- The Platypus is a semi-aquatic mammal endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania. Together with the four species of echidna, it is one of the five extant species of monotremes, the only mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young. It is the sole living representative of its family (Ornithorhynchidae) and genus (Ornithorhynchus), though a number of related species have been found in the fossil record .
- The bizarre appearance of this egg-laying , duck-billed mammal baffled naturalists when it was first discovered, with some considering it an elaborate fraud. It is one of the few venomous mammals; the male Platypus has a spur on the hind foot which delivers a poison capable of causing severe pain to humans. The unique features of the Platypus make it an important subject in the study of evolutionary biology and a recognizable and iconic symbol of Australia; it has appeared as a mascot at national events and is featured on the reverse of the Australian 20 cent coin.
- Until the early 20th century it was hunted for its fur, but it is now protected throughout its range . Although captive breeding programs have had only limited success and the Platypus is vulnerable to the effects of pollution , it is not under any immediate threat .
Click on the language to view common names.
Common Names in English:
Duck-billed Platypus, duckbill platypus, Platypus
Common Names in French:
Common Names in Russian:
Typically found in a lake at a mean distance from sea level of 328 meters (1,075 feet).
The Platypus is restricted
and suitable freshwater
including some shallow water storage lakes
al. 2008). Its food is almost exclusively benthic
and so the species is water-dependent. Platypuses are largely solitary,
and when not foraging
in water they normally occupy a resting or
nesting burrow in earth banks, although some individuals have been
found resting in accumulated stream debris or in low dense vegetation.
The species is seldom observed moving on land
in mainland Australia,
but is frequently seen out of the water in Tasmania, where its predator
the fox (Vulpes vulpes), has been introduced
recently (T. Grant, S. Munks, F. Carrick, and M.
Serena pers. comm.
The breeding season
varies widely depending on location. Females
one to three eggs
annually, but usually two (Carrick et
al. 2008). Platypuses are long-lived animals (up to 20 years
in the wild)..
List of Habitats :
- 5 Wetlands (inland)
- 5.1 Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls ) [more info]
- Whittaker & Margulis,1978
- C. Linnaeus, 1758
- (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Grobben, 1908
- (Haeckel, 1874) Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Bateson, 1885
- Cuvier, 1812
- Jawed Vertebrates
- Superclass: Tetrapoda () - Goodrich, 1930
- Infraphylum: Gnathostomata () - auct. - Jawed Vertebrates
- Subphylum: Vertebrata () - Cuvier, 1812 - Vertebrates
- Phylum: Chordata () - Bateson, 1885 - Chordates
- Infrakingdom: Chordonia () - (Haeckel, 1874) Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Branch: Deuterostomia () - Grobben, 1908
- Subkingdom: Bilateria () - (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Kingdom: Animalia () - C. Linnaeus, 1758 - animals
Status: Accepted Name
Last scrutiny: 28-Nov-2006
Members of the genus Ornithorhynchus
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 2 species and subspecies in this genus:
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Accessed through GBIF Data Portal November 26, 2007:
- Field Museum, Mammal specimens
- Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Vertebrate specimens
- Marine Science Institute, UCSB, Paleobiology Database
- Provider, Online Zoological Collections of Australian Museums
- Royal Ontario Museum, Mammal specimens
- University of Kansas Biodiversity Research Center, Mammal Collection
- University of Michigan Museum of Zoology
- , Mammal specimens
- Biodiversity Heritage Library NamebankID: 107403
- Catalogue of Life Accepted Name Code: ITS-552524
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility Taxonkey: 13484392
- Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Taxonomic Serial Number (TSN): 552524
- IUCN ID: 228761
- Zipcode Zoo Species Identifier: 137299
- Standard Deviation = 339.080 based on 207 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
- Lunney, D., Dickman, C., Copley, P., Grant, T., Munks, S., Carrick, F., Serena, M. & Ellis, M. 2008. Ornithorhynchus anatinus. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 03 February 2012. [back]