Animalia > Chordata > Mammalia > Monotremata > Ornithorhynchidae > Ornithorhynchus > Ornithorhynchus anatinus

Ornithorhynchus anatinus (Platypus; duck-billed platypus)

Wikipedia Abstract

The platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus), also known as the duck-billed platypus, is a semiaquatic egg-laying 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. The animal 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.
View Wikipedia Record: Ornithorhynchus anatinus

EDGE Analysis

The notion of the duck-billed platypus possessing a bird-like horny bill originated from examinations of dried specimens. The bill is actually soft, moist and leathery and also highly sensitive. The platypus is the most evolutionary distinct mammal alive today. It is the only representative of an entire family of mammals dating back to the Cretaceous period (146-65.5 millian years ago), and one of only five species in the order Monotremata. Monotremes differ from all other mammals in that they lay eggs covered by a shell that hatch outside the mother?s body. Monotremes are also unique in that they have only a single passage, the cloaca, for both excretion and reproduction.
Uniqueness Scale: Similiar (0) 
 Unique (100)
Uniqueness & Vulnerability Scale: Similiar & Secure (0) 
 Unique & Vulnerable (100)
ED Score: 88.97
EDGE Score: 4.5
View EDGE Record: Ornithorhynchus anatinus


Gestation [4]  17 days
Litter Size [4]  2
Maximum Longevity [4]  23 years
Nocturnal [1]  Yes
Water Biome [1]  Lakes and Ponds, Rivers and Streams
Weaning [4]  3 months 16 days
Adult Weight [2]  2.866 lbs (1.30 kg)
Female Weight [2]  1.984 lbs (900 g)
Male Weight [2]  3.748 lbs (1.70 kg)
Weight Dimorphism [2]  88.9 %
Diet [3]  Carnivore (Invertebrates), Piscivore
Diet - Fish [3]  20 %
Diet - Invertibrates [3]  80 %
Forages - Ground [3]  100 %
Female Maturity [4]  1 year 6 months
Male Maturity [4]  1 year 6 months


Protected Areas

Emblem of

New South Wales

Prey / Diet

Paratya australiensis[5]

Prey / Diet Overlap

Competing SpeciesCommon Prey Count
Maccullochella ikei (Clarence river cod)1


Institutions (Zoos, etc.)

Institution Infraspecies / Breed 
Australia Zoo
Healesville Sanctuary
Melbourne Zoo
Taronga Zoo

Range Map



External References



Attributes / relations provided by
1Myers, P., R. Espinosa, C. S. Parr, T. Jones, G. S. Hammond, and T. A. Dewey. 2006. The Animal Diversity Web (online). Accessed February 01, 2010 at
2"Chapter 7. Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)", Sarah Bekessy, Julian Fox and Sarah Munks, Linking landscape ecology and management to population viability analysis, 2004, p. 152-172
3Hamish Wilman, Jonathan Belmaker, Jennifer Simpson, Carolina de la Rosa, Marcelo M. Rivadeneira, and Walter Jetz. 2014. EltonTraits 1.0: Species-level foraging attributes of the world's birds and mammals. Ecology 95:2027
4de Magalhaes, J. P., and Costa, J. (2009) A database of vertebrate longevity records and their relation to other life-history traits. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22(8):1770-1774
5FARAGHER, R. A., GRANT, T. R. and CARRICK, F. N. (1979), "Food of the platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) with notes on the food of brown trout (Salmo trutta) in the Shoalhaven River, N.S.W.", Australian Journal of Ecology, 4: 171–179.
6Gibson, D. I., Bray, R. A., & Harris, E. A. (Compilers) (2005). Host-Parasite Database of the Natural History Museum, London
7International Flea Database
8Species Interactions of Australia Database, Atlas of Living Australia, Version ala-csv-2012-11-19
Ecoregions provided by World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF). WildFinder: Online database of species distributions, ver. 01.06 WWF WildFINDER
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Abstract provided by DBpedia licensed under a Creative Commons License