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Andre Felipe de Araujo Lira and co-workers have recently published several articles on scorpion ecology. I will present these in the time to come and I'm starting with a paper on the effects of the habitat quality on the of the litter dwelling scorpion Tityus pusillus Lourenço, 2013 (Buthidae) in fragmented rainforests of Brazil.
Bad habitat quality probably means reduced food availability for the scorpions and this will probably have an negative impact on the body size of the scorpions. An this was exactly what the authors observed. Variation in microhabitat features regulated the body size of T. pusillus, but mainly in females. This is important knowledge as it can tell us something about the impact of habitat destruction.
Understanding how individual body size is affected by habitat quality allows us to assess the consequences of habitat loss and fragmentation on the morphology of arthropods. In this study, we examined the effect of habitat quality (litter depth and dry mass, understory density, canopy openness, and diameter at breast height of trees) on the body size of the litter dwelling scorpion Tityus pusillus Pocock, 1893 in fragmented rainforests of Brazil. The study was performed during the dry season in 10 forest fragments, and scorpions were collected with the aid of ultraviolet light lamps. Females, but not males, responded to the environmental attributes measured. Litter dry mass was positively related to individual body size of T. pusillus. These results suggest scorpion body size is sensitive to habitat structure. Environmental characteristics determine specific ranges of body size in scorpion populations, wherein smaller individuals inhabit sites that have less litterfall.
de Araujo Lira AF, de Almeida FdN, Rego FdNAdA, Salomão RP, de Albuquerque CMR. Effects of habitat quality on body size of the litter dwelling scorpion Tityus pusillus in fragmented rainforests of Brazil. Journal of Arachnology. 2021;48(3):295-9. [Subscription required for full text]
Thanks to Andre for sending me their article!