Navigation Links
Komodo even more deadly than thought: Research
Date:5/18/2009

The carnivorous reptiles (Varanus komodoensis) are known to bite prey and release them, leaving them to bleed to death from their wounds: the victims are reported to go into shock before the dragons kill and eat them.

Some researchers believe that prey are killed by pathogenic bacteria in the dragons' mouths but the new research published in the latest issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that the combination of the reptiles' teeth and venom likely accounts for their hunting prowess.

"The view that the Komodo routinely kills using dirty oral bacteria is wrong," says research co-author, Dr Stephen Wroe from the University of New South Wales, Australia. "The dragon is truly poisonous. It has modified salivary glands that deliver both hypertensive and anti-blood-clotting agents, which, in combination with lightweight but sophisticated cranial and dental adaptations, allows it to kill large animals through rapid blood loss."

The researchers used computer modeling to analyse the Komodo dragon bite and found that dragons have much weaker bites than crocodiles of a similar size. However, magnetic resonance imaging revealed the dragons have complex venom glands as well.

After surgically excising the glands from a terminally ill dragon in a zoo, the researchers used mass spectrometry to obtain a profile of the venom, finding that the toxin was similar to that of the Gila monster and many snakes. The venom causes a severe loss in blood pressure by preventing blood clotting and widening blood vessels, thus inducing shock in a victim.

The researchers also examined fossils of the giant extinct dragon relative Varanus megalania and determined that this seven-metre-long lizard was one of the largest venomous animals to have ever lived.

A member of the goanna family with ancestors dating back more than 100 million years, the Komodo dragon is the world's largest living lizard and inhabits the central Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang and Gili Dasami. It grows to an average length of two to three metres and weighs around 70 kilograms. The reptile's unusual size is attributed to a phenomenon known as island gigantism, since there are no other carnivorous mammals to fill the niche on the islands where they live.

The lizards are apex predators and dominate the ecosystems in which they live. Although Komodo dragons eat carrion, they also hunt and ambush prey including invertebrates, birds, and mammals.

The dragon's large size and fearsome reputation has made it a popular zoo exhibit since Western scientists first brought it to world attention in 1910. In the wild its total population is estimated at 4,000 to 5,000. Its range has contracted due to human activities and it is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr. Steve Wroe
s.wroe@unsw.edu.au
61-425-330-273
University of New South Wales
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Scripps research team blocks bacterial communication system to prevent deadly staph infections
2. Northwestern to expose most deadly infectious diseases in 3-D
3. Best treatment identified to reduce deadly Staph infections
4. Research unveils new hope for deadly childhood disease
5. Deadly genetic disease prevented before birth in zebrafish
6. Ayurvedic nightshade deadly for dengue mosquito
7. Sydney harbors deadly diet for sea creatures
8. New vaccine may give long-term defense against deadly bird flu and its variant forms
9. Deadly dose: Rensselaer heparin expert helps uncover source of lethal contamination
10. Deadly rugby virus spreads in sumo wrestlers
11. 15-state Southern obesity summit to focus on deadly epidemic
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/7/2017)...   MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical ... research, is pleased to announce that the latest release ... flexible and award winning eClinical solution, is now available ... is a proven Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) clinical research technology platform ... also delivers an entire suite of eClinical tools to ...
(Date:2/3/2017)... ANTONIO , Feb. 3, 2017  Texas Biomedical Research ... Dr. Larry Schlesinger as the Institute,s new ... Texas Biomed effective May 31, 2017. He is currently the ... Director of the Center for Microbial Interface Biology at Ohio ... Schlesinger as the new President and CEO of Texas Biomed," ...
(Date:2/2/2017)... 2017  Central to its deep commitment to ... The Japan Prize Foundation today announced the laureates ... the envelope in their respective fields of Life ... are being recognized with the 2017 Japan Prize ... contribute to the advancement of science and technology, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/23/2017)... 23, 2017 ... per share data, unaudited)Three Months Ended December 31,Twelve Months ... $         ...   89026%Aldurazyme Net Product Revenue ... Net Product Revenue  756025%297303(2)%Vimizim Net ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... , Feb. 23, 2017  Seattle,s upscale Capitol Hill neighborhood, ... strange place for a head lice treatment salon to set ... a Tuscan restaurant and a French bistro on E Madison ... "We aren,t just any old lice clinic, we pride ourselves ... comfortable, and release some of the stigma associated with lice. ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... , ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... (such as insulin, cortisol, CRP, adiponectin, uric acid, and/or other biomarkers or SNPs ... Insulin Assay from Salimetrics’ SalivaLab , the relationship between insulin and other ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... UK (PRWEB) , ... February 22, 2017 , ... ... optics and photonics , have been named Fellows of the Society this year, ... technical contributions in the multidisciplinary fields of optics, photonics, and imaging as well ...
Breaking Biology Technology: