Scientists discover how deadly centipede toxin tricks the heart into stopping cold

centipede venom

Even if you're not afraid of most insects — like ants, flies, or bees, for example — there's still a good chance you have a fear of centipedes. There's just something about them and their long chain of legs that is incredibly unsettling. Most centipedes are perfectly harmless, but some can be real terrors. The Chinese red-headed centipede belongs in the latter group, with a venomous bite that can kill creatures 15 times the insect's size, and scientists are just now beginning to understand how its powerful toxin functions.

The research, which was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was a painstaking effort to isolate the exact chemical that causes the centipede's venom to be so incredibly lethal. After testing each compound independently they finally discovered what they were looking for, and it's most definitely bad news if you're a tiny mammal.

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Scientists discover how deadly centipede toxin tricks the heart into stopping cold originally appeared on BGR.com on Tue, 23 Jan 2018 at 18:57:52 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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