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Special Issue "Evolutionary Ecology of Venom"

A special issue of Toxins (ISSN 2072-6651). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Venoms".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2019.

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Kevin Arbuckle

Department of Biosciences, College of Science, Swansea University, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: evolutionary toxinology; macroevolution; diversification; convergent evolution; antipredator defence; herpetology; phylogenetic comparative methods

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The molecular biology, evolution, and pathology of venoms have long been fertile areas for research, particularly animal venoms of clinical significance. Some of this work has attempted to interpret biochemical and molecular evolutionary findings in the context of ecology, for instance differences in venom composition being explained by some attributes that differ between species such as diet. However, much rarer is an explicit attempt to study the evolutionary ecology of venom beyond simply using the ecological aspects as an ad hoc and post hoc explanatory framework. Venom also presents a powerful system to address broader questions in evolutionary ecology thanks to its variability at multiple scales, its broad phylogenetic distribution, and its inherently tight link to key fitness components via natural enemy interactions.

The focus of this Special Issue is on understanding how ecology shapes the evolution of venom systems and also how venom influences the ecological attributes and interactions of species. Questions and areas that have been particularly neglected will be particularly favoured and I encourage articles covering any venomous organisms, whether animal, plant, or bacteria. I look forward to editing an exciting collection of research and review articles that will help stimulate interest in the evolutionary ecology of venom.

Best wishes,

Dr. Kevin Arbuckle
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Toxins is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Natural enemy interactions
  • Coevolution
  • Ecological niche
  • Venom toxin resistance
  • Phylogenetic comparative biology
  • Venom ecological function
  • Ecology of venom systems

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Venom in Furs: Facial Masks as Aposematic Signals in a Venomous Mammal
Received: 21 December 2018 / Revised: 30 January 2019 / Accepted: 31 January 2019 / Published: 5 February 2019
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Abstract
The function of colouration in animals includes concealment, communication and signaling, such as the use of aposematism as a warning signal. Aposematism is unusual in mammals, and exceptions help us to understand its ecology and evolution. The Javan slow loris is a highly [...] Read more.
The function of colouration in animals includes concealment, communication and signaling, such as the use of aposematism as a warning signal. Aposematism is unusual in mammals, and exceptions help us to understand its ecology and evolution. The Javan slow loris is a highly territorial venomous mammal that has a distinctive facial mask and monochromatic vision. To help understand if they use aposematism to advertise their venom to conspecifics or predators with different visual systems, we studied a population in Java, Indonesia. Using ImageJ, we selected colours from the facial masks of 58 individuals, converted RBG colours into monochromatic, dichromatic and trichromatic modes, and created a contrast index. During 290 captures, we recorded venom secretion and aggressiveness. Using Non-metric Multidimensional Scaling and generalised additive models for location, scale and shape, we found that young slow lorises differ significantly from adults, being both more contrasting and more aggressive, with aggressive animals showing fewer wounds. We suggest aposematic facial masks serve multiple purposes in slow lorises based on age. Change in colouration through development may play a role in intraspecific competition, and advertise toxicity or aggressiveness to competitors and/or predators in juveniles. Aposematic signals combined with intraspecific competition may provide clues to new venomous taxa among mammals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolutionary Ecology of Venom)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview
Evolutionary Ecology of Fish Venom: Adaptations and Consequences of Evolving a Venom System
Received: 14 December 2018 / Revised: 14 January 2019 / Accepted: 18 January 2019 / Published: 22 January 2019
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Abstract
Research on venomous animals has mainly focused on the molecular, biochemical, and pharmacological aspects of venom toxins. However, it is the relatively neglected broader study of evolutionary ecology that is crucial for understanding the biological relevance of venom systems. As fish have convergently [...] Read more.
Research on venomous animals has mainly focused on the molecular, biochemical, and pharmacological aspects of venom toxins. However, it is the relatively neglected broader study of evolutionary ecology that is crucial for understanding the biological relevance of venom systems. As fish have convergently evolved venom systems multiple times, it makes them ideal organisms to investigate the evolutionary ecology of venom on a broader scale. This review outlines what is known about how fish venom systems evolved as a result of natural enemy interactions and about the ecological consequences of evolving a venom system. This review will show how research on the evolutionary ecology of venom in fish can aid in understanding the evolutionary ecology of animal venoms more generally. Further, understanding these broad ecological questions can shed more light on the other areas of toxinology, with applications across multiple disciplinary fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolutionary Ecology of Venom)
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