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Posted by WW on March 10, 2003 at 03:33:02:

In Reply to: Duvernoy's.... posted by dryguy on March 08, 2003 at 16:55:53:

:Duvernoy's glands, in the vast majority of Colubrids, are the equivalent of "tits on a boar hog"...

I rather doubt that. By and large, nature is a very parsimonious little madam - unnecessary features which consume energy and reduce fitness are soon lost - there are even almost non-venomous sea snakes (Emydocephalus), which secondarily lost their venom apparatus after switching to fish eggs...

:Bubba had a full mouth grip, with excellent purchase with his teeth, for at least 15 seconds, on the below said thumb....No evidence of anything other than the bite...No swelling, erythema, or any other sign of toxic substance...A series of "one" does not a scientific case make, but if his saliva had any toxicity, it should have been apparent on me!!

:I doubt they have the "selectivity" of "dry"(Gee, sometimes I crack myself up!) vs envemonating bites as do the advanced killing apparatti of Vipers and some Elapids...

:Perhaps WW would chime in on this subject?...Nice thought and interesting subject material, dude...'Que bueno...CG

I don't have any info on Drymarchon at hand, but I rather suspect that they do have a Duvernoy's gland, and I also suspect that the Duvernoy's gland contains more nasties than you might think. There are a number of perfectly harmless (clinically, that is, as evidenced by innumerable asymptomatic bites to humans) colubrids out there that have some surprisingly potent toxins in their Duvernoy's glands, including some with lethality levels that would put many an elapid to shame.

We know next to nothing about what these snakes actually *DO* with these secretions, except that they obviously don't use them with any effect in defensive behaviour against humans. We don't know whether or how secretion and injection is controlled, nor what governs the quantity injected. Really, colubrid venoms and what they do with them is an almost totally unexplored frontier in herpetology, one that we are only now starting to encroach on.

Cheers,

Wolfgang


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