Thursday, August 8, 2013

Walrus "Moustache"

 The bristles surrounding the tusks of a walrus that often give it a "moustached" look are called vibrissae.

 Picture from NY Times

There can be anywhere from 400 to 700 vibrissae in a row, usually 13 to 15 rows surrounding the tusks.  Though they are usually fairly short in order to avoid getting in the way of eating, the vibrissae can be up to a foot long.  The vibrissae are attached to muscles and are supplied with blood and nerves, making them highly sensitive organs.

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