The most dangerous animals with poison glands

Many species of animals have glands containing toxins, called poison glands, and often have special apparatus, called vulnerable, capable of inoculating the toxin

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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The most dangerous animals with poison glands

Many species of animals have glands containing toxins, called poison glands, and often have special apparatus, called vulnerable, capable of inoculating the toxin. Arthropods include scorpions, hymenoptera and arachnids with stingers and buccal structures capable of inoculating toxins.

Bloodsucking insects use to inject saliva with anticoagulant principles before sucking blood; this operation can create allergic reactions. Among mollusks, octopuses and in particular Hapalochlaena lunulata have toxic saliva to immobilize prey and gastropods of the genus Conus have a modified sting radula that injects a very powerful peptide toxin.

Among the chondrichthyes there are various species of breeds. Among the actinopterygii the spider fish has a gland placed at the base in a spike that derives from the opercular bone and furthermore the first thirteen rays of the dorsal fin have venom glands at the base; moray eels possess toxic saliva; scorpionfish have poisonous fin rays.

In these aquatic species the toxin often has a paralyzing effect on the heart. Many amphibians and reptiles are poisonous. The former do not have vulnerable systems and it is the skin itself that contains the toxin. The poisonous species of the latter generally possess salivary glands containing toxins linked to the dentition.

Among the saurians, the genus Heloderma is poisonous, but the monitor lizards also have toxic saliva. The snakes belonging to the families of the atractaspidids, elapids and viperids are venomous, as well as a part of the colubrids.

The most poisonous species are frequent in the equatorial zone. There are no birds that produce toxins but there are some whose feathers and glands are poisonous. These birds, belonging to the genera Ifrita and Pitohui, seem to obtain, like some amphibians, their venom from particular insects they feed on.

Among mammals, the platypus which has a hollow spur connected to a venom gland in the femoral region is poisonous, as well as some species of shrews, the mole, the solenodons and the bloodsucking or vampire bats that possess toxic saliva.

A zootoxin is any toxin produced by animals. It is commonly called poison and the animal that produces it poisonous animal even if often the mechanism of action is different from that of common poisons. Zootoxins can be found in the blood, muscles, liver, or processed by specialized glands.

In some species, the toxin remains inside the body, in others it is used for defensive or predatory purposes. Not all animals are equally toxic throughout their lives and in some cases the production of toxins varies according to the time of year.

Two types of zootoxins can be distinguished by method of administration and three categories of animals according to the structures to which the toxin itself is associated.