Journal article

The Unique Penile Morphology of the Short-Beaked Echidna, Tachyglossus aculeatus

Jane C Fenelon, Caleb McElrea, Geoff Shaw, Alistair R Evans, Michael Pyne, Stephen D Johnston, Marilyn B Renfree



Monotremes diverged from therian mammal ancestors approximately 184 million years ago and have a number of novel reproductive characteristics. One in particular is their penile morphology. There are differences between echidna and platypus phalluses, but both are somewhat similar in structure to the reptilian phallus. The echidna penis consists of 4 rosette glans, each of which contains a termination of the quadrifurcate urethra, but it appears that only 2 of the 4 glans become erect at any one time. Despite this, only a few historical references describe the structure of the echidna penis and none provides an explanation for the mechanisms of unilateral ejaculation. This study confirmed tha..

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Funding Acknowledgements

This study was funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage grant to M.B.R., S.D.J., and M.P.