The mechanism of venom secretion from Duvernoy's gland of the snake Thamnophis sirtalis

David W. Jansen, Robert Foehring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The venom glands of snakes of the families Elapidae and Viperidae are thought to have evolved from Duvernoy's gland of colubrid ancestors. In highly venomous snakes elements of the external adductor musculature of the jaw insert fibers directly onto the capsule of the venom gland. These muscles, upon contraction, cause release of contents by increasing intraglandular pressure. In Thamnophis sirtalis, a colubrid, there is no direct connection between Duvernoy's gland and the adductor musculature. The anatomical arrangement of the gland, skull, adductor muscles, and the integument is such that contraction of the muscles may facilitate emptying of the gland. This hypothesis was tested by electrical stimulation of the muscles, which resulted in significantly greater release of secretion than elicited by controls. The results suggest a possible early step in the evolution of a more intimate association between venom glands and adductor musculature in highly venomous snakes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-277
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Morphology
Volume175
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1983
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Colubridae
Thamnophis
Snakes
Venoms
venoms
Muscle Contraction
snakes
muscle contraction
secretion
Elapidae
Muscles
Snake Venoms
Viperidae
Jaw
Skull
Electric Stimulation
Capsules
muscles
integument
jaws

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Developmental Biology

Cite this

The mechanism of venom secretion from Duvernoy's gland of the snake Thamnophis sirtalis. / Jansen, David W.; Foehring, Robert.

In: Journal of Morphology, Vol. 175, No. 3, 01.01.1983, p. 271-277.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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