An extensive study on foraging and prey capture in Centruroides vittaus

In my forthcomming posts I will try to present many studies published in November and December that I never got time to blog about.

C. N. McReynolds published an extensive study on prey capture and foraging in the buthid Centruroides vittatus (Say, 1821) in South Texas in November. The study looked on how the taxa of prey captured by this scorpion changed with size of the scorpion and the season of the year. The main conclusion is that the taxa of prey captured by C. vittatus do change with size of the scorpion and the season of the year. This paper has a lot of information and data on foraging in this species and I refer to the abstract and article for further details.

Diet and foraging success of the striped bark scorpion, Centruroides vittatus, in South Texas are influenced by both scorpion size and season of the year. In the ten-year study of the striped bark scorpions in the blackbrush habitat of south Texas, the diet was variable with caterpillars (Lepidoptera) as the main prey for all seasons and all size classes of scorpions. The proportion of caterpillars did vary significantly with size class of scorpion and months of the year with intermediate size scorpions capturing more caterpillars during January–April than other size classes or months of the year. The proportion of orthopteran and intraguild prey was higher during September-December and for large scorpions. The height of scorpions was significantly different among prey types and scorpion size classes or prey types and months of the year. The median height of scorpions with caterpillar prey was significantly higher than scorpions with orthopteran or intraguild prey. The intermediate size scorpions with caterpillar prey and scorpions with caterpillar during January–April were higher in vegetation than scorpions with other prey, other size classes and/or months of the year. The foraging success of scorpions varied significantly with size class and month of the year. The highest foraging success was the intermediate size scorpions during January–April and the lowest was the large scorpions during January–April. However, the larger scorpions had the second highest foraging success during September–December. These results suggest that C. vittatus use both active search and ambush (sit-and-wait) foraging methods. The intermediate size scorpions capture more caterpillars than other size classes of scorpions by actively foraging in vegetation especially during January-April. The larger scorpions do not appear to interfere with the foraging success of intermediate or smaller scorpions even though cannibalism is observed.

McReynolds CN. Effect of seasons and scorpion size on the foraging and diet of the striped bark scorpion, Centruroides vittatus (Buthidae: Scorpiones) in blackbrush habitat of south Texas. Euscorpius. 2020(323):1-16. [Free full text]