Ontogenetic changes in the venom of the snake Lachesis muta stenophrys (bushmaster) from Costa Rica

A comparative study was performed on some enzymatic and toxic activities of venoms collected from newborn, one-year old, two-years old and adult (more than five-years old) specimens of Lachesis muta stenophrys. There was an increase in lethal, hemorrhagic, edema-forming, myotoxic, proteolytic and ph...

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Main Authors: Gutiérrez, José María, Ávila Agüero, Claudio, Camacho Mora, Zianne, Lomonte, Bruno
Format: Artículo
Language: Inglés
Published: 2016
Subjects:
Online Access: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/004101019090080Q
http://hdl.handle.net/10669/29159
Summary: A comparative study was performed on some enzymatic and toxic activities of venoms collected from newborn, one-year old, two-years old and adult (more than five-years old) specimens of Lachesis muta stenophrys. There was an increase in lethal, hemorrhagic, edema-forming, myotoxic, proteolytic and phospholipase A2 activities of venoms as snakes aged. The venom of newborn specimens was almost devoid of toxicity. On the other hand, venom from newborn specimens showed the highest coagulant effect of human plasma. Electrophoretic and immunochemical results demonstrated conspicuous differences between venoms of different ages. Observations on the feeding behavior indicated that specimens of L. muta of different ages displayed a similar pattern, characterized by rapid strike and bite, holding the prey until they stopped their movements and swallowing them afterwards. It is concluded that venom of newborn L. muta has very low toxic and proteolytic activities and that it undergoes conspicuous changes during the first year of life.