UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
How many species have whiskers? What is the function of whiskers? How are whiskers and antennae alike?
Question Date: 2015-09-15
Answer 1:

Whiskers are rooted deeply within the skin and are surrounded by many blood vessels and nerves. They are thicker and more rigid than hair. The main function of whiskers is to provide the animal with a means of sensing the environment and moving around in it, especially when it is dark. This function is similar to the function of antennae. Usually, the whisker can’t feel anything but when something brushes against the whisker, it causes it to vibrate. The nerves in the hair follicle sense the vibration.

Whiskers are not like hair because the hair can’t provide any sensory information. Mammals, except humans, usually have whiskers. The animals that have whiskers are in a group called the vibrissal group, which includes chinchillas, rats, seals, manatees, dogs, and cats.

Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2020 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use