Poisonous Tiger Keelback

Discussion in 'Reptile News' started by NicG, Aug 11, 2013.

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  1. NicG

    NicG Subscriber Subscriber

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  2. wildthings

    wildthings Well-Known Member

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    Very cool, thanks :D
     
  3. Skelhorn

    Skelhorn Very Well-Known Member

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    Hahaha that is awesome!!
     
  4. NicG

    NicG Subscriber Subscriber

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    It raises a few questions, given that our Keelback is one of the few animals that can eat (young) cane toads.

    - Do all Keelbacks have the ability to 'not digest' poison, or is it something that has evolved very specifically over time with that species?
    - Does our Keelback have the capacity to store poison?
    [How long did it take them to find venom glands in monitors?]
    - Does our Keelback have the ability to disperse stored venom?

    I realize the answer to all these questions is most likely 'no', but I'm still curious ...
     
  5. Bushman

    Bushman Very Well-Known Member

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    Good questions Nic.
    Keelbacks are cosmopolitan snakes that evolved in Asia, where poisonous toads also naturally occur. So the Keelbacks evolved to deal with the poison.
    This is why our Keelback can cope with canetoads.
     
  6. longqi

    longqi Very Well-Known Member

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    and
    some asian keelbacks are dangerously venomous
    have killed adults before and will in the future
     
  7. SteveNT

    SteveNT Very Well-Known Member

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    So when we say "keelbacks" are we talking a species or a genus?
     
  8. moosenoose

    moosenoose Legendary

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    Red bellied blacks are also known to be able to do it. There is information somewhere regarding the hereditary change in head size of the RBBS with smaller headed snakes only being able to eat smaller toads thus inducing a toxin that's manageable by the snake. Larger headed red bellied blacks in toad areas are supposedly becoming scarce.

    Crows are another animal that have "worked out" and passed the information through to the next generation about what can be eaten, and what can't. Nice to know nature can adapt. But.....
     
  9. Thyla

    Thyla Well-Known Member

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    I think your on to something here. The species referred to in the article above is talking about a snake, Rhabdophis tigrinis, which comes from Japan. The keelback we Australians refer to is the Tropidonophis mairii. These snakes have evolved in isolation for as long as Australia has been detached from Asia. Australia hasn't typically had poisonous true toads so the fact that the aussie keelback is capable of dealing with the poison when almost all other native snakes cannot would indicate that all keelbacks have evolved this way. Until we discover the specific mechanism the keelback uses to accomplish this, then it's a guess as to whether this trait can easily be lost to one or more keelback species in asia in areas where it is not needed to gain an evolutionary competitive advantage. The fact that these toads were introduced to Australia only recently would suggest this trait is present in all, if not most keelback species.

    Disclaimer: The above writing is my opinion and has no scientific resources to back it up so please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
     
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