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Animal senses

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Rebecca Rayner

on 26 November 2013

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Transcript of Animal senses

Know the structure and function of sensory organs in animals
Horses in the herd will observe the ear movements of their fellows and react accordingly.
Sensory organs of smell. This can help the horse determine which food is safe to eat and recognise other horses in the heard.
Sensory receptors in skin, joints muscles and other parts of the body.
Sensory organs
The position of the eyes on the side of the head allows the horse to have almost a 360 degree field of vision.

sensory organs of taste. Can help horses detemine poisonous plants.
Structure and function of the sensory organs
Eye structure- The equine eye is made up of a number of distinct parts.

The front surface, visible from the outside, is the cornea which is a clear window which allows light into the interior of the eye. Behind the cornea is the iris which dilates and contracts according to the lighting conditions. The equine iris has a modification at the upper edge corpora negra acts as a visor and filters light.

Between the cornea and the iris is a space filled with fluid called the anterior chamber.
The space between the iris and the lens is called the posterior chamber
The posterior chamber is filled with the same type of fluid as the anterior chamber, and in fact the pupil, which is the central opening in the iris.
Although it can be hard to see from outside, if you look closely and in the right light, you can see that the pupil is horizontal when it is contracted and wide and round when it is dilated.

The lens, which is held in place behind the iris, has a special muscular arrangement which allows it to relax or tense, becoming thicker or thinner as it does so. This enables the eye to focus near and far objects. Behind the lens, the main cavity of the eyeball is filled with a clear gelatinous substance called the vitreous body. Lining the rear of the eyeball is the retina which comprises millions of light receptors which collect information and transmit it to the brain. The exterior of the eye comprises the conjunctiva, which is divided into the palpebral and bulbar portions, and the eyelids. The upper lid has lashes.

The horses ear structure and function-The ear is divided into three portions: the outer, the middle, and the inner ear. The outer ear is the visible portion that can be a strong indicator of the general mood of your horse, a tip-off as to where its attention is directed, and even a sentinel to a well-timed kick. The outer ear is also called the auricle or pinna—the word auricular often refers to the ear or structures associated with it.

The stiffness and shape of the outer ear are created by a large amount of cartilage. In fact, most of the outer ear is made up of cartilage with its thin covering of skin and muscles attaching to the base. The ear canal in the horse is long and generally does not allow the examination of the ear drum as can be done in people and other smaller animals. The ear drum—technically called the tympanic membrane—lies at the end of the ear canal; it is the membrane that picks up sound waves and starts the process of hearing.
The structure and function of the horses nose- The upper respiratory tract is the portion of the respiratory system extending from the nares (the external portion of the nose, also called the nostrils) to the larynx,which is the cartilaginous structure located at the top of the trachea. There are three primary functions of the upper respiratory tract: breathing, swallowing, and vocalization.

The horse only breathes through its nostrils. The nasal passages in the horse are separated from the oral (mouth) cavity. Horses only breathe through their mouths if they have an injury or abnormality to the soft palate (the structure that separates the mouth from the nasal passages). Air passage via the nares and passes through the nasal cavities, where it is warmed and filtered.

The air continues into the nasopharynx, over the epiglottis, and through the larynx into the trachea. The muscles of the nasopharynx are paramount in maintaining a patent airway, as are the soft palate and all of the structures of the larynx. The tongue plays an important role in the respiratory system as it ensures correct positioning of the larynx.
The structure of the horses skin- The skin consists of various cellular and tissue components. There are two layers, the epidermis and the dermis (subcutis), with the epidermis being the outer layer. The two are attached by collagenous and elastic connective tissue.The skin consists of various cellular and tissue components. There are two layers, the epidermis and the dermis (subcutis), with the epidermis being the outer layer. The two are attached by collagenous and elastic connective tissue.

The main activity of the epidermis is to produce two types of protein--keratin and melanin. Keratin, the principal component of the epidermis, is a simple protein characterized by its insolubility (it won't dissolve) and fibrous structure. It serves a supportive and protective function, including the shedding of water. Melanin is the dark, shapeless pigment of the skin and hair.

The tongue is skeletal muscle dorsally and structural fat surrounded by a cartilagenous sheath forming lyssa (canids only) ventrally. It has an attached root and body with a free apex. The frenulum (fold of mucosa) attaches the body of the tongue to the floor of the oral cavity.

The root of tongue is attached to the hyoid bone. In the horse and dog, the tongue is 'u' shaped, becoming broader towards the tip. The furrow in the centre of the canid tongue is called the median sulcus. In the ox, sheep and pig the tongue is 'v' shaped with a pointed apex. The torus linguae is a swelling across the tongue laterally which pushes food against the hard palate.
The different sensory adaptations of two species
Cats sensory adaptations- Cat senses are adaptations that allow cats to be highly efficient predators. Cats have acute sight, hearing and smell, and their sense of touch is enhanced by long whiskers that protrude from their heads and bodies. These senses allow cats to hunt effectively in dim light or at night.

Cats, like dogs and many other animals, have a tapetum lucidum, which is a reflective layer behind the retina that sends light that passes through the retina back into the eye. While this improves the ability to see in darkness, it appears to reduce net visual acuity, thus detracting when light is abundant.

Humans and cats have a similar range of hearing on the low end of the scale, but cats can hear much higher-pitched sounds, up to 64 kHz, which is 1.6 octaves above the range of a human, and even 1 octave above the range of a dog. When listening for something, a cat's ears will swivel in that direction; a cat's ear flaps (pinnae) can independently point backwards as well as forwards and sideways to pinpoint the source of the sound.

A domestic cat's sense of smell is about fourteen times as strong as a human's. Cats have twice as many receptors in the olfactory epithelium (i.e. smell-sensitive cells in their noses) as people do, meaning that cats have a more acute sense of smell than humans. Cats also have a scent organ in the roof of their mouths called the vomeronasal organ.

A cat has about twenty-four movable vibrissae ("whiskers"), in four sets on each upper lip on either side of its nose (some cats may have more). There are also a few on each cheek, tufts over the eyes, bristles on the chin, the cat's inner "wrists", and at the back of the legs.

The cat family has an extremely specialized evolutionary niche as a hunter and carnivore. Their modified sense of taste would cause them to some degree to ignore plants, a large part of whose taste appeal derives from their high sugar content, in favor of a high-protein carnivorous diet, which would still stimulate their remaining taste receptors.
Snakes sensory adaptations- Like other animals, snakes rely on their senses to know
what’s going on around them, but much of the structure of their sense organs is
quite different .

As with many other creatures that have taken to living underground, sight became less
important to them and their eyes degenerated along with their limbs. When snakes came
back above ground, they redeveloped their eyes from the rudimentary vestiges that they
had left.

Instead of the typical lizard eyelids, snakes protect their eyes with a transparent “spectacle” scale . The lens of the eye is round and yellow in colour – again in contrast with a lizard’s eye – and it is focused by being moved back and forth, like a telescope, rather than having its shape changed, as in lizards and humans, and as a result, most snakes tend to be fairly short-sighted. In addition, snakes’ retinas contain a unique kind of light sensitive cell – the double cone – which is not found in lizards, providing further evidence for the re-evolution of snake eyes.

Just as living underground reduces the need for good eyesight, so too does it remove the importance of being able to hear airborne sounds – and accordingly, snakes have lost the eardrum and middle ear structures that exist in lizards. This inevitably makes all of them deaf. However, they are sensitive to ground vibrations – approaching footfalls, for example, being transmitted directly to the inner ear, via the bones of the skull. The inner ear also helps the snake maintain its balance and be aware of which way up it is – just as it does in humans.

Although snakes possess a relatively large nose – and a good sense of smell – generally their Jacobson’s organ, and the ability it gives them to “taste-scent” their environment, provides them with more useful information about their surroundings.

Other Senses
Snakes also have a range of other sense organs, most of which are familiar to us. Their bodies, for instance, have pressure receptors while their skin is sensitive to touch and can detect heat – which is obviously an advantage in a cold-blooded animal that needs to bask to warm itself up.

How the anatomy of the sensory organs differs in predator and prey species
The lions sensory organs (predator)
Lions have excellent sense of sight. Like the eyes of other cats eyes are specially designed for seeing at night. Their sense of smell is well developed. Lions mark their territories by means of scent deposits, necessitating a good sense of smell. This also helps them to find kills made by other predators. Lions and all cats possess a special olfactory organ on the roof of the mouth called the Jacobsons organ. A lion may be seen grimacing when smelling something. They are opening their lips to draw air over their Jacobsons organs. This grimacing gesture is called Flehmen.

Lions also have very good hearing. Lions can turn their ears from side to side to catch sounds coming from almost any direction. They can hear prey that is more than a mile away. The colour of the lions coat camouflages it well with their surroundings, helping the lion get close to their prey without being seen. Lions have strong muscles in their chests and front legs which enables them to knock and hold down large animals. Powerful muscles and strong tendons in the rear legs provide tremendous leaping abilities.
The zebra sensory organs (prey)

zebras have very good eyesight during the day and night. They have binocular vision in the front and can probably see in colour. Zebras also have excellent hearing that can detect sounds in the far away distance. They also have a very keen sense of taste and can detect slight changes in the quality of their food.

Zebras communicate with vocalizations and body language. The Zebras vocalization is an unusual combination of braying and whistling as the zebra takes in and exhales air. These calls help mares to locate their foals after a long day of searching for water.

Zebras have excellent eyesight and can recognize each other visually. A newborn spends its first few hours bonding with its mother, learning its mother's voice, stripe pattern, and scent.
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