16 September, 2022

A short horror story for the weekend: "Monster-Katydid ate scorpion alive!"


Scorpions have many predators, including members of their own family. The soft-bodied members in Orthoptera (grashoppers and katydids) have traditionally been considered frequent members on the scorpion menu. But in a recent article,  Marllus Rafael Negreiros Almeida and co-workers report of a reversal of roles: Predation of a Chactopsis sp. scorpion (Chactidae) by a Hyperomerus sp. katydid. Large katydids are fierce predators with a powerful and painful bite, but this is the first report of predations on scorpions by this invertebrate group.

Orthopterans are an important component of the food chain. The species belonging to the order Orthoptera are herbivores or predators, and several behave as opportunistic predators. However, their predatory habits are not well understood. Here we report the predation of a Chactopsis sp. scorpion by a Hyperomerus sp. katydid in a fragment of terra firme forest in the western Brazilian Amazon. The specimens were found on a 60-cm tall bush. The scorpion showed spasmodic motions of the metasoma while it was being devoured by the katydid. This is the first report of a predator–prey interaction between an orthopteran and a scorpion in the Amazon biome. We believe that records of this type are important to allow a better understanding of predator-prey interactions in tropical invertebrate communities.

Almeida MRN, Nascimento JAdF, Machado EO, Lira AFdA. Once a prey, now a predator: an unusual record of a scorpion (Scorpiones: Chactidae) predated by a katydid (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae) in the western Brazilian Amazon. Acta Amazonica. 2022;52(3):229-31. [Open Access]

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