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No. 40: Jul-Aug 1985

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Glitch in the evolution of funnelweb spider venom?

The Australian funnelweb spider has a venom that appears to be effective only against humans, monkeys, baby rats, and fruit flies. None of these animals is normally on the spider's menu; those prey that are seem unaffected by the venom. Did the evolution of the poison miss its intended targets or did the spider's usual prey evolve resistance? It is interesting that mature rats are immune to the venom, although neonatal rats are not.

(Anonymous; "Did You Know?" Ex Ni hilo, 7:16, no. 3, 1985.) Facts taken from The Australian Doctor, January 20, 1984.)

From Science Frontiers #40, JUL-AUG 1985. 1985-2000 William R. Corliss