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Happy Fun Science Friday – First Venomous Crustacean

Happy Fun Science Friday everyone! After a busy semester I hope to get into the regular groove of Fun Science Friday posts.

This week I bring you the first and only known venomous crustacean, the remipede Speleonectes tulumensis.

Remipede

A remipede (Speleonectes tanumekes). Credit: Joris van der Ham

These crustaceans were first discovered in the 1980s and suspected to be venomous after documentation that behind their jaws, they had a pair of sharp, hollow-tipped fangs that were connected to glands.  This was a strong indication that the fangs were being used to inject a chemical into prey, though it was never proven…. Until now!  Step forward Bjorn von Reumont, from the Natural History Museum in London, whose team  thoroughly described the fangs and characterized the cocktail of toxins in the venom of S. tulumensis.

Before reading about this creature it never occurred to me that were no known venomous crustaceans. Admittedly I could never think of an example of a venomous crustacean, however, I just assumed there were plenty of weird ones out there, whose names had never crossed my mental path. Ya know, the whole absence of evidence not being the evidence of absence.

Anywho, I am pleased to report that the first venomous crustacean has been described and now my mind can rest easy knowing one exists.  Learn more about this creature here:

http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/10/22/of-70000-crustacean-species-heres-the-first-venomous-one/

Or read the actual science article describing this species here:

http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/10/16/molbev.mst199

Happy Fun Science Friday all!! :D

Shout out to Jamie Wagner for bringing this to my attention!