Lab model advice

JFMulley

Arachnopeon
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Feb 2, 2011
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3
Hi guys,

I'm a reearcher at Bangor University and I'm looking to set up some arachnid genetics research projects. I've got a couple of spider colonies going, but would also like to have a "lab scorpion" available.

I'm therefore looking for advice on what sort of species might be most suitable for this. My ideal scorpion would be

1. Easily available in the UK.
2. Relatively small to facilitate keeping reasonable numbers
3. Easy to breed to keep the colony going
4. Low maintenance
5. Young at maturity (i.e. short generation time)

Obviously I'm open to suggestions that match as many of these as possible, not necessarily all.

Any advice on this, as well as possible sources of the animals themselves would be greatly appreciated.
 

BAM1082

Arachnoknight
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Jun 10, 2010
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257
I would say possibly a Tityus Spp. since they are quick to raise and breed.
 

Envyizm

Arachnoknight
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Vaejovis or Euscorpius should be good candidates. Tityus would work out great except for the whole DWA license thing.
 

Nomadinexile

Arachnoking
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I'm going to add a few ideas, not complete answer, but the best I can do. :)

Tityus sp. would fit the bill. There are few readily available species that are Parthenogenetic. Make sure you know if your specie is or not before you buy them, as this will have a direct impact on genetic studies and may or may not be compatible.

The other thing about Tityus is that they are all considered dangerous species. There are deaths attributable to many of them, and many deaths attributable to some of them. All can put people in the hospital at least. If you are keeping them in a college environment without your personal control on access, then I would reconsider. The only option for housing at a university would be a heavy duty locked cage with terrariums unreachable except for you.

There are other species that should fit the bill though. I know you can get Centruroides vittatus in Europe if not England. And because you are at a University, maybe permits would be easier/cheaper from states. You could get them cheap here, but the permits are usually expensive.

They have a very quick life cycle. They are very hardy and handle a wide range of temps and humidity. They are a medium sized scorpion, but can live communally (same size only is best) in very high densities if fed well and given enough cork bark. There are multiple color morphs too, which could be fun for your project. If kept in 80's and fed well, you have 1 year to 2 years until maturity.

Venom is considered 2.5 to 3 on a 5 scale. Seems mostly to effect allergic people, though can be very painful to everyone else. Oh, and they give birth multiple times a year. 2 or 3 if I remember correctly.

Good luck!

---------- Post added at 02:27 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:18 PM ----------

Vaejovis or Euscorpius should be good candidates. Tityus would work out great except for the whole DWA license thing.
I forgot about the DWA. Although, shouldn't a University have that? Or not need it? Or at very least get it easily?

Vaejovis would be great. There are very small species that need hardly any space even as adults. They have decent sized broods and are pretty hardy and easy to care for. Two problems though. They mature too slowly for one. Secondly, I don't think they have very many of them over their. What they do have is expensive. It would require hitching a ride on an import from the states or paying for one.

Another idea would be Uroplectes species. I don't know their growth rates, but I think you have some available there.

Isometrus Maculatus might be interesting. It is the only specie that I know of with such a wide distribution. Genetically that could be interesting I think.
These are a bit hot though. Hottentotta species are available there too I think. Both of these are Def DWA though.
 

Avery

Arachnosquire
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I wouldn't consider Vaejovis communal. I put three in a 10 gallon and pretty soon after had two. I would recommend Centruroides vittatus though.
 

skinheaddave

SkorpionSkin
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Iomachus politus? Communal, small, relatively quick to mature (though not as good as the Buthids), still being exported, non-Buthids and thus non-DWA.

Cheers,
Dave
 

Avery

Arachnosquire
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Iomachus politus? Communal, small, relatively quick to mature (though not as good as the Buthids), still being exported, non-Buthids and thus non-DWA.

Cheers,
Dave
Yup, I've kept this species and can vouch for it. It's a cool scorpion. You'd need small crickets, though. That and keeping a higher humidity are the only hindrances I can think of, although they are hardly hindrances. This scorpion is pretty easy to keep, and if you've been keeping tarantulas, chances are you know what you're doing!
 

Nomadinexile

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I wouldn't consider Vaejovis communal. I put three in a 10 gallon and pretty soon after had two. I would recommend Centruroides vittatus though.
I don't think anyone here says Vaejovis are communal. That is not one of the requirements. Taking up little space is, which is why I brought up ability to keep like that with C.v. There are small Vaejovis that take up little space kept alone. But they are too slow growing anyway, so it's moot. :)
 

Michiel

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That depends on the funds of the museum you work for I think. Some Buthids like Rhopalurus junceus, Herbst 1800 and Tityus magnimanus, Pocock 1897 can reach adulthood in 6 months, when fed at least once a week and when kept under an ideal temperature schedule.
Keeping those species, will cost the museum a DWA license.

Like Dave said, Iomachus politus or Liocheles australasiae are available in the UK and do not need much of attention. The latter species has the advantage that it reproduces parthenogenetically and it measures around 30-35 mm.
I have kept mainly Buthids, so I can't give you advise about Scorpionids or some other families.

Regards, Michiel
 

Avery

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I don't think anyone here says Vaejovis are communal. That is not one of the requirements. Taking up little space is, which is why I brought up ability to keep like that with C.v. There are small Vaejovis that take up little space kept alone. But they are too slow growing anyway, so it's moot. :)
1. Easily available in the UK.
2. Relatively small to facilitate keeping reasonable numbers
3. Easy to breed to keep the colony going
4. Low maintenance
5. Young at maturity (i.e. short generation time)

I just assumed that a colony meant he planned on keeping them together...
 

Nomadinexile

Arachnoking
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Hi guys,

... I've got a couple of spider colonies going,...
That makes sense Avery. I saw this though and decided he is using colony differently, although I guess there are a few spiders that will live communally.
:)
 

Avery

Arachnosquire
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Yes, fair enough. I'm not aware of too many communal spiders so that would make sense.
 

Venom

Arachnoprince
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Perhaps Pandinus cavimanus? Or a Heterometrus sp.?
 

JFMulley

Arachnopeon
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Feb 2, 2011
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Hi guys,

Thanks for all the advice - I'll do some more reading on the species you mention. I like the idea of parthenogenesis as it'll reduce genetic diversity...dealing with a bunch of clones makes things less variable between individuals. The eventual aim would be a scorpion genome sequence, so it'll be good if all my individuals are the same.

And I should have explained that I meant "colony" in terms of a collection of animals, not necessarily that they would have to live together.

As for DWA, that doesn't really apply to a University, but its probably best to avoid anything too nasty as it makes husbandry easier for technicians and students etc.

---------- Post added at 09:48 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:39 PM ----------

I'm liking the sound of Liocheles australasiae...

Will try to find a supplier and get some more idea of husbandry requirements.
 

Michiel

Arachnoking
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L.australasiae is also almost non-toxic and have a very mild venom. Forgot to mention that the broods of the parthenogenetic populations are thelytokous. The species is sold regularly in Europe, although I don't know if it is in the UK.
 

JFMulley

Arachnopeon
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Feb 2, 2011
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Sounds ideal. If you have any idea of where I can get hold of some, please let me know.
 

Michiel

Arachnoking
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Hi,

I would register on www.terraristik.com if I where you and monitor the spiders and scorpion section. This is a german website, but it has an international crowd of members and from the top of my head, the site also has an english version.

Let me know when you need help, or if it takes too long to acquire them, then I might be able bring you into contact with people I know.

Regards,

Michiel
 
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