The venomous Green Bush Viper (Atheris squamigera) from Cameroon. Image: Benjamin Tapley
Why some snakes are deadlier than others - life science news

Scientists have found out why some snakes have highly poisonous venom, whereas others do not, and why there are such huge differences in the quantities of venom stored in the venom glands.

Following analyses of over 100 snake species, it appeared that venoms evolved to become more potent against animals that are closely related to the prey the snakes typically eat. Also, the difference in venom storage may be related to the probability a snake will encounter a prey. Therefore, storage is particularly important in the big terrestrial species, and less so in aquatic or species or species living in trees that frequently encounter prey.

Thus, snake venom evolved in the context of the prey they eat and the environment they live in.

Read the full story: Trinity College Dublin
Scientific publication: Ecology Letters