Reptile Ravings

     

 Brown Snakes Make Different Venoms Across Their Lifetime

Tuesday, September 19, 2017
It’s spring in Australia and that means reptiles are starting to move about again. Including snakes.

The venom of the eastern brown snake (Pseudonaja textilis) is, drop for drop, one of the most potent of any venoms tested on laboratory mice.

Venoms work by targeting the bitten animal with deadly chemicals. And our recent research shows toxins in the venom of eastern brown snakes change as the snakes grow from juveniles to adults. It’s the first example of a significant age-related change in venom from an Australian snake.

It’s a beautiful example of evolutionary adaption, in which the chemistry of the snake’s venom appears to change in parallel with its diet.

Read more here.

Author:  Timothy N W Jackson, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Australian Venom Research Unit, University of Melbourne

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