04 August, 2010

Bird eating scorpion

In the latest issue of the Bulletin of the British Arachnological Society, Leonard Vincent and Ty Breitman report an interesting observation of the South African scorpion, Cheloctonus jonesii Pocock, 1892 (Hemiscorpiidae) catching small birds of the species Red-Billed Quelea (Quelea quelea).

It is impossible to conclude from this observation if this scorpion regularly catch this bird as prey, or if this was a one time chance event. Hopefully, future investigations will reveal if we really do have a bird eating scorpion.

Scorpions are reported for the first time predating on birds. In Kruger National Park, South Africa, we observed, in an area of approximately 20 m2, eight Cheloctonus jonesii Pocock, 1892. Each scorpion was in its burrow and had captured, by a leg, a juvenile red-billed quelea Quelea quelea (Linnaeus, 1758).

Vincent LS, Breitman T. The scorpion Cheloctonus jonesii Pocock, 1892 (Scorpiones, Liochelidae) as a possible predator of red-billed quelea, Quelea quelea (Linnaeus, 1758). Bull Br Arach Soc. 2010;15(2):59-60.

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