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

  • Lon Alterman


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?


Clouded Leopard Toxic Fraction Putative Toxin Formic Acid Extract Salivary Solution 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

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

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