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With the bill and webbed feet of a duck, broad flat tail of a beaver, and a furry body that closely resembles that of a mole, the platypus is so bizarre that British scientists first thought it was a hoax - stitched together by fraudsters. It is one of only a few mammals that produce venom, and - together with echidnas - it forms a unique branch of egg-laying mammals called monotremes.

Despite what we know about the biological quirks of platypuses, they are so elusive and difficult to track down that we still don't have a solid grasp of their abundance or distribution. However, that is beginning to change.

Doug Gimesy's exceptionally rare images reveal how citizen science and environmental DNA analysis are opening up new worlds of information about one of our planet’s most unique (and baffling) species.

Download our full story PDF, including text, here.

Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus), released onto a log in Little Yarra River, Yarra junction, Victoria, Australia. Photographed under controlled conditions. April 2018. - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus), released onto a log in Little Yarra River, Yarra junction, Victoria, Australia. Photographed under controlled conditions. April 2018.
Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) just released onto a log in Little Yarra River, Yarra Junction, Victoria, Australia. April 2018. Controlled conditions. - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) just released onto a log in Little Yarra River, Yarra Junction, Victoria, Australia. April 2018. Controlled conditions.
Winter evening fog rises above a slow moving section of the Mitta Mitta River - Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) habitat - Dartmouth, Victoria, Australia, May 2018. - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Winter evening fog rises above a slow moving section of the Mitta Mitta River - Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) habitat - Dartmouth, Victoria, Australia, May 2018.
Platypus researcher checking fyke nets for platypuses (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) that were set up to capture and help monitor the local population. Beaconsfield, Victoria, Australia. June 2017. Model... - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Platypus researcher checking fyke nets for platypuses (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) that were set up to capture and help monitor the local population. Beaconsfield, Victoria, Australia. June 2017. Model...
Patypus researcher from retrieving a platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) from a Fyke net that was set up to capture and help monitor the local population. Upper Tarago River, Neerim, Victoria, Austral... - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Patypus researcher from retrieving a platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) from a Fyke net that was set up to capture and help monitor the local population. Upper Tarago River, Neerim, Victoria, Austral...
Platypus researcher retrieves a platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) from a net that was set up to capture and help monitor the local population. Chum Creek, Healsville, Victoria, Australia. May, 2017.... - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Platypus researcher retrieves a platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) from a net that was set up to capture and help monitor the local population. Chum Creek, Healsville, Victoria, Australia. May, 2017....
Platypus researcher retrieving a platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) from a net that was set up just 1 hour earlier to capture and help monitor the local population. Chum Creek, Healsville, Victoria,... - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Platypus researcher retrieving a platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) from a net that was set up just 1 hour earlier to capture and help monitor the local population. Chum Creek, Healsville, Victoria,...
Platypus researchers holding a platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) whilst field assistant measures the bill length. It was captured as part of a Melbourne Water study to monitor the local population.... - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Platypus researchers holding a platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) whilst field assistant measures the bill length. It was captured as part of a Melbourne Water study to monitor the local population....
Platypus researcher holding a platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) whilst field assistant measures the bill length. It was captured as part of a Melbourne Water study to monitor the local population. C... - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Platypus researcher holding a platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) whilst field assistant measures the bill length. It was captured as part of a Melbourne Water study to monitor the local population. C...
Platypus researchers holding a Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) which was captured as part of a Melbourne Water study to monitor the local population. Chum Creek, Healsville, Victoria, Australia. M... - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Platypus researchers holding a Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) which was captured as part of a Melbourne Water study to monitor the local population. Chum Creek, Healsville, Victoria, Australia. M...
Platypus researcher holding a platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) whilst field assistant measured bill length. It was captured as part of a Melbourne Water study to monitor the local population. Chum... - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Platypus researcher holding a platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) whilst field assistant measured bill length. It was captured as part of a Melbourne Water study to monitor the local population. Chum...
Platypus researchers taking a small skin sample is from the webbing between the toes of a Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus). Chum Creek, Healsville, Victoria, Australia. May, 2017.Model released. - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Platypus researchers taking a small skin sample is from the webbing between the toes of a Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus). Chum Creek, Healsville, Victoria, Australia. May, 2017.Model released.
Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) researcher taking cheek pouch samples from an anaesthetized platypus, Snowy River, Dalgety, NSW, Australia. ~Dartmouth, Victoria, Australia. May 2018. Model release... - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) researcher taking cheek pouch samples from an anaesthetized platypus, Snowy River, Dalgety, NSW, Australia. ~Dartmouth, Victoria, Australia. May 2018. Model release...
Platypus researcher weighing Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) Warburton, Victoria, Australia. October, 2018. Model released. - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Platypus researcher weighing Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) Warburton, Victoria, Australia. October, 2018. Model released.
Platypus ecologist returning a male platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) to a creek where it had been captured just 30 minutes earlier. Chum Creek, Healsville, Victoria, Australia. May 2017.Model relea... - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Platypus ecologist returning a male platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) to a creek where it had been captured just 30 minutes earlier. Chum Creek, Healsville, Victoria, Australia. May 2017.Model relea...
Researchers keeping warm by a fire next to the Mitta Mitta river, whilst monitoring gill nets which have been placed in the river to capture Platypus (Ornithornychus anatinus). Mitta Mitta River, Dart... - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Researchers keeping warm by a fire next to the Mitta Mitta river, whilst monitoring gill nets which have been placed in the river to capture Platypus (Ornithornychus anatinus). Mitta Mitta River, Dart...
Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) researcher setting platypus catching Fyke nets in the late afternoon in the Little Yarra River, Yarra Junction, Victoria, Australia. April, 2018. Model released - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) researcher setting platypus catching Fyke nets in the late afternoon in the Little Yarra River, Yarra Junction, Victoria, Australia. April, 2018. Model released
Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) researcher setting platypus catching fyke nets in the late afternoon in the Little Yarra River, Yarra Junction, Victoria, Australia - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) researcher setting platypus catching fyke nets in the late afternoon in the Little Yarra River, Yarra Junction, Victoria, Australia
Researcher and assistant set up Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) catching fyke nets with assistant. Upper Bunyip River, Bunyip State Park, Victoria, Australia. April, 2018. Model released - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Researcher and assistant set up Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) catching fyke nets with assistant. Upper Bunyip River, Bunyip State Park, Victoria, Australia. April, 2018. Model released
Researchers with fyke nets to capture Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) at Cardinia Creek, Beaconsfield, Victoria, Australia. These nets ar set up before dusk and then are checked every 3-4 hours un... - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Researchers with fyke nets to capture Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) at Cardinia Creek, Beaconsfield, Victoria, Australia. These nets ar set up before dusk and then are checked every 3-4 hours un...
Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) researchers preparing radio receivers to be placed into the river and help track the movement of platypus which have had transponders attached. Dalgety, NSW, Austra... - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) researchers preparing radio receivers to be placed into the river and help track the movement of platypus which have had transponders attached. Dalgety, NSW, Austra...
Scientist about to bang star picket stakes into rivers to which a fyke net will be secured. This net will then used to try and capture Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) Mitta Mitta River, Dartmouth,... - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Scientist about to bang star picket stakes into rivers to which a fyke net will be secured. This net will then used to try and capture Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) Mitta Mitta River, Dartmouth,...
Freshwater ecologist banging a star picket stake into the river to which a Fyke net will be secured. This net will then used to try and capture platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) for research, Mitta... - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Freshwater ecologist banging a star picket stake into the river to which a Fyke net will be secured. This net will then used to try and capture platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) for research, Mitta...
Field volunteer Grant Purcell shows how to place a weighted radio receiver into a river to help track the movement of platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) which have had transponders attached. Mitta Mi... - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Field volunteer Grant Purcell shows how to place a weighted radio receiver into a river to help track the movement of platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) which have had transponders attached. Mitta Mi...
Platypus researcher holding a young female Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) just before releasing it back into a stream. Warburton, Victoria, Australia. October, 2018. Model release supplied. - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Platypus researcher holding a young female Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) just before releasing it back into a stream. Warburton, Victoria, Australia. October, 2018. Model release supplied.
Platypus researcher retrieving a Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) from a Fyke net that was set up to capture and help monitor the local population. McMahons Creek, Yarra Ranges, Victoria, Australia... - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Platypus researcher retrieving a Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) from a Fyke net that was set up to capture and help monitor the local population. McMahons Creek, Yarra Ranges, Victoria, Australia...
Young Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) released onto a log in McMahons Creek, Yarra Ranges, Victoria, Australia. Controlled conditions . September. - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Young Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) released onto a log in McMahons Creek, Yarra Ranges, Victoria, Australia. Controlled conditions . September.
Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) just released onto a log in Little Yarra River, Yarra junction, Victoria, Australia. April 2018. Controlled conditions. - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) just released onto a log in Little Yarra River, Yarra junction, Victoria, Australia. April 2018. Controlled conditions.
Gill nets placed in the Snowy river to capture, examine, take measurements and place tracking devices on Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) Snowy River, Jindabyne, NSW, Australia. September, 2017. - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Gill nets placed in the Snowy river to capture, examine, take measurements and place tracking devices on Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) Snowy River, Jindabyne, NSW, Australia. September, 2017.
Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) researchers placing gill nets in the Mitta Mitta River to capture platypus. Mitta Mitta River, Darmouth, Victoria, Australia. May, 2018. Model released. - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) researchers placing gill nets in the Mitta Mitta River to capture platypus. Mitta Mitta River, Darmouth, Victoria, Australia. May, 2018. Model released.
Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) researchers placing gill nets in the Snowy river. Mitta Mitta River, Dartmouth, Victoria, Australia. May, 2018. Model released. - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) researchers placing gill nets in the Snowy river. Mitta Mitta River, Dartmouth, Victoria, Australia. May, 2018. Model released.
Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) gliding quietly in the early morning light on Lake Elizabeth, Great Otway National Park, near Forrest, Victoria, Australia, September 2018. - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) gliding quietly in the early morning light on Lake Elizabeth, Great Otway National Park, near Forrest, Victoria, Australia, September 2018.
Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) researcher cleaning and untangling gill nets. Rangers station, Thredbo, NSW, Australia - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) researcher cleaning and untangling gill nets. Rangers station, Thredbo, NSW, Australia
Researcher holding a Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) which is recovering from an in-field anesthetic. It was anaesthetised to allow a radio transponder to be glued to its tail - allowing researche... - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Researcher holding a Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) which is recovering from an in-field anesthetic. It was anaesthetised to allow a radio transponder to be glued to its tail - allowing researche...
Platypus researcher returning a platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) back into the creek where it had been captured just 30 minutes earlier. Woori Yallock Creek, Monbulk, Victoria, Australia. May, 2018... - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Platypus researcher returning a platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) back into the creek where it had been captured just 30 minutes earlier. Woori Yallock Creek, Monbulk, Victoria, Australia. May, 2018...
Two researchers rowing into the middle of the Snowy River to collect a platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) from the gill net they had set hours before. ??Snowy River, Dalgety, NSW, Australia. Septembe... - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Two researchers rowing into the middle of the Snowy River to collect a platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) from the gill net they had set hours before. ??Snowy River, Dalgety, NSW, Australia. Septembe...
Two researchers row into the middle of the Snowy River to collect a platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) from the gill net they had set hours before. Snowy River, Dalgety, NSW, Australia. September 201... - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Two researchers row into the middle of the Snowy River to collect a platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) from the gill net they had set hours before. Snowy River, Dalgety, NSW, Australia. September 201...
Scientist taking blood sample from Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) Dartmouth, Victoria, Australia. May 2018. Model release supplied. - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Scientist taking blood sample from Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) Dartmouth, Victoria, Australia. May 2018. Model release supplied.
Blood is drawn from the bill of an anaesthetised platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) it will be put into a test tube for later analysis. Snowy River, Dalgety, NSW, Australia. September 2017. Model rel... - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Blood is drawn from the bill of an anaesthetised platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) it will be put into a test tube for later analysis. Snowy River, Dalgety, NSW, Australia. September 2017. Model rel...
Blood is drawn from the bill of an anaesthetised Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) Snowy River, Dalgety, NSW, Australia. September 2017~Model release supplied. - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Blood is drawn from the bill of an anaesthetised Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) Snowy River, Dalgety, NSW, Australia. September 2017~Model release supplied.
A tick is removed for analysis from a platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) caught in the field. Dartmouth, Victoria, Australia. May 2018. - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / A tick is removed for analysis from a platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) caught in the field. Dartmouth, Victoria, Australia. May 2018.
Two researchers examine and take measurements from a young female platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) Dalgety, NSW, Australia. September, 2017.Model released. - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Two researchers examine and take measurements from a young female platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) Dalgety, NSW, Australia. September, 2017.Model released.
This mural next to the Yarra River which is a local hotspot for Platypus, and forms part of a broader 3 year 'Communities for Platypus program' in the area. Warburton, Victoria, Australia. Jun... - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / This mural next to the Yarra River which is a local hotspot for Platypus, and forms part of a broader 3 year 'Communities for Platypus program' in the area. Warburton, Victoria, Australia. Jun...
Anaesthetised Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) is readied for a radio transponder to be surgically implanted in a make-shift surgical theatre in a lounge room. This transponder will allow researche... - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Anaesthetised Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) is readied for a radio transponder to be surgically implanted in a make-shift surgical theatre in a lounge room. This transponder will allow researche...
Scientist surgically implanting Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) with radio transponder. Dartmouth, Victoria, Australia. May 2018. Model released. - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Scientist surgically implanting Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) with radio transponder. Dartmouth, Victoria, Australia. May 2018. Model released.
A platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) has a radio transponder surgically implanted by Dr Gilad Bino whilst anaesthetised in a make-shift surgical theatre in a lounge. This transponder will allow resea... - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / A platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) has a radio transponder surgically implanted by Dr Gilad Bino whilst anaesthetised in a make-shift surgical theatre in a lounge. This transponder will allow resea...
Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) undergoing surgical implantation of radio transponder Dartmouth, Victoria, Australia. May 2018. Model release. - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) undergoing surgical implantation of radio transponder Dartmouth, Victoria, Australia. May 2018. Model release.
A platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) has a radio transponder surgically implanted by Dr Gilad Bino whilst anaesthetised in a make-shift surgical theatre in a lounge. This transponder will allow resea... - Doug Gimesy
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Doug Gimesy / A platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) has a radio transponder surgically implanted by Dr Gilad Bino whilst anaesthetised in a make-shift surgical theatre in a lounge. This transponder will allow resea...
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