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Re: Dendrelaphis & Stegonotus info (BGF?) *pics*

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Posted by Gernot Vogel on October 16, 2002 at 10:10:12:

In Reply to: Re: Dendrelaphis & Stegonotus info (BGF?) *pics* posted by BGF on October 15, 2002 at 21:02:54:

I’m wondering a bit about the tone here, so I may introduce.
I made my PhD in chemistry, mostly on snake venoms. I published two books about taxonomy (You might know “the Snakes of Sumatra”) and about 20 articles, also most of them in peer reviewed journals. What kind of qualification do you need to answer in this group.
I think the discussion here is of academic interest. As I’m chemist, I will give you an example to make clear what I mean: If you want to buy NaCl (cooking salt) in the German chemical supply, it will be very difficult as a private person. Cooking salt has a warning sign of being minor poisonous. If somebody might find a cup, written NaCl on it, in the kitchen of this girlfriend, and he posts the question in a newsgroup, weather this is poison or not, you are right to say yes it is. But this is not the thing he wanted to know.
See the example with the Spalerosophis. Your last statement:
“For commonly kept animals such as those that have been chewing on people asymptomatically for years (with effects being rare exceptions) then its ridiculous to apply the venomous standard to them.”

::I posted these on the basis of literature for Stegonotus. I just checked O´Shea 1996. He considered these snakes as non-venomous. So please contact him.

:Mark is a very very good generalised herpetologist but is not the end all. With very few exceptions, virtually all colubrids have duvernoy's glands. This is an area I have been actively researching and have a number of articles coming out in peer reviewed international scientific journals documenting the toxic sections and the individual components from a wide array of colubrids. Stegonotus was one of the genera examined. Included in these articles is the molecular phylogeny and evolution of the toxins (ie where they came from and where they are going).

::I’m more in the genus Dendrelaphis myself, as I published two articles on this genus. I could cite a lot of references saying these snakes are aglyph, meaning not rear-fanged.

:As Wolfgang already pointed out, aglyph is an irrelevant, meaningless descriptions that should be dropped entirely. It has no bearing upon the composition of toxins, yield or ability to deliver them.

:> Boulenger showed a drawing of the teeth in his Catalogue, I counted the teeth for my publication in 1999. I never heard of a case of envenoming by this genus and surely nobody was seriously injured by them.

:Whether or not there are documented clinical cases is also irrelevant. This does not mean that they do not have toxins and can not deliver them.

::I just tried to help some people with there questions. I did not know, that I´m bothering someone with this.

:You made empirical statements about an area that you know little about.

:> Do you think the people will be careful with a Rhabdophis or Thelotornis, if you tell them, every snake is poisonous?

:I'm less concerned about them being careful with the well documented dangerous snakes, only a fool would disregard clinical reports of severe envenomation, but am more concerned about them treating unknown colubrids as non-venomous. Due to the startling nature of our finds, we now treat every new colubrid as life threatening until we have our own research data to back it up. Some of the species we are working on (and which are sold in pet stores) have actually come up as being as neurotoxic as sea snakes and having considerable venom yields!!

::Could you please post me your name?

:Dr. Bryan Grieg Fry
:Australian Venom Research Unit
:Department of Pharmacology
:University of Melbourne
:Parkville, Vic


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