A study has now been conducted in Australia, which reveals for the first time that scorpion venom chemistry can be regulated according to the type of prey or threat the animal faces. The scientists exposed the scorpions to different conditions and tests in order to obtain these results.
A study by Australian scientists published this week revealed that scorpions can regulate poison toxins according to the type of prey they face, which may be a food insect or one of their predators, usually small mammals. This is the first time an investigation has revealed that the poison chemistry in organisms can be regulated by the threat they face, according to James Cook University (JCU) in a statement.
Jamie Seymor, a scientist at the Australian Institute of Medicine and Tropical Health at JCU, who participated in the research, explained that the venom could be a powerful cocktail of different toxins and that the question was whether the ‘recipe’ was unique or whether “Responded to different environments and interactions with their predators and prey”.
For this research, conducted by a group of environmentalists, chemists and physiologists, under the direction of scientist Alex Gangur, scorpions were subjected to different conditions and tests.
One group of these animals was placed in front of live crickets and the other in front of dead crickets, while a third group of scorpions was confronted with a dissected mouse in order to simulate the threat of a predator. After six weeks of experiments, it was found that the scorpions exposed to the predator showed a chemistry of their venom significantly different from that of the other two groups.
“Exposure to the simulated predator appears to decrease relative to the production of toxins that would work in insects, while generally increasing the production of a section of the profile of venom that works in mammals”, said environmentalist Tobin Northfield, who participated in the study.