Category Archives: DEATHS

After Spider Sex, Female Eats Mate To Ensure Bigger Spider Babies

Male dark fishing spiders pass on nutrients to their offspring after being cannibalized by the mating female

fishing-spider-death-by-sex image www.pythonjungle.com

For the males of many spider species, sex equals death. The dark fishing spider is one of many arachnid species where the female cannibalizes the male after sex, and new research suggests these male spiders have evolved ways to turn their post-coital demise into a good thing for their kids.

Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Gonzaga University found that the offspring of dark fishing spiders that cannibalized their mates were about 20 percent bigger and 50 percent longer-lived than the children of females that didn’t get to dine on their partners. Cannibalizing females also produced almost double the children as those who missed out on the opportunity to eat their mate.

The researchers don’t yet know what conferred these benefits to the offspring, but it appears to be more than the females getting a hearty meal after sex. When females were given a cricket to eat after sex, their offspring didn’t see the same benefits as those whose mother had eaten their father. It’s possible males carry some kind of nutrient or nutrients that they pass onto their children when consumed, but further study is needed to know for sure.

More The Antechinus Isn’t The Only Suicidal Sex-Crazed Animal Out There

What does appear clear is that males looking to reproduce will initiate behaviors that will kill them, even if the female doesn’t end up devouring them. Let’s go back to the mechanics of spider sex. “They insert one of their two reproductive organs, it expands, and it kind of locks into the female,” Gonzaga researcher Steven Schwartz explained to Vocativ. The expansion of that organ, the pedipalp, can have lethal consequences for the male.

“You’ve got to put everything into it,” he said. “And everything into it involves expanding that pedipalp to its maximum, which then has a drastic effect on the rest of the body, i.e. the male curls up its legs and dies. The male that put everything into it were the ones that won. They fertilized the most eggs, and of course that would be passed on, that effort.” That kind of reproductive self-destruction ensures the most offspring in the long run, which also means the best chance of their genetics spreading throughout the population. Survival of the fittest genes can also mean the death of the males who carry them.

But still, why wouldn’t male spiders have adapted to father offspring with multiple females, as is the case with so many other species? “If a male didn’t die in the process of mating, he would potentially go on to reproduce with additional females, which would benefit him, but they don’t,” Schwartz said. “So when you have the development of these weird behaviors, the question comes up, ‘Okay, how is that maintained in the population? How is that better than an alternative mating strategy?’”

The answer likely lies in what’s known as first-male sperm precedence, where the first male to mate with a female fertilizes the majority of her eggs. This biological reality creates a strong incentive for males to mate exclusively with females who have not yet had sex with other spiders in order to pass on their genetic material, and it also means there’s less good reason to live on and seek out other potential mates. This also means males have good reason to pursue larger mates – females can be nearly twice as big as males – as larger females can produce a greater number of offspring. But that also means the males are at even greater risk of being consumed by their large, hungry mates.

More This Cart-Wheeling Spider Is One Of The Top New Species

There’s no single explanation for why sexual cannibalism is so widespread among spiders, so there’s also no single reason behind how male spiders appear to have adapted ways to make the most of their fates. In at least some species, escaping a female’s clutches before being devoured also means passing along less reproductive material. For many male spiders, ensuring lots of children means having sex long enough to be devoured.

“Like I tell my students, all life needs to do two things, survive and reproduce,” Schwartz said. He recalled a recent conversation where someone pointed out these male spiders weren’t surviving. “No, they survive, they survive and reproduce, and if the act of reproduction causes their death, it doesn’t matter. They reproduced. They did those two things, survived and reproduced. In terms of reproducing, those genes, that individual genetic information is passed onto the female in the form of sperm and lives on in the next generation in their offspring.” It might well be more accurate to say life needs to survive until it reproduces. Anything after that is irrelevant.

After all, a male that has lots of big, healthy, long-lived offspring is going to pass on far more genes than one that survives but only produces relatively few offspring with multiple females. That the first male in that example dies right after sex is irrelevant, because evolution doesn’t care about the survival of an individual. It just “cares” about which genes get passed on from generation to generation, as that determines which adaptations endure in the species.

Evolution can be scary it seems.

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Henry Sapiecha

 

DID FOSSIL OIL KILL OFF THE DINOSAURS?

animated-dinosaur-image-www.pythonjungle.com

What killed the dinosaurs? It’s a question as old as – well the dinosaurs themselves, and one that everyone from school children to scientists have been asking for decades. Movies like Jurassic Park and the Land Before Time only heighten that sense of wonder and raise the stakes behind that question. Now according to a new scientific study, it seems that black gold may have been the source of the dinos’ demise.

Japanese researchers at Tohuku University and the Meteorological Research Institute authored a recent study in the research journal Scientific Reports suggesting that a meteor impact 66 million years ago on an oil rich region of Yucatan Peninsula led to the death of the dinosaurs. When the asteroid hit the vast oil deposits of Mexico, it sent thick black smoke into the atmosphere, changing the climate around the world. That soot blocked out the sun leading to a significant cooling of the planet. Equally importantly, it also led to a substantial drought around the world.

The asteroid in question was roughly 6 miles wide and its impacted created the 110 mile wide crater that exists in the Yucatan today – the third largest crater on Earth. The impact was the equivalent of roughly 1 billion atomic bombs of the equivalent power to what struck Hiroshima at the end of World War 2.

The researchers calculate that the amount of soot released would have lowered sunlight exposure by 85 percent and reduced rainfall by 80 percent. That would have had a significant impact on plant growth, which in turn would have limited food options for most dinosaurs. In addition, the soot cooled the Earth by 16 degrees Celsius (about 28.8 degrees Fahrenheit) over the course of just 3 years. Think of the event as the reverse of global warming – and on steroids.

Against this backdrop it is not surprising that dinosaurs all died out. Only smaller mammals that could live underground would have survived. In fact, the fossil record suggests that only 12 percent of the pre-asteroid life was able to survive after the impact. It was not just dinosaurs that died either, contrary to myths about the Ice Age – around 93 percent of mammal species were killed off as well, according to a separate research study by scientists at the University of Bath. The largest animals that would have survived the extinction event were about the size of a house cat.

Still, life bounced back “fairly quickly” researchers say, with about twice as many species existing 300,000 years after the event versus before it. Of course, given that the course of human history only goes back around 25,000 years, three-hundred thousand years is still a long period of time. It reflects the reality that the asteroid strike had a significant enough impact that its effects took tens of thousands of years to dissipate. It was the adaptability of mammals after the strike versus various reptiles that led the mammals to ultimately come to dominate the planet. Dinosaurs were in decline for millions of years before the asteroid strike, but that event aided by the oil rich soil of the Yucatan finished them off.

It’s ironic that oil, so fundamental for modern human life was ultimately the catalyst that wiped out the dinosaurs. Had the asteroid stuck in a less oil rich region, back of the envelope calculations suggest its impact would have only been around one-third as devastating. It’s impossible to say if that would have allowed any of the dinosaurs to live or not, but it is at least a possibility. Perhaps if not for the existence of oil, none of us would have cars, but maybe we would all have a pet brontosaurus.

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Henry Sapiecha

Crocodile suicide: Woman jumps into pit with 1,000 crocs to end life – gators & crocs roundup.WATCH THESE VIDEOS.

This is a video with many crocodile & alligator attacks in various countries.

Published on Jan 28, 2016

Full video of woman who leapt into crocodile pit: http://bit.ly/1QBddsO

1. An elderly woman from Thailand died after leaping into a crocodile pit at the Samut Prakarn Crocodile Farm & Zoo.

2. Australia’s saltwater crocodiles are the largest and deadliest creatures on the continent. Residents of the Northern Territory got a reminder of why the large carnivores deserve their respect, when a fisherman was eaten by a crocodile named Michael Jackson.

3. When animals attack: A 24-year-old Australian man was killed in a horrifying attack by a five meter saltwater crocodile while swimming in front of friends in the Mary River in Australia’s Northern Territory.

4. A 50-year-old fisherman from central Uganda lost his eight-month pregnant wife when Nabire went down to the banks of Lake Kyoga to fetch water and was snatched by what Ugandan wildlife officials said was a 1,300 pound, 25-foot long crocodile.

5. One quick-thinking mother saved her daughter from a crocodile’s clutches in northwestern India. After a 10 minute struggle, the crocodile gave up and left its prey with minor injuries to her legs

A MUST WATCH VIDEO

YET AGAIN IF YOU MESS WITH CROCS & GATORS YOU WILL PAY THE PRICE

WATCH VIDEO BELOW FOR SOME STUNNING FOOTAGE

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Henry Sapiecha

 

Alligator drags toddler into water in Orlando, Florida Videos. Body found.

Alligator snatches boy in Florida

Police say an alligator dragged a small boy into a lagoon at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, defeating the father’s efforts to save the child.

The parents of a two-year-old boy tried desperately to pull their son from the jaws of an alligator that dragged him into a lagoon at a Disney hotel in Orlando, Florida.

The boy, whose name was not released by authorities, was attacked by the reptile at the Seven Seas Lagoon at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in Lake Buena Vista near Orlando, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said.

There are no-swimming signs at the lagoon but the alligator grabbed the boy as he played at the edge of the water on Tuesday evening while his family, on holiday from Nebraska, relaxed on the shore nearby, sheriff’s spokesman Jeff Williamson said at a news conference.

aligator file image www.pythonjungle.com

Child taken: An alligator seen here in a file picture. Photo: Wolter Peeters

The boy’s father rushed into the water after the alligator struck and struggled to release his child from the alligator’s grip, Mr Williamson said.
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“The father did his best,” Mr Williamson said. “He tried to rescue the child, however, to no avail.”

The father suffered minor cuts on his arm in the struggle, Williamson said.

Disney's Grand Floridian Hotel in Orlando, Florida image www.pythonjungle.com

Disney’s Grand Floridian Hotel in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Google Earth

A lifeguard on duty also was unable to reach the boy in time, he said.

“He was too far away, apparently, and the gator swam away with the child,” Williamson said.

Walt Disney World has closed its beaches as law enforcement officials hunt for signs of the boy Wildlife officials captured and euthanised four alligators from the lagoon to examine them for traces of the child after the Tuesday night attack but found no evidence they were involved, said Nick Wiley, executive director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, on Wednesday.

More than 60 sheriff’s deputies and wildlife officials were expected to search for the boy on Wednesday, using sonar technology, helicopters and divers.

Disney has closed its beaches “out of an abundance of caution,” CNN reported, citing a Disney spokesperson.

Sheriff Jerry Demings told reporters the alligator was thought to be between 1.2 and 2 metres long.

Alligators are not uncommon in the Seven Seas Lagoon, a man-made lake reaching 4.2 metres in depth, Wiley told reporters.

Williamson said he hoped daylight would help searchers, who were hindered by dark and murky waters during their overnight rescue attempts.

“We’re going to keep searching until we find something,” Williamson said.

A spokeswoman for Walt Disney World Resort said everyone there was devastated by the tragic accident. “Our thoughts are with the family and we are helping the family,” she said.

alligator snatches boy here image www.pythonjungle.com

Intact Body of 2-Year-Old Boy Recovered After Alligator Attack at Disney Resort

Published on Jun 15, 2016

The body of the 2-year-old boy snatched by an alligator at a Disney resort in Orlando has been recovered. The body of Lane Graves, who was visiting the resort with his family from Nebraska, was “completely intact” when it was found by a dive team Wednesday afternoon, Orange County Sheriff’s Jerry Demings said. Police and a Catholic priest delivered the heart-breaking news to the boy’s parents, Matt and Melissa Graves, who were visiting the resort with Lane and their 4-year-old daughter.

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Henry Sapiecha

Worker Stacey Konwesier killed in tiger attack at Palm Beach Zoo

An employee at the Palm Beach Zoo died in a Malayan tiger attack while performing a routine procedure on Friday afternoon, a zoo spokeswoman said.

Zoo officials confirmed tiger handler Stacey Konwesier was killed by a tiger.

Zoo worker killed by tiger

Palm Beach Zoo worker Stacey Konwesier died on Friday after being attacked by a Malayan tiger during a routine procedure in the tiger’s enclosure.

Zoo spokeswoman Naki Carter said Konweiser was preparing a male tiger for a show at the zoo called Tiger Talk just before 2pm when the attack happened.

Konweiser, a three-year veteran of the zoo and tiger expert, was doing normal procedural actions with the tiger when it attacked her. Her husband also works for the zoo.

Killed-by-tiger-Stacey Konwesier-image www.pythonjungle.com

Killed: Stacey Konwesier. Photo: Brianna Soukup/Palm Beach Post via AP

“Stacey was an expert,” Carter said. “She dedicated her life to her mission of protecting tigers.”

The male tiger was quickly subdued, allowing officials to reach Konweiser. She was taken to St Mary’s Medical Center, where she died.

“This is a family who is in mourning right now,” Carter said of the zoo employees. “We all, myself included, doubled over. We’re a close-knit group here at Palm Beach Zoo. There were tears.”

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be investigating the death. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and grief counsellors were at the zoo.

Staff at the zoo have been left devastated by the death of Stacey Konwesier-image www.pythonjungle.com

Staff at the zoo have been left devastated by the death of Stacey Konwesier. Photo: Damon Higgins/Palm Beach Post via AP

“It’s very new and all the details are still coming in,” said Carol Lyn Parrish, spokeswoman for the wildlife commission. “Because it’s an active investigation for us, we are not releasing any information.”

Malayan tigers are “an endangered species – less than 250 in the wild. Four live here at Palm Beach Zoo,” Carter said.

Zoo keepers help breed the tigers to make sure they don’t go extinct, Carter said. “So that’s what was going on with this keeper here today, and this is just an unfortunate situation,” she said.

At no time was any guest at risk of injury, and immediately after the attack, all guests were escorted out of the zoo, Carter said. The zoo remains closed.

“The tiger never escaped,” Carter said. “We have safety protocols for when incidents like this occur. We initiated those safety protocols.”

Officials put the zoo on lockdown and were conducting security sweeps to make sure the zoo’s 500 animals are in their rightful places, Carter said.

Alena Rodriguez, 25, said she was at the zoo with a friend when she heard of an emergency underway. As the emergency unfolded, there was a commotion of the tiger potentially being on the loose, she said.

“We were trying to exit and they forced us into the gift shop,” she said.

Rodriguez and about 25 people, eight of them children, were herded into the gift shop, she said.

“It was very sporadic,” she said. “People didn’t know what was going on.”

Rodriguez saw the tiger at its exhibit at 1pm and decided to come back for the scheduled 2pm feeding. She came back to the tiger cage at 1:50pm and saw a trainer run by and say, “We need to evacuate.”

Rodriguez said that she and her friend tried to exit the zoo and were told to stay in the gift shop. She said she didn’t know what was going on, but she heard sirens. She wasn’t frightened, but was worried for the children, she said.

Then 20 minutes later, she heard from a zoo employee that the tiger was secure and the zoo was closed for the day. The zoo gave attendees a free pass to go back.

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Henry Sapiecha

A Python Died After Eating A Porcupine And These Photos Are Incredible

Ever spot something cool while you were on a bike ride? Probably nothing quite as interesting as this massive python that was spotted by a cyclist on June 14th. The snake, engorged nearly to the point of immobility by a mystery animal that bulged in its gut, was spotted next to a trail in the Lake Eland Game Reserve in South Africa.

The cyclist uploaded photos of the snake to social media.

This pic, and others, generated a lot of curiosity from locals. The snake drew lots of visitors to the park, to gawk and wonder what it could have possibly swallowed.

python-eats porcupine image www.pythonjungle.com

The python was thirteen feet long.

python-eats porcupine image www.pythonjungle.com (2)

Believe it or not, that’s just over half as long as they can grow under perfect conditions. They’re capable of growing up to twenty-three feet long. They can also live up to twenty-five years. Even so, it’s unbelievable how wide the python can expand when consuming. That’s one fat snake!

People speculated about what it could have eaten.

Some guessed that it had swallowed a young impala (the animal, not the car). Others thought it might have been a warthog. When I first saw these images, the best thing I could come up with was a baby deer. We were all wrong… very wrong. Something no one would of guessed.

python-eats porcupine image www.pythonjungle.com

Researchers found its body, and here prepare to dissect it.

It was found dead beneath a rocky ledge. Chances are, it fell off the ledge and was internally damaged by its former meal. They were eager to discover what kind of prize lay within it. Although it may appear that the snake bit off more than it could chew (so to speak), the snake’s body can accommodate this kind of mass without pain.

The mystery meal ended up being an enormous porcupine.

python-skin-cut-porcupine image www.pythonjungle.com

After a slit is cut with a razor, the snake’s distended flesh peels back to reveal the partially-digested corpse of a very large porcupine. The brown objects appear to be vertebrae. Yet, even at this stage, you really can’t tell what that thing is… To me it still looks like a lump of flesh with thick fur.

The porcupine weighed thirty pounds.

Believe it or not, that’s not really that huge for a Cape porcupine. The really big ones can grow to be over fifty pounds.

porcupine-dead image www.pythonjungle.com

Pythons are actually known to eat porcupines.

python-skin-cut-quills image www.pythonjungle.com

Though you wouldn’t think it, porcupines are regular prey animals for pythons. Although it was possible that the undigested quills punctured its internal organs and killed it, the most likely scenario is that the force of the snake’s fall from the rocky ledge led to internal wounds. Who would of thought your meal would end up killing you?

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Henry Sapiecha

 

 

 

PIRANHA FEEDING FRENZY DEVOUR YOUNG GIRLS LEGS IN BRAZILIAN JUNGLE RIVER-WATCH THESE VIDEOS WITH JUNGLE RIVER KILLERS IN ACTION

PIRANHA: Attacks can be deadly.

A six-year-old girl was found dead with her legs devoured by piranhas following a boating accident in Brazil, according to local media.

Adrila Muniz was with her grandmother and four other children on the Maicuru river in the northern state of Para, near Monte Alegre, when bad weather caused their canoe to capsize.

While the other children were saved, piranhas set upon the girl, biting away her flesh to the bone. One account suggests the child first drowned and then the lower half of her body was attacked.

“I tried to hold on to her, but with all the other children around she slipped out of my grasp,” the grandmother reportedly told local media, in quotes published by the International Business Times.
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“I couldn’t see her any more when we got to the bank.”

The girl was pulled out of the water and dragged into the canoe. She died at the scene.

The girl lived in the municipality of Prainha and was visiting her grandparents on school holidays at the Caucu community, according to reports.

The death occurred on January 27.

Piranha attacks, while rare, can be deadly, particularly for children. A five-year-old girl died in an attack, also in Brazil, in 2012.

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Henry Sapiecha

TRIBAL HOME BREW,CROCODILE BILE, FUNERAL IN AFRICA ENDED IN THE DEATH OF 69 PEOPLE, SEE WHAT HAPPENED.

Poisoned Beer Leads to 69 Deaths in Mozambique Africa

A man drinks traditional beer in  Polokwane, South Africa, on 26 February 2010

MAPUTO, Mozambique (AP) — When a crocodile is killed, the bile of the animal must be immediately removed and buried in front of witnesses to prove that it has not fallen into the wrong hands, to be used as poison, according to some African traditions.

The deadly greenish-brown liquid, produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder, is now believed to have been put into traditional beer that killed 69 people who drank it at a funeral in Mozambique’s northeast Tete province, health authorities said.

bad-beer-kills-nearly-70-people-in-mozambique

District health official, Alex Albertini, said poisoning by crocodile bile was common in the area, in an interview with Radio Mozambique.

About 196 people were admitted to a hospital in the Chitima district, according to the province’s Health, Women and Social Welfare Director Paula Bernardo.

“People flocked to the hospital, suffering from diarrhea and muscle pain,” Bernardo told Radio Mozambique. “Then bodies from various neighborhoods were brought to the hospital, and this alerted us.”

Pombe, a traditional Mozambican beer, is made from millet or corn flour and brewed for about two days. Pombe is especially enjoyed during ceremonies, and is often sold in rural areas of the southern African country.

The victims of the suspected poisoning were attending the funeral of a newborn baby in the Chitima district near the Cahora Bassa lake, Albertini told Radio Mozambique.

69 die in Mozambique after drinking beer laced with croc’s bile

The child’s mother, who brewed the Pombe, was among the dead.

Mourners who drank the beer in the morning reported no illness, while those who drank the beer in the afternoon, fell ill, authorities said. They believe the beer must have been poisoned while funeral goers were at the cemetery.

Blood and traditional beer samples were sent to the capital Maputo to be tested, said provincial health director Carle Mosse.

“We are waiting for the results of the tests of the samples being done at Maputo Central Hospital so that we can identify the type of the product put into the drink,” said Mosse.

Mosse told Radio Mozambique on Sunday that she expected the situation to worsen because the region did not have the necessary resources to deal with the disaster.

Police have no leads yet and are investigating the incident, and reinforcements have been sent to the affected districts, according to Radio Mozambique.

Health workers have travelled to the area to assist, according to the health ministry spokesman Julio Mendes.

Killer ingredient ... Authorities believe the drink was poisoned with crocodile bile. Pic
Mozambique’s government on Sunday declared three days of mourning, from Monday to Wednesday.

The leader of the opposition Renamo party, Afonso Dhlakama, has postponed a political rally to travel to the region to meet with the victims’ families, according to local newspaper, O Pais.

Authorities are collecting clothing, food and coffins for the bereaved families.

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Henry Sapiecha

GARDENER DIES AFTER BRUSHING AGAINST DEADLY PLANT IN GARDEN ESTATE

Gardener ‘died after brushing past poisonous plant’ in millionaire’s garden

POISONOUS PLANTS SYMBOL image www.pythonjungle.com

Nathan Greenaway, 33, died of multiple organ failure after touching the deadly purple flowering plant, known as Devil’s Helmet and Monkshood on £4m estate

Nathan Greenaway, right, fell ill after handling the deadly flower known as Devil's Helmet, left image www.pythonjungle.com

Nathan Greenaway, right, fell ill after handling the deadly flower known as Devil’s Helmet, left Photo: INS

A gardener collapsed and died after apparently handling a highly-poisonous plant on the £4 million estate of a wealthy businessman, a coroner has heard.

Nathan Greenaway fell ill after brushing against the deadly flower aconitum, also known as Devil’s Helmet and Monkshood, which was growing in the grounds of Millcourt House, owned by retired venture capitalist Christopher Ogilvie Thompson and his wife Katherine.

A pre-inquest hearing was told that Mr Greenaway, 33, died in hospital from multiple organ failure.

The gardener was rushed to hospital but despite frantic analysis of his blood, doctors were unable to work out what was wrong with him and he died five days later.

aconitum_napellus_belladonna foliage image www.pythonjungle.com

The coroner heard that it was only after Mr Greenaway’s father, Richard, carried out hours of tireless research in an effort to find out what happened, that the link with the aconitum plant became apparent.

North Hampshire coroner Andrew Bradley heard from histopathologist Asmat Mustajab, who concluded it was “more likely than not” that Mr Greenaway died after coming into contact with the deadly purple flowering plant.

Aconitum lycoctonum, wolfsbane poisonous plant image www.pythonjungle.com

He was employed by South African-born Mr Ogilvie Thompson and his wife to maintain the manicured gardens of their sprawling estate in exclusive Upper Froyle near Alton, Hants.

The inquest was told that the gardener was thought to have handled the highly-toxic plant, which is a member of the buttercup family of ranunculaceae, while working on the estate. He died in hospital on September 7 this year.

Poisioning from the aconitum plant can occur if it is ingested or handled without gloves. In severe cases the poisoning causes vomiting, dizziness and diarrhoea followed by palpitations, paralysis of the heart and airways, and death.

Mr Ogilvie Thompson is a consultant for high-end technology companies and formerly worked as venture manager for operations at Element Six Ventures, a fund focusing on early and growth phase investments in material science companies.

Aconitum is also known as monkshood and devil’s helmet due to its resemblance to a drawn hood, and is known by some as wolfsbane, because its poison is so toxic that it was once used to kill wolves.

The attractive plant has also been responsible for several human deaths, including that of Canadian actor Andre Noble, who died on a camping trip in 2004 after accidentally consuming the plant.

In 2009 Brit Lakhvir Singh, dubbed the ‘Curry Killer’, poisoned her lover Lakhvinder Cheema with a curry dish laced with Indian aconite, from the same plant family.

Barrister Tim Sharpe, representing the Ogilvie Thompsons, told the pre-inquest hearing in Basingstoke, Hants., that an expert on plant toxicology was needed to establish whether or not coming into contact with aconitum was the definitive reason for Mr Greenaway’s death.

Coroner Mr Bradley said that, while blood samples taken after Mr Greenaway’s death were still available for analysis, the sample taken at the time of his admission had since been destroyed.

Dr Maggie Bloom, representing the family of Mr Greenaway, who lived in nearby Aldershot with his wife, said: “There’s even a note in the medical records where it says all samples are to be retained.”

The hearing was also told that the plant’s deadly toxin works so quickly that it would have caused huge damage to Mr Greenaway’s internal organs within hours and would have been out of his blood system altogether within a day.

How Poisonous, How Harmful?

The principal alkaloids are aconite and aconitine. Of these aconitine is thought to be the key toxin. Ingestion of even a small amount results in severe gastrointestinal upset but it is the effect on the heart, where it causes slowing of the heart rate, which is often the cause of death.

The gardener’s widow, Tegan, and his parents, Richard and Marian, attended the hearing with other members of the family.

Mr and Mrs Ogilvie Thompson’s Grade II-listed Georgian house lies at the heart of a sprawling complex of outbuildings and staff cottages at the end of a long gravel drive, next to the River Wey.

At the back there is a veranda with seating room for at least a dozen guests, overlooking a manicured square lawn featuring two black sculptures of sheep.

On Thursday, gardeners employed by the Ogilvie Thompsons could be seen tending to a vast vegetable patch to one side of the house, which also has several outhouses for its army of staff, a chauffeur’s cottage and even its own cavernous barn complete with ornate weather vane.

A member of staff, who asked not to be named, described Mr Greenaway as “a really nice guy who was really good to work with.”

Answering the door under an elaborate, colonnaded porch, Mrs Ogilvie Thompson said the couple did not wish to comment on the inquest or the circumstances leading to the gardener’s death.

Henry Sapiecha