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Related to Vibrissae: whiskers


(vertebrate zoology)
Hairs with specialized erectile tissue; found on all mammals except humans. Also known as sinus hairs; tactile hairs; whiskers.



tactile hairs that protrude above the furry covering in mammals. The vibrissae are usually distributed in clumps on the head (on the nose, above the eyes, on the lower jaw, and so forth), and they are sometimes found on other parts of the body also (for example, in many marsupials, on the paws). They greatly resemble ordinary hairs but are several times thicker and longer. Vibrissae are specialized sense organs that perceive even the smallest variations in the environment. The base of each vibrissa is immersed in a hair follicle and surrounded by venous cavities (hence the English term for vibrissae, “sinus hairs”). Vibrissae on the head are innervated by the trigeminal nerve. The structure of the skull bones of ancient animal-like reptiles indicates that vibrissae were apparently developed in the ancestors of mammals and may be regarded as an older formation than hair. Sometimes the large hairs in the nasal cavities of humans and certain large, chitinous bristles on the bodies of insects are also called vibrissae.


Shmal’gauzen, I. I. Osnovy sravnitel’noi anatomii pozvonochnykh zhivotnykh, 4th ed. Moscow, 1947.
lablokov, A. V., and G. A. KlevezaT. “Vibrissy kitoobraznykh i lastonogikh, ikh raspredelenie, stroenie i znachenie.” In the collection Morfologicheskie osobennosti vodnykh mlekopitaiushchikh. Moscow, 1964.


References in periodicals archive ?
The Isabelline-colored Red Squirrels we observed also appear to be similar to a light colored Red Squirrel from northern New York reported by Dapson (1963), with the exception of the coloration of the vibrissae.
The eye blink reflex, vibrissae movement, and orientation of the vibrissae relative to the rostrocaudal axis of the animal were measured.
The "mustache" of the walrus is made up of about 700 sensitive hairs called vibrissae.
By uniquely representing frequency information, this new map in the brain may also allow rats to 'hear' with their vibrissae, or to sense subtle changes in wind currents related to, for example, an oncoming cat or an owl flapping its wings as it hunts the animal.
Finally, the poor development of mystacial vibrissae suggests reduced participation in searching activities.
Electrodes were also bilaterally implanted in the trapezius muscles, in the muscle pad that moves the vibrissae and in the lateral epicanthus of each eye, in order to record head, rostrum/vibrissae and eye movements, respectively.
More precise analyses of the EEGs of seizures were reported the following year, demonstrating the EEG was composed of a tiny aura of trembling vibrissae, wild running and tonic-clonic convulsions.
25; orbital plate parallel to eye margin and shiny yellow; frons yellowish brown; ocellar triangle blackish brown; posterior part of head pale orange, except for silver pollinose whitish area around supracervical black setulae; face yellowish without spots, slightly protuberant in middle; cheek brownish yellow; area posterior to vibrissae dark brown maculate, remaining part yellowish.