Grasshopper Mice Have Learnt to Numb Pain of Scorpions’ Stings

by Savitha C Muppala on  October 26, 2013 at 7:43 PM Research News   - G J E 4
In an interesting study, scientists found that wild mice in the dessert can actually make slight of the pain of scorpions' stings as they seem to have evolved survival tactics which can fetch them a decent meal.
 Grasshopper Mice Have Learnt to Numb Pain of Scorpions’ Stings
Grasshopper Mice Have Learnt to Numb Pain of Scorpions’ Stings

The Arizona bark scorpion's sting is very painful and poisonous and can be lethal, according to lead researcher Ashlee Rowe of the University of Texas at Austin.

"Most people describe it as the sensation of being burned by a cigarette and then having a nail driven through it. When the grasshopper mice are stung, they groom the spot where they are stung really briefly and then it is over," Rowe said.

The grasshopper mice use the venom of the Arizona bark scorpion to numb the extreme pain of the sting.

These findings could be important for drug companies who are on the quest for a perfect painkiller.

Scientists observed the behavior of grasshopper mice during lab experiments, when they were pumped with scorpion venom and injected with saline.

It appeared that they were troubled more with the saline rather than the scorpion venom as they were fund to be licking their hind paws. They have learnt the art of surviving pain.

"Pharmaceutical companies have a great interest in developing new analgesic drugs that do what the bark scorpion toxin does in grasshopper mice. Evolution has over millions of years achieved an analgesic strategy tailored to one rodent species. Drug designers could well be able to take advantage of the millions of years of natural selection to find new approaches to tackle important drug targets like sodium channels."

Source: Medindia

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