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...

    Flowers and tiny fruits of the pomegranate plant
    Fruits, Flowers, and Seeds

    This tutorial deals with the structure and function of flowers, fruits, and seeds. Also included here are the types of f..

    takahē
    Takahē (Porphyrio hochstetteri)

    Meet the colorful takahē, an extremely rare flightless bird. Find out more about its unique features and why they matte..

    Growth and Plant Hormones
    Growth and Plant Hormones

    Plants, like animals, produce hormones to regulate plant activities, including growth. They need these hormones to respo..

    Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand
    New Zealand’s Unique Geographical History

    Explore why New Zealand has such unique flora and fauna, and learn why long periods of geographical isolation. This less..

    Protein (illustration)
    Protein Variety

    The sequence of amino acids determines the type of protein. Protein is synthesized according to the sequence of nucleoti..

    Darwin's Finches - Natural Selection
    Darwin and Natural Selection

    This tutorial investigates the genetic diversity in more detail. It also delineates how certain alleles are favored over..

    Related Articles...

    No related articles found

    See all Related Topics