Why do spiders have such potent venom?

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Ian F

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Why do spiders have such potent venom?
« on: 11/04/2010 23:30:03 »
Ian F  asked the Naked Scientists:
Hi team,

Why have certain spiders evolved poison so powerful, one bite can kill a large mammal like a cow? Most spiders feed on other insects and so it seems venom many times weaker would have the same rapid and deadly effect. But there must be a perfectly good reason as nothing of this nature evolves by accident.

Can you help?


Ian Farr

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 11/04/2010 23:30:03 by _system »


Offline RD

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Why do spiders have such potent venom?
« Reply #1 on: 12/04/2010 05:28:07 »
Maybe they are descended from spider species which attacked bigger prey, and still retain the venomousness ...



[That's giant spider eating a bird, not "giant-spider-eating-bird"].

or the potent venom could be a defence against bigger creatures who eat spiders.
« Last Edit: 12/04/2010 05:42:57 by RD »