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Article

Diet Diversity in Carnivorous Terebrid Snails Is Tied to the Presence and Absence of a Venom Gland

by 1,2,3,4,†, 1,5,6,†, 1,7 and 1,2,3,*
1
Department of Chemistry, Hunter College Belfer Research Center, City University of New York, New York, NY 10021, USA
2
Graduate Programs in Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York, NY 10016, USA
3
Division of Invertebrate Zoology, The American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY 10024, USA
4
Department of Biology, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY 11549, USA
5
Department of Biology and Biotechnologies “Charles Darwin”, Sapienza University of Rome, I-00185 Rome, Italy
6
Department of Biology and Evolution of Marine Organisms (BEOM), Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, I-00198 Rome, Italy
7
Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally.
Received: 11 December 2020 / Revised: 21 January 2021 / Accepted: 26 January 2021 / Published: 2 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
Predator-prey interactions are thought to play a driving role in animal evolution, especially for groups that have developed venom as their predatory strategy. However, how the diet of venomous animals influences the composition of venom arsenals remains uncertain. Two prevailing hypotheses to explain the relationship between diet and venom composition focus on prey preference and the types of compounds in venom, and a positive correlation between dietary breadth and the number of compounds in venom. Here, we examined venom complexity, phylogenetic relationship, collection depth, and biogeography of the Terebridae (auger snails) to determine if repeated innovations in terebrid foregut anatomy and venom composition correspond to diet variation. We performed the first molecular study of the diet of terebrid marine snails by metabarcoding the gut content of 71 terebrid specimens from 17 species. Our results suggest that the presence or absence of a venom gland is strongly correlated with dietary breadth. Specifically, terebrid species without a venom gland displayed greater diversity in their diet. Additionally, we propose a revision of the definition of venom complexity in conoidean snails to more accurately capture the breadth of ecological influences. These findings suggest that prey diet is an important factor in terebrid venom evolution and diversification and further investigations of other understudied organisms, like terebrids, are needed to develop robust hypotheses in this area. View Full-Text
Keywords: diet diversity; venom; Terebridae diet diversity; venom; Terebridae
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gorson, J.; Fassio, G.; Lau, E.S.; Holford, M. Diet Diversity in Carnivorous Terebrid Snails Is Tied to the Presence and Absence of a Venom Gland. Toxins 2021, 13, 108. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13020108

AMA Style

Gorson J, Fassio G, Lau ES, Holford M. Diet Diversity in Carnivorous Terebrid Snails Is Tied to the Presence and Absence of a Venom Gland. Toxins. 2021; 13(2):108. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13020108

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gorson, Juliette, Giulia Fassio, Emily S. Lau, and Mandë Holford. 2021. "Diet Diversity in Carnivorous Terebrid Snails Is Tied to the Presence and Absence of a Venom Gland" Toxins 13, no. 2: 108. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13020108

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