Infrared Receptors in the Facial Pits of the Australian Python Morelia spilotes

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Science  26 Jan 1968:
Vol. 159, Issue 3813, pp. 439-441
DOI: 10.1126/science.159.3813.439


There is a series of pits in the scales of the rostrum and posterior portion of the lower lips in some pythons and boas. In the Australian python Morelia spilotes, these pits are innervated by the maxillary and mandibular branches of the trigeminal nerve. Structural and neurophysiological evidence indicate that in the pits there are receptors that function as detectors of radiant heat flux.