Arthropods and their Valuable Venom

Fear is what gets into the minds of most people when they hear the word “venom”. We imagine these horrible creatures that are tiny or large, but can probably kill you. Consciously or unconsciously we think of words like “toxic, poison, snake, spider, scorpion, sting, bite, sickness, death, ect.” Nevertheless, in contrast to their unwanted reputation, venom and its producers can be used to benefit mankind greatly.

Because of their venom and other special features, one of the most studied type of creatures are arthropods, specifically those which belong to the groups hymenoptera (ants, bees, and wasps) and chelicerata (spiders, scorpions, and other arachnids). Arthropods are invertebrates and they are extremely vital in the survival of many ecosystems and important for the success of agriculture.

Numerous arthropods are natural pollinators, pest controllers, and can be a supply of food, either directly or indirectly. These animals are characterized by their external skeleton (exoskeleton), segmented body, jointed appendages, jointed limbs, and cuticles. They are perhaps the most versatile and diverse animals on earth. Nearly 80% of all described living animal species belong to the group Arthropoda.

Their venomous feature has been subject of horror and wonder throughout the centuries. Spiders use fangs, centipedes use modified feet, scorpions and other similar animals use a sting, bees or wasps utilize a unique egg-laying device, some caterpillars have defensive venom glands associated with bristles on the body, and many others have adapted bodies to create and apply their venom. It is commonly known that their venom is used for defense, however, it is also employed by animals to paralyze prey and even for sterilization of pathogens.

All of these venomous arthropods contain active principles that can be used for the development of new drugs to treat diseases such as cancer, arthritis, strokes, and many others. They have active molecules that are capable of interfering in human cellular physiology, without damaging the body. This also signifies that their venom can be used widely enough to rejuvenate the body. Therefore, arthropods and their venom are a potential use in natural and composed medicine. Who knows, maybe someday they might be helping save thousands of lives. That is a more virtuous way to see venom and its producers.

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3 responses to “Arthropods and their Valuable Venom”

  1. Baroque Myriam says :

    You got me reading. I really don’t like snakes and such, and spiders…you don’t want to know. 🙂 But, it was interesting. I don’t think I’ll like them anymore though…

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