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  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)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- Collins, M. 2004. Design and nature II: comparing design in nature with science and engineering. Southampton: WIT.
- Soares, D. 2002. Neurology: An ancient sensory organ in crocodilians. Nature. 417(16 May): 241-242.
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