poisonous or venomous or both?

kripp_keeper

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Venom's definition is "the poisonous fluid that some animals, as certain snakes and spiders, secrete and introduce into the bodies of their victims by biting, stinging, etc".

If venom is poison by definition, then wouldn't something venomous be poisonous? I know people argue venom is injected, and poison is ingested, but under the definition of poison it does not specifically say it has to be ingested.


Venom definition source- http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/venom
 

Travis K

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There is a big difference between the two when you talk to experts in these fields(herpetology and entomology).
 

cacoseraph

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a lot of the scientific authors use the terms all but interchangeably. rather, they use poison to indicate the substances injected into prey or predators

i just read "For Love Of Insects" and the author definitely used poisonous when talking about spider bites and what not
 

kripp_keeper

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Everyone on here corrects people when some says poisonous. So are we wrong to correct them if something venomous is also poisonous?
 

Nicole

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Everyone on here corrects people when some says poisonous. So are we wrong to correct them if something venomous is also poisonous?
A lot of correcting goes on here. To me, most of it is opinion and ego. Whether you say poisonous or venomous, we all know what you mean :D
 

cacoseraph

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A lot of correcting goes on here. To me, most of it is opinion and ego. Whether you say poisonous or venomous, we all know what you mean :D
high horsing, one upping, and parroting are all time honored traditions here!


=P
 

venomous.com

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A poison can be administered topically or ingested. A venom is injected.

my $.02
 

codykrr

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people used to drink rattlesnake venom(for medicinal reasons) which poisoned a lot of them because of ulcers and small cuts in the mouth, throat...ect. so technically the venom became poison. make sense?


I am sure there are other way venom could become poisonous as well.
 

venomous.com

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people used to drink rattlesnake venom(for medicinal reasons) which poisoned a lot of them because of ulcers and small cuts in the mouth, throat...ect. so technically the venom became poison. make sense? I am sure there are other way venom could become poisonous as well.
Ok, a healthy person can drink venom or be splashed by venom with no ill effects. Not a poison then, right? An open wound is an entrance to the bloodstream, just like being injected is.
 

codykrr

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Ok, a healthy person can drink venom or be splashed by venom with no ill effects. Not a poison then, right? An open wound is an entrance to the bloodstream, just like being injected is.
True.

But IMO. It would be poison because it would have to be orally ingested.
 

codykrr

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oh and there is a better example as well.

venom can be poisonous.

tetrodotoxin-a toxin that can be a poison or venom. It is a poison in puffer fish, causing its effect when tissues from this fish are eaten. It is venom in the blue-ringed octopus, being stored in salivary glands and delivered into a wound caused by the beak of the octopus.
 

webbedone

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Toxin - any substance that can cause harm
Poison - a toxin that causes its effect through ingestion or absorption
Venom - a toxin that causes its effect through administration via a specialized delivery system.
A good example is tetrodotoxin, a toxin that can be a poison or venom. It is a poison in puffer fish, causing its effect when tissues from this fish are eaten. It is venom in the blue-ringed octopus, being stored in salivary glands and delivered into a wound caused by the beak of the octopus.
Thus, snakes are venomous since the toxin is delivered via specialized apparatus while poison arrow frogs are poisonous since the toxin is absorbed

One more time: Venom is just poison with a weaponized delivery system in nature i.e. snake fangs, spider fangs, scorpion stingers etc. In short an animal developed an external specialized organ designed for delivery of poison.
 

codykrr

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^ sounds like you found the place I quoted my last statement from!;)
 

Bill S

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There are a number of points mentioned above that should be commented on. The first posting is correct. Venoms are poisons that are effective through injection. They are still poisons, and hence anything that is venomous is also poisonous.

One poster tries to dismiss this as "semantics" - but if semantics is the correct use of words, then yes, this is semantics. And semantics does not diminish the truth of it.

If you check any standard English dictionary you will see that toxins are poisons. Period. Not particular groups of poisons, not poisons minus venoms. Just Poisons. And the study of poisons is toxicology.

In another thread someone ranted about poisons and venoms being completely different, and supported her claim based on her having "studied toxicology since she was 8 years old." I suspect that someone who believes they have seriously studied such a topic as toxicology when they were 8 may not have grasped the depth and scope of the subject very well. Again, toxicology is the study of poisons, including venoms. Toxicology books have chapters or sections on venoms because venoms are a type of poison.

I guess for me the biggest puzzle is why some people cling so desperately to the idea that venoms are somehow different than other poisons. As I posted in that other thread:

Think for a minute about the purpose of classification and how it pertains to the subject. There is no valid reason to separate one set of toxic reactions from all other toxic reactions based only on a means of delivery. Medical research is interested in the effects of those toxins regardless of how they are delivered. Hence "toxicology" is not separated into "toxicology and venomology". It's all one big topic. "Toxins" and "poisons" are synonymous. And both include venoms as a subgroup. It's nothing more complicated than that.
 
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KnightinGale

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What is in a Name?

I think the definition becomes even more clear when you look at the creature itself. A spider would be poisonous if you ate it and chemicals within made you sick. It would be venemous if it bit you and the bite had the potential for harmful effect. I have heard that you can eat even the telson of a scorpion and suffer no ill effects...unless it lodged in your throat I suppose. Gack! (I'm not sure if that is true of all species or just some of them.)
So yeah, for most arachnids venemous would be the most appropriate term, though I certainly wouldn't get uppity about it. We do know what people mean and even very knowledgable people have been in the habit of using both at times. We are all always learning!

Knight in Gale
 

kripp_keeper

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I think the definition becomes even more clear when you look at the creature itself. A spider would be poisonous if you ate it and chemicals within made you sick. It would be venemous if it bit you and the bite had the potential for harmful effect. I have heard that you can eat even the telson of a scorpion and suffer no ill effects...unless it lodged in your throat I suppose. Gack! (I'm not sure if that is true of all species or just some of them.)
So yeah, for most arachnids venemous would be the most appropriate term, though I certainly wouldn't get uppity about it. We do know what people mean and even very knowledgable people have been in the habit of using both at times. We are all always learning!

Knight in Gale
Venom is a form of poison, so poisonous would be just as "appropriate" as venomous.
 

Bill S

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I think the definition becomes even more clear when you look at the creature itself. A spider would be poisonous if you ate it and chemicals within made you sick. It would be venemous if it bit you and the bite had the potential for harmful effect.
Not quite. The spider is poisonous if it is venomous. If it bit you and had a harmful effect, it is venomous because the poison it injected into you was delivered into your veins. And it is still poisonous.

If you swallow it and it kills you (like strychnine), it is poison. If you inhale it and it kills you (like phosgene gas), it is poison. If you absorb it through your skin and it kills you (mercury can do this), it is poison. If it is injected into you and it kills you (like cobra venom), it is poison. The delivery method is interesting, but the determination as to whether it is poison depends purely and completely on what it does after it has been delivered, not how it was delivered.
 

Bill S

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I'm sure this discussion will draw some people who insist that venom is different than poison. I'm very curious as to why you insist on this, but I'd like to hear from some of you about this. Is it because you WANT venoms to hold a special place of importance? Is it because you feel that the delivery mechanism is so important that it deserves to be viewed differently? (This is not a sarcastic request - I'm really interested in why, in spite of medical literature and discussion on the topic, this remains a point of contention.)
 
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