Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scorpions use strongest defense mechanisms when under attack

Date:
November 13, 2013
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Scorpions tend to use their strongest defense mechanisms when they are being attacked.

This photo shows one of the studied species, a thin-pincered scorpion, Androctonus bicolor.
Credit: Arie van der Meijden

Scorpions tend to use their strongest defense mechanisms, according to new research published November 13 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Arie van der Meijden and colleagues at Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos (CIBIO) in Vairão, Portugal.

When attacked by a predator, a scorpion can choose to use either its pincers or its venomous stinger to defend itself. The performance of either the pincers (pinch force) or the stinger (venom strength) can depend on scorpion physical characteristics, like size and shape. But the actual mechanism that the scorpion chooses to use when defending itself -- it can use the pincers, the stinger, or both -- can depend on other evolutionary adaptations, so it's not clear whether their behavioral responses are actually correlated with maximum performance ability.

The authors here tested this hypothesis by comparing behavioral responses, performance measurements of pincers and stingers, and scorpion physical characteristics in individual scorpions. They found that pinch force and venom strength were highly variable but did correlate with specific physical characteristics of pincers and stingers. Scorpion behavioral defense responses were also highly variable, but importantly, also correlated with both the physical characteristics and performance measurements of pincers and stingers. Scorpions usually selected their strongest defensive behavior; for instance, species with strong pincers more often used their pincers in defense.

The researchers conclude that in situations when survival calls for maximum performance, scorpion behavior is correlated with performance. Van der Meijden sums up: "We found clear relationships between shape, performance, and behavior, even when taking their evolutionary history into account. When it comes to defense, it seems scorpions choose their best weapons. I managed to not even get stung once during this research."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Arie van der Meijden, Pedro Lobo Coelho, Pedro Sousa, Anthony Herrel. Choose Your Weapon: Defensive Behavior Is Associated with Morphology and Performance in Scorpions. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (11): e78955 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0078955

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Scorpions use strongest defense mechanisms when under attack." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131113182600.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2013, November 13). Scorpions use strongest defense mechanisms when under attack. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131113182600.htm
Public Library of Science. "Scorpions use strongest defense mechanisms when under attack." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131113182600.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) — West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) — Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) — The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) — A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins