Send to

Choose Destination
Phys Rev Lett. 2011 May 13;106(19):198103. Epub 2011 May 12.

Tears of venom: hydrodynamics of reptilian envenomation.

Author information

Anatomical Laboratory, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Massachusetts, Lowell, Massachusetts 01854, USA.


In the majority of venomous snakes, and in many other reptiles, venom is conveyed from the animal's gland to the prey's tissue through an open groove on the surface of the teeth and not through a tubular fang. Here we focus on two key aspects of the grooved delivery system: the hydrodynamics of venom as it interacts with the groove geometry, and the efficiency of the tooth-groove-venom complex as the tooth penetrates the prey's tissue. We show that the surface tension of the venom is the driving force underlying the envenomation dynamics. In so doing, we explain not only the efficacy of the open groove, but also the prevalence of this mechanism among reptiles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Physical Society
Loading ...
Support Center