Envenom; poisonous desert animals

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Documentary of naturally occuring toxic delivery systems.

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  • ENVENOc

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  • published by m. hill for gr 601 type systems

    taught online by carolina de bartolo spring 2009

    academy of art university, san francisco, ca

    printing by m. hill with an hp 9500 color printer

    binding by danya winterman, the key printing and

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    CONTENTsix 1 1 3 1 5 1 6 3 90 93

  • survival the desert environment.

    INTRODUCTIONTh e southwestern United States has a fascinating diversity of vegetation

    and wildlife, much of which has evolved to survive under very hostile

    environmental conditions. For the rst time visitor from a more temperate

    climate, the landscape appears completely alien. Cacti, mesquite trees, and

    creosote bushes are the common trees to be found. Many familiar species like

    oak trees have adapted to hot dry weather with smaller structures using water

    conserving systems. Th e Mojave landscape is host to a variety of dreaded,

    venomous and poisonous animals that have each evolved certain specialized

    defense systems for their

  • especially the Mojave.

    A bite is a wound received from the mouth, in particular, the teeth, fangs

    or sometimes the stinger of an animal, including humans. Animals often

    strike or bite in self-defense, in an attempt to predate food, as well as part

    of normal interactions. Other bite attacks may be apparently unprovoked.

    Bites are usually distinguished by the type of creature causing the wound.

    Many di erent creatures are known to bite or to strike at humans. Th e result

    of this type of injury is typically survived, unless the animal that is striking

    has an exceptional envenomous delivery system.

    Just exactly where are these animals to be found? How dangerous are they?

    How likely are you to encounter them? What should you do if you have

    a bad encounter? Is everything in the Southwest considered venomous

    or poisonous? How can you know what is and whats not? Encounters with

    venomous or poisonous animals should be cherished and enjoyed safely

    be it in the home, back yard, or when out hiking or camping. All of these

    animals are an integral part of the Mojave ecosystem which is a desert

    biome. The desert biome displays considerable variation,

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    MOJAVE VENOM

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    Th e Mojave animals live in what strikes many humans as an oppressive

    environment. Th e solar energy that all green plants convert into food fuels

    life here. Although in most ecosystems animals, like plants compete for food

    from sunlight, here many are adapted venom use to survive as they minimize

    the e ects of too much energy from the constant solar rays.

    An ecosystem is de ned as biotic community together within its physical

    environment, considered as an integrated unit. Implied here is the concept of

    a structural and functional whole uni ed through life processes.

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    Th e ecosystem of the Mojave is characterized

    as a distinctly viable unit of desert community

    and interactive habitats with unique venomous

    delivery systems. Th ese systems are hierarchical

    and can be viewed as nested sets of open systems

    in which physical, chemical, and biological

    processes form interactive subsystems.

    Awareness of how an animal is likely to behave

    can take the fear out of an encounter and help to

    keep everybody safe. Most importantly, learning

    about venomous and poisonous animals can lead

    surviving a potential deadly situation.

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    : Insect bites may deliver infection.

    : Animal bites may transmit disease.

    : A bite may cause bodily injury.

    : 80% of animal bites are from unknown sources.

    : Any animal with claws or teeth may bite.

    : An animal bite can in ict life-long illnesses.

    mo

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    average annual hospitalization for wild mojave animal bites

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    by Mojave anim

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    1-1. This chart shows the average annual hospitalization for animal bite victims

    Venomous bites are usually

    named by the type of animal

    that causes the wound such

    as a bee sting or snake bite.

  • There are few desert variables including intense

    heat, varying elevation, moisture, sand and soil

    composition, exposure to ultraviolet rays and

    wind patterns that create specific kinds of living

    conditions for many plants and animals. Nature

    and habitats dont have hard boundaries and

    often overlap. Different kinds of habitats within

    a short distance of each frequently occur in

    the Mojave region. The vastness of the Mojave

    spans the areas of lower Nevada and southern

    California, Utah and the upper most part of

    Arizona. The Mojave waters rarely come above

    ground. Usually, the river and basin f lows can

    be seen in secluded upper canyon regions. This

    is prime territory for venomous animals and to

    protect their rights to live, many have adapted to

    develop toxins within their body systems to help

    them stay and thrive in the Mojave. Many of these

    animals were thought to be small in numbers

    but their habitats have been revealed as hidden

    and large underground territories near basin

    water runoff. Here many varieties of cactus and

    border on dry lakebeds. Their water conserving

    habits resemble those of the animals. Spindly

    shrubs and threadlike stems in plants often will

    poke or prick

    Ecologists use a di erent term for each type of symbiotic relationship. In the

    scenario where both species bene t, the term mutualism applies. When one

    species bene ts and another is una ected that is called commensalism. Parasit-

    ism is the opposite, one species bene ts, the other is harmed. If neither species

    bene ts then ecologists call this competition. And the fourth term, neutralism

    de nes a situation where both species are una ected. In the Mojave region,

    there are many examples

    several states of the south west U

    nited States.

    env

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    the mojave desert

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    Th e abundance of naturally

    occurring caves is one the most

    common geologic features

    of the Mojave. Underground

    living gives animals a great

    advantage of energy e ciency.

    1-2. This map shows

    the overall region and

    location of the vast

    Mojave that spans

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    at an invader.

    of symbiosis.

  • Some animals survive only in the Mojave Desert, these are called endemic

    species. Kelso Dunes, also known as the Kelso Dune Field, is the largest

    eld of eolian sand deposits in the Mojave Desert. Like many south western

    dune systems, the Kelso dunes have a number of endemic animal species.

    Th e list includes at least ten species of insect, such as the Kelso Dunes Giant

    Sand Treader (Macrobaenetes kelsoensis, a species of camel cricket), the

    Kelso Dunes Jerusalem Cricket (Ammopelmatus kelsoensis, a stenopelmatid)

    a giant Mydid y (Rhaphiomidas tarsalis), and the Kelso Dunes Shieldback

    Katydid (Eremopedes kelsoensis), as well as several rare and venomous native

    bees and wasps, and some beetles. Although not strictly endemic, several

    plant and reptile species are rare outside of these dunes. One example is the

    Mojave Fringe-toed Lizard (Uma scoparia), which is specialized in its ability

    to actually move as if swimming under sand.

    Some animals live throughout all the southwestern desert areas and some

    are merely passing through on a migratory path. Regardless, whether living

    permanently in the Mojave, staying only seasonally or ying by on their

    way somewhere else, adaptations to the extreme climate and lack of water

    must be made even if an animal is only staying for a short while. Endemic

    species usually have adapted to these conditions to the highest degree. Th at

    includes sophisticated methods of defense. While defense systems are varied,

    they can be narrowed to the categories of venomous and poisonous delivery

    systems. Th e term for venom or poison that enters the bloodstream is called

    a hemotoxin. Hemotoxins, haemotoxins or hematotoxins are toxins that

    destroy red blood cells (that is, cause hemolysis), disrupt blood clotting, and

    cause organ degeneration and generalized tissue damage. Hemotoxins are

    fre