article on the ampullae of Lorenzini articulates just how powerful the shark's electrical sense is:

"This effect is equivalent to the intensity of the voltage gradient that would be produced in the sea by connecting up a 1.5-volt AA battery with one pole dipped in the Long Island Sound and the other pole in the waters off Jacksonville, Fla. Theoretically, a shark swimming between these points could easily tell when the battery was switched on or off. (Later measurements of brain response indicate that sharks can discern 15 billionths of a volt.) No other tissue, organ or animal exhibits such extreme sensitivity to electricity. Indeed, engineers have difficulty measuring such weak fields in sea-water using modern equipment."