Navigation Links
Nonvenomous Asian snakes 'borrow' defensive poison from toxic toads

Most snakes are born with poisonous bites they use for defense. But what can non-poisonous snakes do to ward off predators?

What if they could borrow a dose of poison by eating toxic toads, then recycling the toxins?

That's exactly what happens in the relationship between an Asian snake and a species of toad, according to a team of researchers funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS).

Herpetologists Deborah Hutchinson, Alan Savitzky of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., and colleagues published results of research on the snake's dependence on certain toads in this week's online issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Hutchinson studied the Asian snake Rhabdophis tigrinus and its relationship to a species of toxic toad it eats. In the PNAS paper, she and co-authors describe dietary sequestration of toxins by the snakes. The process allows the snakes to store toxins from the toads in their neck glands. When under attack, the snakes re-release the poisons from these neck glands.

Many invertebrates sequester dietary toxins for use in defense, including milkweed insects and sea slugs. But vertebrate examples of toxin sequestration, especially from vertebrate prey, are rare. "A snake that's dependent on a diet of toads for chemical defense is highly unusual," said Hutchinson.

Hutchinson said the research had identified six compounds in the snakes that may hold promise in medical treatments for people suffering from hypertension and related blood pressure disorders.

The researchers made their case by testing Rhabdophis tigrinus on several Japanese islands, one with a large population of the toxic toads and another with none, and compared them with snakes from the Japanese island of Honshu, where toads are few. The presence of toxins in the snakes' neck glands depended upon their access to the toads.

Snakes without the borrowed toxins were more likely to turn and flee from danger than to hold their ground and perform a toxin-releasing defensive maneuver.

"Sequestration of toxins in a specialized [neck gland] structure in a vertebrate is a remarkable finding," said William Zamer, IOS deputy director at NSF. "This finding offers new insights into the complex mechanisms underlying ecological relationships and will lead to important insights about fundamental biological questions."


'"/>

Source:National Science Foundation


Related biology news :

1. Cousin of Asian super termite invades Florida
2. Asian immigrants in NYC not receiving HIV education at religious institutions
3. Genetic analysis of Asian elephants in India reveals some surprises
4. Hepatitis B accounts for 40 percent of missing Asian women
5. Green tea and the Asian Paradox
6. Scientists to track impact of Asian dust and pollution on clouds, weather, climate change
7. Researchers reveal secrets of flying snakes
8. The very defensive caterpillar
9. Mutation in clams protects against paralytic shellfish poisoning but raises human health risk
10. Fluoride poisoning in China due to clay, not coal
11. CU, USDA team to curb two invasive, poisonous vines
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/3/2017)... 2017  Data captured by IsoCode, IsoPlexis ... a statistically significant association between the potency ... and objective response of cancer patients post-treatment. ... whether cancer patients will respond to CAR-T ... as to improve both pre-infusion potency testing and ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... CHICAGO , March 29, 2017  higi, the ... ecosystem in North America , today ... Partners and the acquisition of EveryMove. The new investment ... extensive set of tools to transform population health activities ... and lifestyle data. higi collects and secures ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... , Mar 24, 2017 Research and Markets ... System Market Analysis & Trends - Industry Forecast to 2025" ... ... grow at a CAGR of around 15.1% over the next decade ... industry report analyzes the market estimates and forecasts for all the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 2017 , ... BioMedGPS announces expanded coverage of SmartTRAK Business ... US Hemostats & Sealants. , SmartTRAK’s US Market for Hemostats and Sealants module ... and biologic sealants used in surgical applications. BioMedGPS estimates the market will grow ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, ... ... ) has launched Rosalind™, the first-ever genomics analysis platform specifically designed for ... complexity. Named in honor of pioneering researcher Rosalind Franklin, who made a ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... The ... endogenous context, enabling overexpression experiments and avoiding the use of exogenous expression plasmids. ... is transformative for performing systematic gain-of-function studies. , This complement to loss-of-function ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical ... place on 7th and 8th June 2018 in San Francisco, CA. The Summit brings ... well as several distinguished CEOs, board directors and government officials from around the world ...
Breaking Biology Technology: