Tools of death with a touch of romance: all the amazing things scorpions use their weapons for

Yuri Simone, CIBIO Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources, Porto, Portugal.

Arie van der Meijden, CIBIO Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources, Porto, Portugal.

Animals need to feed, defend themselves from attackers and fight to mate with partners. To do so, some species evolved actual weapons like sharp teeth, claws, horns or tusks, while others, produce toxic or repelling compounds. Among all the armed animals, scorpions are unique due to the set of weapons they bear: a pair of pincers in the front of their body and a venomous stinger in the rear. Uniquely, scorpions use both their weapon systems to defend, catch prey, and even court a mate. The review article “Armed stem to stinger: a review of the ecological roles of scorpion weapons“, published in the Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases (vol. 27), gives us a glimpse into how scorpions use their weapons. For instance, they evolved custom venoms to deal with us pesky vertebrates, but can also pinch their way out of a sticky situation. Scorpions also catch prey with their pincers, and then quickly knock it out with their venom. Most surprisingly, scorpions can “dance” hand-in-hand for hours and culminate their romantic date with a “sexual sting” before mating.

Figure 1. Two scorpions (Androctonus amoreuxi on the right and Pandinus imperator on the left) showing off their best weapons. Copyright by Yuri Simone.

Noticing the lack of a recent overview about scorpions’ weapons, the two authors from the Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos (CIBIO) in Portugal decided to screen 150 years of available literature about scorpion weapons, summarizing and interpreting well over 300 papers, organized by the context of weapon usage.

This review synthesizes the available literature on scorpion weapons, in relation to animal weapons in general. It is well worth the read for interested lay people, scorpion enthusiasts, and serves as a reference point for researchers and students in this field.

To read the article, acess

SIMONE, Y. AND MEIJDEN, A. V. Armed stem to stinger: a review of the ecological roles of scorpion weapons. Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases [online]. 2021, vol.27 [viewed 06 October 2021]. https://doi.org/10.1590/1678-9199-JVATITD-2021-0002. Available from: https://www.scielo.br/j/jvatitd/a/FLP7CFgqGhK788Fz5ygcsfw/?lang=en#

External links

Arie van der Meijden: http://www.arievandermeijden.nl

Facebook – Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases: https://www.facebook.com/JVATiTD

Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases – JVATITD: http://www.scielo.br/jvatitd

Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases: http://www.jvat.org/

Twitter – Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases: https://twitter.com/JVATiTD

Yuri Simone Twitter: https://twitter.com/YuriSimone1

 

Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

SIMONE, Y. and MEIJDEN, A. V. Tools of death with a touch of romance: all the amazing things scorpions use their weapons for [online]. SciELO in Perspective | Press Releases, 2021 [viewed ]. Available from: https://pressreleases.scielo.org/en/2021/10/06/tools-of-death-with-a-touch-of-romance-all-the-amazing-things-scorpions-use-their-weapons-for/

 

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