Advertisement

Toxins and Toothcombs: Potential Allospecific Chemical Defenses in Nycticebus and Perodicticus

  • Lon Alterman
Chapter

Abstract

An oral tradition exists in Indonesia that the slow loris or coucang, Nycticebus coucang, is venomous (personal observation, also see Wilde, 1972). Few mammals are known to produce toxic compounds, and none is known to routinely use these toxins in allospecific defenses. Yet inhabitants of Kalimantan insist that the coucang protects itself from humans by using its toxic bite. Over the years there have been many accounts of bite-induced shock and prolonged edema of appendages which have been bitten, but the literature is devoid of reports identifying the source of putative toxins. If slow lorises do produce toxins which are used in defense against allospecifics then three sorts of questions might be asked. The most obvious questions are descriptive in nature. What tissue(s) is (are) the source of this venom? What is the chemical nature of putative toxins?

Keywords

Clouded Leopard Toxic Fraction Putative Toxin Formic Acid Extract Salivary Solution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature Cited

  1. Alterman, L. & Hale, M. E. (1991) Comparison of toxins from brachial gland exudates of Nycticebus coucang and N. pygmaeus. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Sup. 12, 43.Google Scholar
  2. Barrett, E. (1981) The present distribution and status of the slow loris in peninsular Malaysia. Malaysia Applied Biology, 10, 205–211.Google Scholar
  3. Barthalamus, G. T. & Zielinski, W. J. (1988) Xenopus skin mucus induces oral dyskinesias that promote escape from snakes. Pharmacology, Biochemistry & Behavior, 30, 957–959.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cartmill, M. (1972) Arboreal adaptations and the origin of the order primates. In R. Tuttle (Ed.) The Functional and Evolutionary Biology of Primates (97–122), Chicago: Aldine Atherton Inc.Google Scholar
  5. Charles-Dominique, P. (1977) Ecology & Behaviour of Nocturnal Primates. New York, Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Griffiths, M. (1978) The biology of the monotremes. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  7. Manley, G. H. (1974) Functions of the external genital glands of Perodicticus and Arctocebus. In G. A. Doyle, R. D. Martin & A. C. Walker (Eds.) Prosimian Biology (313–329) London: Duckworth Press.Google Scholar
  8. Michelsen, A. (1978) Sound reception in different environments. In M. A. Ali (Ed.) Sensory ecology: Review and perspectives (345–373) New York: Plenum Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Minton, S. A. (1990) Venomous bites by nonvenomous snakes: an annotated bibliography of colubrid envenomation. Journal of Wilderness Medicine, 1, 119–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Pearson, O. P. (1956) A toxic substance from the salivary glands of a mammal (short-tailed shrew). In E. E. Buckley & N. Porges (Eds.) Venoms (55–58), Washington, American Association for the Advancement of Science.Google Scholar
  11. Pournelle, G. H. (1968) Classification, biology and description of the venom apparatus of insectivores of the genera Solendon, Neomys, and Blarina. In W. Bücherl, E. E. Buckley, & V. Deuloffeu (Eds.) Venomous animals and their venoms (31–42) New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  12. Pucek, M. (1968) Chemistry and pharmacology of insectivore venoms. In W. Bücherl, E. E. Buckley, & V. Deuloffeu (Eds.) Venomous animals and their venoms (43–50) New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  13. Rosenberger, A. L. & Strasser, E. (1985) Toothcomb origins: support for the grooming hypothesis. Primates, 26, 73–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Simons, E. L. & Rumpler, Y. (1988) Eulemur: New generic name for species of Lemur other than Lemur catta. (sic) Comptes Rendues Academie Scientifique Paris 307, 547–551.Google Scholar
  15. Tidswell, F. (1906) Australian Venoms Sydney: Department of Public Health New South Wales.Google Scholar
  16. Weldon, P. J. & Ferguson, M. W. J. (1993) Chemoreception in crocodilians: anatomy, natural history, and empirical results. Brain, Behavior and Evolution 41, 239–245.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Wilde, H. (1972) Anaphylactic shock following bite by a slow loris: Nycticebus cougang. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 21, 592–594.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Zielinski, W. J. & Barthalmus, G. T. (1989) African clawed frog skin compounds: Antipredatory effects on African and North American water snakes. Animal Behaviour, 38, 1083–1085.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Zimmermann, E. (1985) Vocalizations and associated behaviours in adult slow loris (Nycticebus coucang). Folia Primatologica 44, 239–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lon Alterman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyClarke CollegeDubuqueUSA

Personalised recommendations