U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


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Clark, L., J. Hagelin, and S. Werner. 2014. The chemical senses in birds. In: C. Scanes, editor. Sturkie's Avian Physiology, Sixth edition. Academic Press, Elsevier Inc., Boston, MA. 89-111.


U.S. government work.



The chemical senses generally fall into three categories: chemesthesis (irritation and pain), olfaction (smell), and gustation (taste). Traditionally, the emphasis in describing responsiveness to chemical stimuli has been placed on taste and smell. The reality is more complex. For example, the sensory afferents for chemesthetic perception are in close proximity with olfactory receptors in the nasal cavity and with gustatory receptors in the oral cavity. Because external chemical stimuli can be processed by multiple sensory systems, there has been a great deal of confusion in the literature on the importance of individual sensory modalities. Generally, the principal mediating sensory modality may be related to stimulus type, concentration, and presentation. However, when perception of external chemical stimuli occurs via the integrated perception across modalities, the combined perceptual quality is commonly referred to as flavor.

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