21 May, 2014

Tail autotomy in an Ananteris species

Can scorpions loose their tail as a defense against predators?
Autotomy ("self amputation") is known in many animals as a defense against being caught by predators. Lira and co-workers now present evidence that this is an anti-predator strategy in the buthid Ananteris mauryi Lourenco, 1982.

Personally I have never heard about this in scorpions and I have never seen a scorpion loose its tail after being grabbed by a forceps (I've done this to many different scorpions). But it seems, at least in this species, that this is a behavior available as a defense against being caught and eaten.

The behavior comes with a cost - the loss of stinger and venom apparatus. This makes the scorpion very vulnerable in the future and will also reduce its ability to catch large preys. But it is better than being eaten.

No abstract available.

Lira AFA, Sarinho NMS, De Souza AM, Albuquerque CMR. Metasomal Autotomy in Ananteris mauryi Lourenco, 1982 (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Journal of Insect Behavior. 2014 Mar;27(2):279-82. [Subscription required for full text]

No comments: