Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Jun 2;106(22):8969-74. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0810883106. Epub 2009 May 18.

A central role for venom in predation by Varanus komodoensis (Komodo Dragon) and the extinct giant Varanus (Megalania) priscus.

Author information

  • 1Venomics Research Laboratory, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia. bgf@unimelb.edu.au

Abstract

The predatory ecology of Varanus komodoensis (Komodo Dragon) has been a subject of long-standing interest and considerable conjecture. Here, we investigate the roles and potential interplay between cranial mechanics, toxic bacteria, and venom. Our analyses point to the presence of a sophisticated combined-arsenal killing apparatus. We find that the lightweight skull is relatively poorly adapted to generate high bite forces but better adapted to resist high pulling loads. We reject the popular notion regarding toxic bacteria utilization. Instead, we demonstrate that the effects of deep wounds inflicted are potentiated through venom with toxic activities including anticoagulation and shock induction. Anatomical comparisons of V. komodoensis with V. (Megalania) priscus fossils suggest that the closely related extinct giant was the largest venomous animal to have ever lived.

PMID:
19451641
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2690028
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (4)Free text

Fig. 1.
Fig. 2.
Fig. 3.
Fig. 4.
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk