Olfaction: Underwater 'sniffing' by semi-aquatic mammals

@article{Catania2006OlfactionU,
  title={Olfaction: Underwater 'sniffing' by semi-aquatic mammals},
  author={Kenneth C Catania},
  journal={Nature},
  year={2006},
  volume={444},
  pages={1024-1025}
}
  • K. Catania
  • Published 21 December 2006
  • Environmental Science, Biology
  • Nature
Terrestrial species that forage underwater face challenges because their body parts and senses are adapted for land — for example, it is widely held that mammals cannot use olfaction underwater because it is impossible for them to inspire air (sniff) to convey odorants to the olfactory epithelium. Here I describe a mechanism for underwater sniffing used by the semi-aquatic star-nosed mole (Condylura cristata) and water shrew (Sorex palustris). While underwater, both species exhale air bubbles… 

Somatosensation, Echolocation, and Underwater Sniffing: Adaptations Allow Mammals Without Traditional Olfactory Capabilities to Forage for Food Underwater

The semiaquatic mammals Condylura cristata (star-nosed mole) and Sortex palustris (water shrew) have developed the ability to sniff and detect semiochemicals underwater, a discovery that contradicts prior views on the evolutionary relationship between olfaction and aquatic adaptation.

The use of olfaction by the Russian desman (Desmana moschata L.) during underwater swimming

280 In this communication, previously unknown elee ments of the behavior of the Russian desman that allow us to suggest that this animal uses underwater olfaction with the help of the bubblebased

Symposium Overview

  • K. Catania
  • Biology
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
  • 2009
The results of the studies presented here began as an investigation of tactile abilities underwater, where star-nosed moles are remarkably efficient at detecting and consuming small prey items quickly in a terrestrial setting.

Repeated evolution of underwater rebreathing in diving Anolis lizards

The neurobiology and behavior of the American water shrew (Sorex palustris)

  • K. Catania
  • Biology
    Journal of Comparative Physiology A
  • 2013
The shrew’s small brain with few cortical areas may allow exceptional speed in processing sensory information and producing motor output.

Water shrews detect movement, shape, and smell to find prey underwater

It is concluded that water shrews detect motion, shape, and smell to find prey underwater and may use a flush-pursuit strategy to capture some prey.

Convergent evolution of olfactory and thermoregulatory capacities in small amphibious mammals

The results show a strong trade-off between olfactory and thermoregulatory capacities in amphibious mammals, with morphological changes that occurred 5.4 times faster than the background rate and traits related to vital functions evolved faster to the optimum compared to traits that are not related to Vital functions.

Songbirds use scent cues to relocate to feeding sites after displacement: An experiment in great tits (Parus major)

It is shown that great tits (Parus major) require olfactory cues to orientate toward winter-feeding sites within their home range after displacement, and this results indicate that even in a familiar environment with possible visual landmarks, scent cues might serve as an important source of information for orientation.

Active touch in sea otters: in-air and underwater texture discrimination thresholds and behavioral strategies for paws and vibrissae

It is suggested that sea otters have sensitive, rapid tactile processing capabilities and this functional test of anatomy-based hypotheses provides a mechanistic framework to interpret adaptations and behavioral strategies used by predators to detect and capture cryptic prey in aquatic habitats.
...

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