All it takes is a pinch on the leg from a sting or a bite, and you could be dead within minutes. Venom, whether it’s from reptiles, insects, fish, mammals or arthropods, is extremely potent, but it’s not always deadly.
Venom has evolved independently countless times; such diverse organisms didn’t branch out from one venomous ancestor, so each species has evolved on its own. As a result, depending on the species, each venom contains a different chemical cocktail perfectly designed to attack the animal’s typical prey. The result is a huge number of chemicals not found anywhere else in nature, which can affect the blood, muscles or central nervous system. Scientists have discovered a huge range of applications for these chemicals, from medicine to explosives and beyond.
See just a few of their important uses in this gallery.