AMAZONAS Errata: Mislabeled Snake

01 Feb, 2017

Page 76-77 of the March/April 2017 issue of AMAZONAS; we regret that translation may have inadvertently come back to bite us.

Page 76-77 of the March/April 2017 issue of AMAZONAS; we regret a translation mistake that has come back to bite us.

Astute reader Kevin Curty immediately caught this mistaken word choice and called us out on the AMAZONAS Magazine Facebook page. As he shared it:

Curty offered no words, just raw doodled emotions to get the point across, which he amply did!

Curty offered no words, but supplied his own effective emoticon.

Yes. Because of an editing error, the word “poisonous” was used when it should have been “venomous.”

For those unaware of the important distinction, the difference fundamentally lies in the delivery mechanism of whatever toxin is about to harm you. To put it very simply, poisonous organisms rely on you to touch or ingest them in order to deliver their destructive or defensive chemistry. An example would be deadly tetrodotoxin in certain “fugu” pufferfishes.

However, an animal is venomous when it injects a toxin into via a bite or sting, such as a lionfish (or cobra).

Our error is rooted in a rather unfortunate bit of translation confusion; on a cursory look, the original German word, giftig, can mean either poisonous or venomous.

If you want to call something poisonous in German, you'd use giftig.

If you want to call something poisonous in German, you’d use giftig.

If you want to call something venomous in German, you'd also use giftig.

If you want to call something venomous in German, you’d also use giftig.

Looks like the German "giftig" can mean toxic, venomous, poisonous, and a few other things!

Looks like the German “giftig” can mean toxic, venomous, poisonous, and a few other things!

The editors of the English-language AMAZONAS apologize for our error, which will be corrected in the digital edition.

Credits: Translations screencaptures from Google Translate

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About the author

Reef To Rainforest
Reef To Rainforest

Reef to Rainforest Media, LLC is the publisher of award-winning magazines and books in the fields of aquarium keeping, aquatics, and marine science. It is the English-language publisher of CORAL and AMAZONAS Magazines and is based in Shelburne, Vermont, USA.

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