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Title: Spewing Venom
Authors: Chaudhuri, Sagarika
Issue Date: Apr-2010
Publisher: CSIR
Abstract: Lethal, venomous vertebrates occupy an important niche in the ecosystem. Although their venom could even be fatal, some venoms have proved to be very important as pharmacological and biomedical compounds. Think venom and you cannot help thinking of snakes. But there are innumerable other species of animals equally capable of spewing venom and dealing a lethal blow. Originating from the Latin word Venenem meaning poison, venom can be defined as a zootoxin or a variety of poisonous substance secreted by an animal, produced by specialized glands and associated with spines, tooth or stings. It may primarily be used for killing prey or may be defensive or may even function as a digestive fluid. The venom may cause localized skin inflammation or almost instant death. But is there any difference between venomous and poisonous animals? Or are they both the same? Well, while venomous animals deliver or inject venom into their prey either while hunting or while defending themselves, poisonous animals are harmful when consumed or touched. Venom is generally produced in organs specialized for the purpose whereas poison is generally distributed over a larger part of the body of organisms producing it. Now let’s take a look at some of these venomous animals that could be equally poisonous as snakes.
Page(s): 28-33
ISSN: 0036-8512
Appears in Collections:SR Vol.47(04) [April 2010]

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