Platypus is a semiaquatic egg-laying mammal found in river systems in eastern Australia that includes Tasmania too. They are also referred to as the duck-billed platypus.

Key Points

  • Its scientific name is Ornithorhynchus anatinus. The Platypus is the only living representative of its family i.e. Ornithorhynchidae and genus –Ornithorhynchus.
  • Ornithorhynchidae is the family of Monotremata, which comprises of Platypus and its extinct relatives.
  • Monotremata is one of 3 main living groups of mammals. These mammals lay eggs instead of giving birth to young ones.
  • The mammal is listed as “near threatened” on the Red List by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • In 2020, research in biofluorescence pointed out that the platypus is one of the monotremes which glow in a bluish-green colour on exposure to black light.

Platypus habitat reduced by 22%

  • Researchers from the University of New South Wales, Australia have found that the habitat of the platypus has shrunk by around 22 percent which is around 200,000 sq km since 1990, due to human intervention in the waterways, bad droughts and introduced predators.
  • New South Wales had seen a decrease of 32% in platypus observations in the last 30 years, followed by 27% decrease in Queensland and 7% in Victoria.
  • The study has found a decline of 30.6% decline platypus habitat in In the Murray-Darling Basin in the last 30 years. In some urban areas near Melbourne, the decrease is as high as 65%.
  • The researchers and other conservation groups have called for Australia to classify the species of Platypus as nationally threatened.

Before this, the scientific advisory panel of Victoria recommended the state to officially list the Platypus as vulnerable species. Both the Victorian panel and UNSW research have warned that hat climate change will only increase the threat to the species.

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