Venom from an eastern diamondback rattlesnake in the Everglades is distinct from the cocktail of toxins delivered by the same species in the Florida panhandle area, some 500 miles away. But no matter where you go in the Southeastern United States, the venom of the eastern coral snake is always the same. The results of a large-scale survey of venom variation in the two snake species, published in the journal GENETICS, challenge common assumptions in venom evolution research, provide crucial information for rattlesnake conservation, and will help coral snake antivenom development.
This image shows an adult eastern diamondback rattlesnake from north Florida.
Contrasting Modes and Tempos of Venom Expression Evolution in Two Snake Species Mark J. Margres, James J. McGivern, Margaret Seavy, Kenneth P. Wray, Jack Facente, and Darin R. Rokyta GENETICS January 2015, 199:165-176 doi:10.1534/genetics.114.172437
Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation (DEB 1145987)