Robinson, P., Trim, S., Trim, C. 2019. Non-invasive extraction of Cnidarian venom through the use of autotomised tentacles. Animal Technology and Welfare 18(3), 167-173.
The animals contained within the phylum Cnidaria (Sea Anemones, Corals, Sea Pens, Jellyfish, Boxjellies and Hydra) have origins that can be dated back to around 750 million years ago (mya) and as such, they represent what is potentially the oldest known venomous lineage that is recognised today. The phylum Cnidaria, which includes Sea Anemones, Corals and Jellyfish are also one of the most understudied as far as toxins go, likely a result of the constraints involved in obtaining samples. Over the last two decades there have been increased efforts to further our ability to obtain samples, however, the sampling techniques developed were invasive and generally required the dissection of tissues from the organism. Within recent years, there have been some developments in the chemical extraction of Cnidarian venom, using ethanol to trigger nematocyst firing. These developments have led to the formation of this research, which uses ethanol to elicit stimulation of nematocysts on naturally autotomised tentacles whilst being observed under light microscopy, before having protein content measured using microspectrophotometry. This paper focusses on a unique observation of Cnidaria that is unknown in any other animal taxa, passive autotomy of envenomation apparatus, the tentacles.