It's Complicated! Ontogenetic variation in venom composition of rattlesnakes


Hayes, William K. Hayes

whayes@llu.edu


Department of Earth and Biological Sciences

Loma Linda University

Loma Linda, California USA


When young, the small size of rattlesnakes severely constrains the prey they can capture and consume. As they grow and mature, their larger size and greater venom supply expands their range of prey intake. Venom composition often changes with growth (ontogeny), as expected, but when evaluated across and within species, this outcome becomes more complicated than expected.