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Scorpions are found on every continent except Antarctica and can assume very different sizes and shapes. Especially variable is their muscular 'tail' and stinger (or telson). In an article recently published by the scientific journal Functional Ecology, a research team including CIBIO-InBIO researchers Pedro Coelho, Antigoni Kaliontzopoulou and Arie van der Meijden provides the first images of the attack of the world´s most venomous scorpion species. To record scorpions striking in 3D, the researchers built a square stage surrounded by mirrors. After placing the scorpion into the arena, they filmed the scorpion's strike from above with a video camera at 500 frames per second.

To understand more about the evolutionary pressures driving this variation the researchers studied seven scorpion species from Africa with widely differing tails. The high-speed videos revealed lots of variation in the strike of each of the species filmed. According to Pedro Coelho “there are differences in the shape of the trajectory, but also in the speed and duration of movement”. The study indicates that different 'tail' shapes appear to permit different strike performances and the data collected can now be used to understand how animal defense mechanisms evolved.

To know more about this topic, please follow the link below:

Captadas imagens inéditas do escorpião mais venenoso do mundo” | TVI24 | April 5, 2017 (Information available in Portuguese)

"Seven scorpions" | Earth Touch News | April 13, 2017

To access the national press release for this study, please click here.
To access the original article, please click here.

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