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Implications of autotomy of metasoma for locomotion, reproduction, foraging, and defense in scorpions

Grant number: 17/05283-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2017
Effective date (End): April 30, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology
Acordo de Cooperação: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal Investigator:Glauco Machado
Grantee:Solimary García Hernández
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The mechanisms of defense exhibited by the prey are incredibly diverse and play two main roles: to decrease the chance of detection by the predator and to increase the chance of escaping an attack. Among the defensive mechanisms that increase the chance of escaping, one of the most studied is autotomy, which is the voluntary detachment of body parts to avoid predation. Although this behavior avoids that the attack be fatal for the prey, the autotomy of body parts may have implications for other fitness components, such as locomotion, foraging, defense, and reproduction. In this project, we will study the implications of the autotomy of metasoma in scorpions of the genus Ananteris (Buthidae). After autotomy, the individuals lose almost 25% of their body mass, and also lose the telson (the stinging organ) and the anus, which results in gut blocking and subsequent constipation. Using A. balzani as study system, we will experimentally test several hypotheses related to the implications of the autotomy of metasoma for the escape velocity, prey capture success, reproductive success, and escape and survival probability upon a predatory attack. Each of these implications will be evaluated for males and females separately, and in some cases, they will be evaluated in the short- and long-term. The results that will be obtained in this project will shed light on the evolution of the autotomy in arthropods, and also on the sexual differences in its frequency because we expect to find differences in the costs and benefits of autotomy for males and females. (AU)

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Scientific publications (5)
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
GARCIA-HERNANDEZ, SOLIMARY; MACHADO, GLAUCO. `Tail' autotomy and consequent stinger loss decrease predation success in scorpions. ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR, v. 169, p. 157-167, . (17/05283-1)
GARCIA-HERNANDEZ, SOLIMARY; MACHADO, GLAUCO. Fitness Implications of Nonlethal Injuries in Scorpions: Females, but Not Males, Pay Reproductive Costs. American Naturalist, v. 197, n. 3, p. 379-389, . (17/05283-1)
SOLANO-BRENES, DIEGO; GARCIA-HERNANDEZ, SOLIMARY; MACHADO, GLAUCO. All the better to bite you with! Striking intrasexual differences in cheliceral size define two male morphs in an Amazonian arachnid. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, v. 125, n. 3, p. 521-534, . (15/10448-4, 17/05283-1)
Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
HERNÁNDEZ, Solimary García. How do scorpions cope with the permanent loss of their \tail\?. 2020. Doctoral Thesis - Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Instituto de Biociências (IBIOC/SB) São Paulo.

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