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Lesser weever fish (Echiichthys vipera Cuvier, 1829) venom is cardiotoxic but not haemorrhagic

Lookup NU author(s): Lucy Gorman, Dr Sarah Judge, Emeritus Professor John Harris, Dr Gary Caldwell



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Despite comprising over half of the biodiversity of living venomous vertebrates, fish venoms are comparatively understudied. Venom from the lesser weever fish (Echiichthys vipera syn. Trachinus vipera) has received only cursory attention despite containing one of the most potent venom toxins (trachinine). Literature records are further complicated by early studies combining the venom with that of the related greater weever (Trachinus draco). The current study used a chicken chorioallantoic membrane assay to investigate venom bioactivity following the application of measured quantities of crude venom to a major bilateral vein at 1 cm distance from the heart. The venom had a dose-dependent effect on survival rate and exhibited dose-dependent cardiotoxic properties at day six of development. Crude E. vipera triggered tachycardia at doses of 37.58 and 44.88 µg/µL and bradycardia at 77.4 µg/µL. The three highest doses (65.73, 77.4 and 151.24 µg/µL) caused significant mortality. These data also suggested intra-specific variation in E. vipera venom potency. Unlike a number of other piscine venoms, E. vipera venom was not haemorrhagic at the concentrations assayed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gorman LM, Judge SJ, Harris JB, Caldwell GS

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Toxicon

Year: 2021

Volume: 194

Pages: 63-69

Print publication date: 30/04/2021

Online publication date: 23/02/2021

Acceptance date: 15/02/2021

Date deposited: 16/02/2021

ISSN (print): 0041-0101

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2021.02.002


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