Venom costs and optimization in scorpions

Evans, Edward R.J., Northfield, Tobin D., Daly, Norelle L., and Wilson, David T. (2019) Venom costs and optimization in scorpions. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 7. 196.

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Abstract

Scorpions use venoms as weapons to improve prey capture and predator defense, and these benefits must be balanced against costs associated with its use. Venom costs involve direct energetic costs associated with the production and storage of toxins, and indirect fitness costs arising from reduced venom availability. In order to reduce these costs, scorpions optimize their venom use via evolutionary responses, phenotypic plasticity, and behavioral mechanisms. Over long timescales, evolutionary adaptation to environments with different selection pressures appears to have contributed to interspecific variation in venomcomposition and stingermorphology. Furthermore, plastic responses may allow scorpions to modify and optimize their venom composition as pressures change. Optimal venomuse can vary when facing each prey itemand potential predator encountered, and therefore scorpions display a range of behaviors to optimize their venom use to the particular situation. These behaviors include varying sting rates, employing dry stings, and further altering the volume and composition of venom injected. Whilst these cost-reducing mechanisms are recognized in scorpions, relatively little is understood about the factors that influence them. Here, we review evidence of the costs associated with venom use in scorpions and discuss the mechanisms that have evolved to minimize them.

Item ID: 62862
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2296-701X
Keywords: scorpion, venom, optimization, evolution, plasticity, behavior
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2019 Evans, Northfield, Daly and Wilson. This is an open-access articledistributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided theoriginal author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the originalpublication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice.No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Funders: Northcote Trust
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2020 23:56
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060208 Terrestrial Ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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