SPIDER-LIKE TOXINS FOUND IN AUSTRALIA’S STINGING TREES
Scientists have found toxins produced by Australia’s stinging trees bear a strong resemblance to those of spiders and scorpions.
The findings, published in the Science Advances journal, come from the University of Queensland researchers.
Those stung by the leaves of such trees first feel an intense burning.
It changes after several hours to a pain akin to the affected area having been slammed in a car door. This may last for days or even weeks.
The scientists say they have found that the molecular structure of the venom is knotlike, allowing the toxin to tangle and repeatedly target pain receptors in the victim.
The tree – Dendrocnide excelsa – is also known as the gympie-gympie.
It has broad oval- or heart-shaped leaves covered with needle-like hairs and is primarily found in rainforests in the north-eastern areas of Queensland.