List of venomous animals
Numerous animal species naturally produce chemical toxins which are used to kill or incapacitate prey or as a defense against predators. Venomous animals deliver these toxins as venom through a bite, sting, or other specially evolved mechanism.
Venoms have evolved to serve a wide variety of purposes. Their intended effects can range from mild fleeting discomfort to paralysis and death, and they may be highly selective in which species they target, often making them harmless to all but a few specific co-evolved organisms. Because the definition of "venomous" can be extremely broad, this list includes only those animals with venom that is known or suspected to be medically significant for humans or domestic animals.
Strictly speaking, all spiders and scorpions possess venom, though only a handful are dangerous to humans. Spiders typically deliver their venom with a bite from piercing, fang-like chelicerae; scorpions sting their victims with a long, curved stinger mounted on the telson.
- Australian funnel-web spiders (Atrax and Hadronyche spp.)
- Brazilian wandering spiders (Phoneutria fera and Phoneutria nigriventer)
- All widow spiders (Latrodectus spp.), including the black widows, button spiders, Australian redback spider (L. hasseltii), and the endangered katipo of New Zealand (L. katipo)
- False black widows (Steatoda spp.)
- All recluse spiders (Loxosceles spp.), including the brown recluse (L. reclusa) and Chilean recluse (L. laeta)
- Macrothele spp.
- Mouse spiders (Missulena spp.)
- Sicarius spp.
- Hexophthalma spp.
- A few species of tarantula (in addition to chelicerae, some also have urticating hairs)
- Many species of centipede
- The remipede Xibalbanus tulumensis is a centipede-like crustacean with a long segmented body and scores of legs which display a swimming motion. They live in underground anchialine caves of Mexico and Central America. Although blind, they are formidable predators, and feed on the shrimp that share their underground pools.
- Jellyfish sting using microscopic cells called nematocysts, which are capsules full of venom expelled through a microscopic lance. Contact with a jellyfish tentacle can trigger millions of nematocysts to pierce the skin and inject venom.
- Some hydrozoans, including the Portuguese Man o' War (Physalia physalis)
- Sea anemones
- Some corals
Many species of octopus, squid, and cuttlefish make use of venom when hunting their prey.
- The blue-ringed octopodes (Hapalochlaena spp.) produce tetrodotoxin, which is extremely toxic to even the healthiest adult humans, though the number of actual fatalities they have caused is far lower than the number caused by spiders and snakes, with which human contact is more common.
There are at least 1,200 species of venomous fish, including:
- Stonefishes (Synanceia spp.)
- Lionfishes (Pterois spp.)
- Toadfishes (Daector and Thalassophryne spp.)
- Rabbitfishes (Siganus spp.)
- Goblinfishes (Glyptauchen panduratus and Inimicus spp.)
- Cockatoo waspfish (Ablabys taenianotus)
- Striped blenny (Meiacanthus grammistes)
- Weevers (Echiichthys vipera and Trachinus spp.)
- Dogfish sharks
- Most stingrays
- A few catfish species have venomous "stings" behind their fins, including:
- Mambas (Dendroaspis spp.), including the black mamba (D. polylepis)
- Boomslang (Dispholidus typus)
- All true cobras (Naja spp.), including the Indian cobra (Naja naja)
- King cobra (Ophiophagus hannah)
- Kraits (Bungarus spp.), including the common krait (Bungarus caeruleus)
- Lanceheads (Bothrops spp.), including the fer-de-lance (B. lanceolatus) and the terciopelo (B. asper)
- Bushmasters (Lachesis spp.)
- Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix) and cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus)
- Coral snakes (Micrurus, Leptomicrurus, and Micruroides spp.)
- Death adders (Acanthophis spp.)
- Belcher's sea snake (Hydrophis belcheri)
- Dubois' sea snake (Aipysurus duboisii)
- Eastern brown snake (Pseudonaja textilis)
- Inland taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus)
- Coastal taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus)
- Russell's viper (Daboia russelii)
- Most rattlesnakes (Crotalus and Sistrurus spp.)
- Saw-scaled viper (Echis carinatus)
- Tiger snakes (Notechis spp.)
- Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum)
- Mexican beaded lizard (Heloderma horridum)
- Some members of the genus Varanus, such as the Komodo dragon (V. komodoensis), perentie (V. giganteus) and lace monitor (V. varius).
Only a few modern mammal species are capable of producing venom; they are likely the last living examples of what was once a more common trait among the mammals. The definition of "venomous" becomes less distinct here, however, and whether some species are truly venomous is still disputed.
- European mole (Talpa europaea)
- Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)[a]
- Eurasian water shrew (Neomys fodiens)
- Mediterranean water shrew (Neomys anomalus)
- Northern short-tailed shrew (Blarina brevicauda)
- Southern short-tailed shrew (Blarina carolinensis)[disputed]
- Elliot's short-tailed shrew (Blarina hylophaga)[disputed]
- Both species of solenodon, the Cuban solenodon (Solenodon cubanus) and the Hispaniolan solenodon (S. paradoxus)
- Slow loris (Nycticebus spp.)[disputed]
- The venom is produced only by the male and only during the breeding season.
- Funnel-web Spiders Archived 27 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine. at the Australian Museum, Sydney
- Jone SC. "Ohio State University Fact Sheet: Brown Recluse Spider". Archived from the original on 2012-07-16. Retrieved 2006-09-02.
- "Poisonous Animals: Scorpion (Scorpiones)". library.thinkquest.org. ThinkQuest. c. 2000. Archived from the original on 4 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-16.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 March 2012. Retrieved 2014-12-03.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 February 2009. Retrieved 10 February 2009.
- Grady, Denise Venom Runs Thick in Fish Families, Researchers Learn New York Times 22 August 2006.
- Ternay, A. "Dangerous and Venomous Aquarium Fish" (PDF). fishchannel.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 July 2014.
- Gianechini, F.A., Agnolín, F.L. and Ezcurra, M.D. (2010). "A reassessment of the purported venom delivery system of the bird-like raptor Sinornithosaurus." Paläontologische Zeitschrift, in press. doi:10.1007/s12542-010-0074-9