19 May, 2016

Assasin bug feeding on a Tityus species in Brazil

As previously mentioned in the blog, scorpions have many enemies hunting and feeding on them. Andre Lira and co-workers have now reported about an assasin bug (Heteroptera: Reduviidae) feeding on a Tityus pusillus Pocok, 1893 (Buthidae) in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Interestingly, the assasin bug was almost half the size of its scorpion prey. This observation extends the list of invertebrate predators of scorpions.

Litter-dwelling arthropods comprise about three-fourths of the total animal biomass in tropical forests. These invertebrates are involved in many interspecific interactions, from mutualism to predation. We report herein the predation of a scorpion by an immature assassin bug (Harpactorini) during a nocturnal manual search for scorpions in a fragment of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. The specimens were found 15 cm above the ground on a seedling, and the prey was two-fold larger than the predator. The assassin bug had its rostrum inserted into the pleura of a juvenile Tityus pusillus Pocock, 1893 scorpion, between the first and second segments of the mesosoma; when disturbed, the predator jumped to the leaf litter without releasing its prey. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of juvenile predator–prey interactions between a heteropteran and a scorpion in this biome.

Lira AFdA, Araujo VLNd, Albuquerque CMRd. Predation of a scorpion (Scorpiones: Buthidae) by an assassin bug (Heteroptera: Reduviidae) in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Turkish Journal of Arachnology. 2016;40:294-6. [Open Access]

Thanks to Andre Lira for sending me his article!

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