Next Article in Journal
Calcination Improves the In Vivo Efficacy of a Montmorillonite Clay to Bind Aflatoxin G1 in Broiler Chickens: A Toxicokinetic Approach
Previous Article in Journal
Immunotoxin Screening System: A Rapid and Direct Approach to Obtain Functional Antibodies with Internalization Capacities
Open AccessArticle

Gradual and Discrete Ontogenetic Shifts in Rattlesnake Venom Composition and Assessment of Hormonal and Ecological Correlates

1
Department of Biological Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32304, USA
2
School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
3
Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
4
Department of Integrative Biology, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33620, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Joint lead authors.
Toxins 2020, 12(10), 659; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12100659
Received: 18 August 2020 / Revised: 7 October 2020 / Accepted: 13 October 2020 / Published: 16 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
Ontogenetic shifts in venom occur in many snakes but establishing their nature as gradual or discrete processes required additional study. We profiled shifts in venom expression from the neonate to adult sizes of two rattlesnake species, the eastern diamondback and the timber rattlesnake. We used serial sampling and venom chromatographic profiling to test if ontogenetic change occurs gradually or discretely. We found evidence for gradual shifts in overall venom composition in six of eight snakes, which sometimes spanned more than two years. Most chromatographic peaks shift gradually, but one quarter shift in a discrete fashion. Analysis of published diet data showed gradual shifts in overall diet composition across the range of body sizes attained by our eight study animals, while the shifts in abundance of different prey classes varied in form from gradual to discrete. Testosterone concentrations were correlated with the change in venom protein composition, but the relationship is not strong enough to suggest causation. Venom research employing simple juvenile versus adult size thresholds may be failing to account for continuous variation in venom composition lifespan. Our results imply that venom shifts represent adaptive matches to dietary shifts and highlight venom for studies of alternative gene regulatory mechanisms. View Full-Text
Keywords: ontogeny; size-structured population; Crotalus horridus; Crotalus adamanteus; testosterone; venom ontogeny; size-structured population; Crotalus horridus; Crotalus adamanteus; testosterone; venom
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Schonour, R.B.; Huff, E.M.; Holding, M.L.; Claunch, N.M.; Ellsworth, S.A.; Hogan, M.P.; Wray, K.; McGivern, J.; Margres, M.J.; Colston, T.J.; Rokyta, D.R. Gradual and Discrete Ontogenetic Shifts in Rattlesnake Venom Composition and Assessment of Hormonal and Ecological Correlates. Toxins 2020, 12, 659.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Search more from Scilit
 
Search
Back to TopTop