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Reproduction and Parental Care in the Scorpion, Euscorpius Flavicaudis

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Scorpions exhibit parental care, whereby the female carries her 1 st instar young upon her back for the duration of the instar. The one species of scorpion to be found in England, Euscorpius flavicaudis, was used to investigate the functional advantage of parental care. Laboratory conditions, modelled on the natural habitat of this scorpion, showed that the presence, or absence, of the female had no effect on juvenile survival when conspecific scorpions were kept from the experimental scorpions. However, when other scorpions had access to the experimental scorpions, the presence of the female prevented predation; in her absence brood mortality averaged 99 %. This is hypothesised to be the major selective advantage to parental care. Other advantages may occur (e.g. trophic exchange, female moderating microclimate, some form of "group effect"-increased survival of larger groups of juveniles) but these are secondary in relation to the avoidance of prcdation.

Affiliations: 1: (Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing St., Cambridge, CB2 3EJ, England


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