Are there differences in the components of saliva among species? Also, do the functions of saliva differ between species?

  • $\begingroup$ Some functions stay the same. For instance, at least in mammals, saliva helps to lubricate food for swallowing, begins digestion of starches by amylases and provides a liquid medium in order for taste sensation to funciton. More broadly conserved in animals is the inclusion of antimicrobial peptides in the saliva that function as a primitive immune function to keep the oral cavity clear of harmful microbes. $\endgroup$ – user560 May 28 '14 at 15:22
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    $\begingroup$ This question should be narrowed down somewhat. Which species are you asking about? $\endgroup$ – J. Musser Jun 28 '14 at 17:37

It could be better answered if you specified which species you were interested in. Broadly from Wikipedia, snakes have venom, some swifts have gummy saliva to help in the building of nests, spiders produce their web from salivary glands etc. This is too broad a topic. The human salivary composition is found on the Wikipedia page I have linked. Salivary compositions can change with habits which have been detailed in this article. To compare, I am also providing the link to an article on the saliva composition of an assassin bug.

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    $\begingroup$ Not to nitpick, but venom is technically injected and is not a normal component of saliva. Toxins on the other hand are completely normal. $\endgroup$ – user560 May 28 '14 at 13:40
  • $\begingroup$ @leonardo wikipedia mentioned venomous saliva so i just put it in but u are right. Toxins would be right term to use $\endgroup$ – The Last Word May 28 '14 at 15:11
  • $\begingroup$ I think the answer is not very original or authoritative. Can you try to flesh it out a little? I agree that the question is broad, but I think you could put a little more into the answer. $\endgroup$ – J. Musser Jun 28 '14 at 17:35
  • $\begingroup$ @jmusser Thank you for your opinion. I will have a look at it as soon as I get some time. $\endgroup$ – The Last Word Jun 28 '14 at 19:08

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