Temperature dependence of water loss rates in scorpions and its effect on the distribution of Buthotus judaicus (Buthidae) in Israel

Eran Gefen, Amos Ar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Scorpions of the family Buthidae have been shown to be more desiccation resistant in comparison with sympatric Scorpionidae species. This has been attributed to the surface-dwelling existence of the former, which unlike most other scorpion species do not avoid environmental extremes by burrowing. Still, within Buthidae, the mesic Buthotus judaicus showed better osmoregulatory capacities than the xeric Leiurus quinquestriatus, largely as a result of its high resistance to water loss. However, B. judaicus exhibited poor ability to regulate its haemolymph osmolarity at 37 °C. In this study we report a sharp increase in water loss rates of B. judaicus at the 30-35 °C temperature range compared to that measured for L. quinquestriatus, which could explain the poor osmoregulatory performance of the former at higher ambient temperatures. The increase in water loss rates of B. judaicus at high temperatures is not coupled with a similar increase in respiratory rate, suggesting an increase in cuticular permeability. We suggest that this increase in cuticular permeability, which may result from a relatively low critical transition temperature, contributes to limiting the distribution of B. judaicus to habitats of moderate environmental conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-62
Number of pages5
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - A Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Volume144
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2006
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Ms. Ann Belinsky for her help throughout the study. Special thanks to Dr. Brent J. Sinclair, for useful comments on the manuscript. This research was partly supported by a grant from the Tel Aviv University Research Fund.

Keywords

  • Arthropods
  • Buthidae
  • Cuticle
  • Desiccation
  • Distribution
  • Permeability
  • Scorpions
  • Temperature
  • Water loss
  • Xeric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology

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