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hollow tube from which a dart or an arrow is blown by a person's breath. The arrow was usually tipped with a poison, such as curarecurare
, any of a variety of substances originally used as arrow poisons by Native South Americans in hunting and in warfare. The main active substance of curare, tubocurarine, is an alkaloid extracted from Chondodendron tomentosum, Strychnos toxifera,
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, which would stun or kill the struck prey. Blowguns were widely used by prehistoric peoples. In modern times they are still employed in SE Asia and by some indigenous peoples of the Amazon and Guiana regions of N South America.



an ancient weapon used for hunting (primarily birds) and sometimes for fighting. The blowgun is a tube measuring 1.5–3 m long, usually enclosed in another larger tube. Darts coated with a plant poison are ejected by the pressure of the air blown into the opposite end of the tube. The darts travel a distance of 30–40 m. Blowguns are still used in the inland regions of the islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan, in the tropical forests of the Malacca peninsula, and in South America. The blowgun was used more widely in the past; it was used, for example, by a number of tribes in the southeastern part of North America.

References in periodicals archive ?
Blowgun techniques; the definitive guide to modern and traditional blowgun techniques.
Erne demonstrated how to move silently through the jungle, make sounds for attracting animals such as caimans (crocodiles) and toucans, and use the 8-foot blowgun to paralyze monkeys or birds with curare (used in our Held as a homeopathic medicine for paralysis) so that they could be captured for food.
A dangerously toxic new frog (Phyllobates) used by Embera Indians of Western Colombia, with discussion of blowgun fabrication and dart poisoning.
I bought my first blowgun back in 1966 as a teenager.
Codes: AN, FA, FP, HF, KA, SA, SC, SS, Blowguns & Accessories
POLICE fear terrorists could use deadly blowguns with poison darts to launch attacks, The People can reveal.
With their blowguns in their hands they went around shooting at the "birds" who were in the trees.
They specialize in weaponry that makes killing a one-on-one affair--bows, blowguns, knives.
To say that how-to manuals on knife fighting and blowguns are but clever party favors for the smirking cognoscenti is not to dismiss the practicality of the information conveyed.
Even in remote regions, hunters who once relied upon nets, snares, and blowguns now have access to powerful shotguns, which are often introduced by traders, miners, or loggers.
Hart came out of the pack as the first great western hero, and no silent movie chase was as dramatic as the Oklahoma land rush in his epic "Tumbleweeds." One group of enterprising moviemakers packed everything up and headed for the heart of the Amazon, where piranhas, boa constrictors, alligators, and headhunters with blowguns added novelty to the chase, making the hero's pursuit of a rare butterfly pale by comparison.
(The frogs are misnamed, though; it's another species that provides poison for Colombian blowguns.)