Jenner, Ronald A. Department of Life Sciences, The Natural History Museum, London, United Kingdom.
- Animal venoms are complex mixtures
- Venomous remipede crustaceans?
- Remipede venom glands express venom toxins
- The remipede toxin mix is unique
- Need for further work
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The convergent evolution of venoms across the animal kingdom is testament to their great adaptive value. Venoms play key roles in predation, defense (including defense against microorganisms), competition, and even communication in a wide variety of terrestrial and aquatic taxa, ranging from jellyfish, cone snails, spiders, scorpions, insects, and centipedes to snakes, fish, and the duck-billed platypus. Venoms are particularly common in arthropods and contribute to the biological success of tens of thousands of species of insects, scorpions, spiders, and centipedes. However, one major group of arthropods represents a glaring exception to this abundance of venomous species: the crustaceans. Although the approximately 70,000 known species of crustaceans exhibit an unparalleled diversity of body plans (including water fleas, crabs, lobsters, barnacles, and brine shrimp), none of them has been known to be venomous. However, current research has now shown that remipedes (members of the class Remipedia, including the species Speleonectes tulumensis) are the first venomous crustaceans, adding a new major animal group to the roster of venomous animals.
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