, Volume 95, Issue 4, pp 459–462 | Cite as

Immunological determination of digestive rates in the syntopic scorpions Urodacus armatus Pocock and Urodacus novaehollandiae Peters

  • T. G. Quinlan
  • M. C. Calver
  • G. T. Smith
Original Papers


Scorpions have lengthy periods of inactivity, which may be caused either by a long physiological digestion time or predator avoidance or both. We used a quantitative immunological assay to monitor the amount of prey antigen remaining in the hepatopancreas of Urodacus armatus and U. novaehollandiae for 32 days after a meal to test the hypothesis of a long digestion time. In both species, prey antigen concentration in the hepatopancreas increased between 0.25 and 0.5 days after feeding, probably because of incomplete transfer of prey proteins from the large preoral cavity to the hepatopancreas at this stage of digestion. This was followed by a rapid decline, and by 3 days after feeding less than 25% of ingested antigen remained in each species. Small prey residues could still be detected up to 32 days. Prey decay curves in both species were best fitted by a log-log transformation, and were not significantly different. Since digestion is essentially complete after 3 days, it appears that longer periods of post-feeding inactivity are for predator avoidance, not digestion. However, the 32-day detection period exceeds those reported for other invertebrates, and suggests an unusual digestive physiology in scorptions.

Key words

Scorpion Digestive rates Immunological Predator avoidance 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. G. Quinlan
    • 1
  • M. C. Calver
    • 2
  • G. T. Smith
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Biological & Environmental SciencesMurdoch UniversityMurdoch
  2. 2.External Studies UnitMurdoch UniversityMurdoch
  3. 3.Division of Wildlife and Rangelands ResearchCSIRO, LMB 4, POMidland

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