Home Sciences Global warming may favor the spread of poisonous animals

Global warming may favor the spread of poisonous animals

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A team of researchers from the Rey Juan Carlos University (URJC) is leading an international study to analyze how poisonous species respond to changes in ecosystems due to climate change, which could be affecting their distribution. Thus, It is not ruled out that some of these species could spread outside their current habitats to reach places hitherto untouched by them, including cities.as occurs with certain scorpions.

Species tend to be rehenes of their own physiology, being able to live only in regions where there are adequate climatic conditions to survive and reproduce, and in this the poisonous species are not an exception”, has pointed out the professor of the URJC Miguel A. Olalla-Tárraga.

In this sense, the researchers work with the hypothesis that “Climate changes in the coming decades are expected to have significant effects on the distribution of poisonous species”. Some would see the areas where they are found reduced, but others would expand them.

“Many can reduce their distribution area or even become extinct, thus losing species that are very important for pest control, such as rodents, which are one of the main foods for many snakes,” adds Olalla-Tárraga.

In the study, recently published in the journal ‘Global Change Biology’, the authors highlight the case of the African snake rhinoceros bititiswhich seems to be adapted to arid environments.

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Based on mathematical models, they have managed to predict that in the future there will be large regions with adequate climatic conditions for the survival of this species, which may favor its expansion of distribution.

These climate changes could present new challenges for public healthgiven that, according to the research carried out, the species could reach countries such as Guinea-Bissau, Niger or Senegal, where it is currently not present or is in very low density.

They can be implanted in the cities

“Some poisonous species could even adapt to the urban environment,” adds Dr. Talita F. Amado, a researcher at the URJC, who points to the scorpions of the genus Tityus in South America, where various species have adapted to the urban environment causing thousands of accidents in children in these environments.

The venom of these species is also important in the development of drugs for the most diverse diseases, such as arthritis, thrombosis, coronary problems, diabetes or cancer.

Therefore, with the loss of species, very valuable resources are lost, such as poisons and their great potential for the development of the most diverse drugs.

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“But not all species will be negatively affected by climate changes, many will be able to increase their distribution areas», underlined Professor Pablo A. Martinez, another of the researchers participating in the study and who also belongs to the Federal University of Sergipe (UFS) in Brazil.

The authors point out that human impacts on the planet will present us with new challenges for conservation, public health and food production.

“The profound ongoing climate change and consequent alterations in ecosystems will have an effect that we do not yet know about in the incidence of poisoning by bites and stings of venomous animals, an essential issue for global public health”, according to the UCR toxinologist José M. Gutiérrez.

The reduction of CO2 emissions and deforestation It will be key to avoiding the loss of species, as well as reducing the impact of zoonoses and harmful interactions between humans and poisonous species.

The scientific team proposes that meeting these challenges will require a greater interdisciplinarity between people who work in ecology, toxinology and public health, with a strong component of community participation in order to anticipate changes and take adequate preventive measures.

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Environment section contact: crisisclimatica@prensaiberica.es

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