BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Many species of fish can produce some of the most powerful toxins that can harm both humans or other creatures. However, researchers discovered a new fish venom which might actually be useful. They hope to use the toxin to develop new types of painkillers.
The potentially useful toxin is found in the venomous fang blenny. The small fish warns the other creatures about its venom by displaying an array of bright colors on its body. It usually swims around coral reefs in the Pacific, mostly near the Australian coast and the Great Barrier Reef. However, as small as it is, as dangerous it can be.
The blenny injects its prey with the analgesic venom
Two big teeth on its lower jaw are the responsible with catching and biting the prey, and then poisoning them with the venom. The bite of the blenny is not devoid of peculiarities, since it is completely painless. The prey feels no pain, since the venom released by the little fish contain opioids which act as analgesics.
Researchers described the uniqueness of the venom residing in the little fangs. The opioid peptides found in the toxin are similar to morphine or heroin. Therefore, it causes the release of pain, instead of producing it. Also, the prey gets drugged on the venom. It becomes slower and dizzy, and thus easier to catch.
All these researchers teamed up and developed a study in which deals with the analysis of venomous fang blenny fish. The study was published in the Current Biology journal and, if you are curious, you can read it here.
Using the venom for medicine
Bryan Fry, researcher from the University of Queensland, Australia, and one of the authors of the study, explained that the venom of the blenny could have many applications in the medical field. For instance, they could develop a more effective painkiller by using the opioid peptides present in the venom.
This means that we should protect the environment in which the venomous fang blenny lives. The Great Barrier Reef is in danger, and destroying this habitat would mean destroying the chance to use the miraculous venom to develop new and effective drugs. Besides, the conservation of all the species is important, since the extinction of one species can have a powerful impact on the entire ecosystem.
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