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Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 402–415 | Cite as

Predatory Versatility in Females of the Scorpion Bothriurus bonariensis (Scorpiones: Bothriuridae): Overcoming Prey with Different Defensive Mechanisms

  • Yuri Simone
  • Luis Fernando Garcia
  • Mariángeles Lacava
  • Arie van der Meijden
  • Carmen Viera
Article

Abstract

Scorpions are dominant predators in some environments. Nevertheless, most studies of predatory behavior in scorpions have focused on diet composition whereas some other relevant aspects, such as predatory strategy, have been poorly explored. Herein we evaluate the prey acceptance and predatory strategy of the scorpion Bothriurus bonariensis against sympatric prey with different defenses. As prey, we selected earwigs (Forficula cf. auricularia) which use pincer-like defensive appendages, hard-bodied isopods (Armadillium vulgare) known for their conglobation defensive strategy, soft bodied isopods (Porcellio cf. scaber), which secrete noxious substances as defense mechanisms, cockroaches with limited defensive mechanisms (Blatta cf. orientalis.) and spiders (Lycosa cf. poliostoma) which possess venomous fangs. Prey were offered to 21 adults of B. bonariensis in random order until all prey had been offered to all scorpions. Prey consumption and the number of attempts needed for capture were recorded. We also evaluated the effect of sting use on immobilization time as well as the prey capture strategies on the most consumed prey. We found that despite using a similar number of attempts for capturing all prey, spiders and armadillid isopods were less consumed than other prey. Immobilization times were longer for earwigs than for armadillid isopods and cockroaches. Scorpions used alternative predatory strategies against these aforementioned prey, although the stinger was used against all of them. These results show that scorpions are able to use different predatory strategies which might allow them to include prey with diverse defensive strategies in their diet.

Keywords

Prey choice plasticity defensive behavior scorpion sting use 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are indebted to Mario Clara and Marco Benamú for providing financial and logistic support. Gonzalo Desimone, Juan Zufiria, helped collect specimens. Carlos Toscano kindly confirmed the scorpion species. YS was financially supported by “Programma Atlante” grant provided by University of Ferrara. LFG is supported by National Research System (SNI-ANII) and CURE. ML was supported by the National Scolarships Programm (SNB-ANII) and CUR. AvdM is supported by a grant by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT, Portugal) under the Programa Operacional Potencial Humano – Quadro de Referência Estratégico Nacional funds from the European Social Fund and Portuguese Ministério da Educação e Ciência (SFRH/BPD/101057/2014). Alvaro Laborda and the personal from the Entomology section (Facultad de Ciencias-Universidad de la República) kindly helped us with the identification of used prey.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CIBIO Research Centre in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources, InBIOUniversidade do PortoVila do CondePortugal
  2. 2.Grupo Multidisciplinario en Ecología para la Agricultura, Centro Universitario Regional del EsteUniversidad de la RepúblicaTreinta y TresUruguay
  3. 3.Laboratorio de Ecología del ComportamientoInstituto de Investigaciones Biológicas Clemente EstableMontevideoUruguay
  4. 4.Centro Universitario de RiveraUniversidad de la RepúblicaRiveraUruguay
  5. 5.Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de la RepúblicaMontevideoUruguay

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