"The ancestral fish was an animal that used the fangs to scoop out flesh from larger fish, much like how the fang blenny species Plagiotremus rhinorhynchos (the bluestriped fangblenny) mimics a cleaner wrasse in order to feed on larger fish thinking they're going to get a cleaning", says Fry. "The defensive venom is multifunctional and exerts potent hypotensive effects", acording to the journal, Current Biology.
Now scientists found its unique venom which could lead to the next "blockbuster pain-killing drug".
Thus, this suggests that at first, this particular tropical fish evolved to have large teeth and then certain species develop in such a manner that they coupled it with venom. When injected with the venom, mice showed blood pressure drops of almost 40 percent-but didn't show significant signs of distress. That their famed fangs contain venom they use against animals that try to eat them has always been known.
Nicholas Casewell, a lecturer at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and one of the authors of the study, indicated that only 30 out of 100 blenny species sport such a risky feature. But that's an evolutionary side effect.
The tiny, colourful fang blenny sends its enemies into a dizzy opioid haze to win fights or escape from potential predators.
For the study, the researchers analyzed venoms extracted from fang blennies. They started by imagining the small jaws of this tropical fish collected from the Indian and Pacific Oceans' area to reveal that not all the members of this species feature venom glands at the base of their canines. He explained that the large teeth, much like the big spines of some other fish, could make it hard to be eaten. The researchers then conducted tests on mice, by injecting the fang blenny venom into lab mice.
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The venom is "chemically unique", Fry said, which drives home the importance of biodiversity.
"While the feeling of pain is not produced, opioids can produce sensations of extremely unpleasant nausea and dizziness in mammals".
'To put that into human terms, opioid peptides would be the last thing an elite Olympic swimmer would use as performance-enhancing substances. But those canines pack a chemical punch, helping the fang blenny escape the maw of would-be bullies.
Meiacanthus grammistes is also known as the poison-fang blenny and sabre-tooth blenny, due to its oversize fangs. These attractive and territorial fish are found on Australia's Great Barrier Reef and other tropical locations.
An worldwide team of scientists wanted to know how venom evolved in these little fish - there hasn't been a whole lot of research into fish venom, as opposed to insect or snake venom.
Findings about blennies and painkillers bolster the need to protect the Great Barrier Reef and other fragile ecosystems.