Chapter 1: The ultimate nippling nipplenipplenipple. "NIPPLES!" said nipple.In the anatomy of mammals, a nipple, mammary papilla or teat is a small projection of skin containing the outlets for 15–20 lactiferous ducts arranged cylindrically around the tip. The skin of the nipple is rich in a supply of special nerves that are sensitive to certain stimuli. The physiological purpose of nipples is to deliver milk to the infant, produced in the female mammary glands during lactation.
Marsupials and eutherian mammals typically have an even number of nipples arranged bilaterally, from as few as two to as many as 19. They develop in the embryo, along the 'milk lines'. Most mammals develop multiple nipples along each milk line, with the total number approximating the maximum litter size, and half the total number (i.e. the number on one side) approximating the average litter size for that species. Monotremes, such as the platypus, lack teats; their young drink milk directly from pores in the skin (similar to sweat glands), or by sucking it off of hairs surrounding the pores.
In cetaceans such as whales, the infant cannot form a suction-seal to nurse, due to its mouth structure; the whale's nipple is therefore unlike that of any other mammal. Rather than requiring a sucking action, the discharge of milk is powered by maternal muscles. The calf takes the extended nipple into its mouth, and the mother ejects or expels her milk into the mouth of the calf.
Teats vary in size, location, and structure in different mammalian species. Teats, on occasion, become so plump and filled, milk may escape without suckling. Female goats and ewes have two teats, each with a single mammary gland, located between the…