Sunday, 27 October 2013

First venomous crustacean found

Experts have found the first venomous crustacean - a centipede-like creature that lives in underwater caves.

The blind "remipede" liquefies its prey with a compound similar to that found in a rattlesnake's fangs.

It lives in underwater caves of the Caribbean, Canary Islands and Western Australia, feeding on other crustaceans.

The venom contains a complex cocktail of toxins, including enzymes and a paralysing agent.

The findings are detailed in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.

The remipede (Speleonectes tulumensis) breaks down body tissues with its venom and then sucks out a liquid meal from its prey's exoskeleton.

Continued

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