Dictionary > Rhinarium

Rhinarium

Definition
noun, plural: rhinaria
The hairless skin area surrounding the nostrils in certain mammals
Supplement
Rhinarium is the hairless skin area that surrounds the nostrils in many mammals. This surface of the skin is moist. The rhinarium is part of the olfactory system and is therefore associated with the sense of smell. It is thought to be sensitive to pheromones. There is a groove down the middle and it is referred to as a philtrum. Animals with rhinarium are said to have a more acute sense of smell. Nevertheless, rhinarium serves other purposes in certain animals. For instance, in walrus, the rhinarium is covered with bristles that serve as protection especially when the walrus forages for shellfish. The rhinarium is also found to detect wind direction. It enables animals to detect smell with the direction where it came from.1
Having rhinarium is one of the distinctive features that characterize strepsirrhines. Strepsirrhines belong to the suborder Strepsirrhini of the order Primates. The other suborder is Haplorrhini (haplorrhines). The streptorrhines have a rhinarium and are therefore referred to as wet-nosed primates in contrast to the haplorrhines that lack rhinarium (thus, are called dry-nosed primates).
Examples of mammals that have rhinarium include streptorrhines (i.e. lemurs, lorises, pottos, and galagos), cats, dogs, elephants, and walruses.
Word origin: Latin rhinarium (“belonging to the nose)
Synonym(s):

  • nose leather

See also:

  • strepsirrhine
  • nostril
  • mammal
  • Reference(s):

    1 Dijkgraaf, S., Zandee, D. I., Addink, A. D. F. eds. (1978). Vergelijkende dierfysiologie (Comparative animal physiology) (in Dutch) (2nd ed.). Utrecht: Bohn, Scheltema & Holkema.


    You will also like...

    Ecosystem Succession
    Ecosystem Succession

    If the balance of nature is left untouched, landscapes can change dramatically over time. A previous ecosystem is supers..

    Fossil trilobite imprint in the sediment
    Insects

    There are more species of insects than any other species combined. This surely illustrates that insects have the selecti..

    Balanced Diet
    A Balanced Diet – Minerals and Proteins

    Proteins and minerals can be derived from various dietary sources. They are essential for the proper growth and developm..

    Disturbance on a still water
    Abiotic Factors – Water Conditions

    A still body of water may be disturbed by a variety of factors. One of them is wind. In fact, it is considered as the pr..

    Biological Cell schematic diagram
    Biological Cell Introduction

    It only takes one biological cell to create an organism. A single cell is able to keep itself functional through its 'mi..

    Homo Species
    The Homo Species

    The evolution of the species of the genus "Homo" led to the emergence of modern humans. Find out more about human evolut..