Mothers that consume young - Observations

Mark Newton

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I'm interested in peoples observations in relation to mother scorpions consuming their young.

Primarily: At what point have you seen a mother actually take the young ready to be consumed? Whereabouts was the young scorpion at this time? On the ground, on mothers back, somewhere else etc.
 

Bayushi

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Last year i witnessed one of my P imps eat one of her young. The young were just moulted to 2I and not yet wandering off her beck. she was in the middle of eating a cricket when one of the slings crawled from her back to the cricket. She either didn't notice it was one of her young or she was hungry enough to not care, cus the next thing i saw was her grabbing the sling and dropping the cricket. i count it up as an accident, but you never know.
 

~Abyss~

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I also think it has something to do with freshly molted scorps. They can't seem to reconize each other as the same species when they are freshly molted (add that one to the illuminacance theory) because I seem to notice more cannibalism in fresh 2i scorps or scorps the same age that one just molts. I know a lot of people would argue that the reason most scorps get eaten after a molt is because of they're soft bodies but if you have a comunal set up and none of the scorps ever fight as soon as one molts it seems like everyone is trying to pick a fight with it.
 

Brian S

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Mark, IME the mother will usually eat the young that are too weak to survive. I have also witnessed that some xeric sp will do the same if not properly hydrated during gestation, e.g H hottentotta which although is primarily a xeric sp they need to be well hydrated during gestation or they are prone to give birth to weak young and will eat them
 

Mark Newton

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I'm interested to know where the mother takes the young from when she eats them. Has anyone seen the mother reach over and take young that are on top of her, and if so, where on top...I guess that's my main question at this time. So, I'm interested in observations as to where they are taken from, more than theories as to why.
 

Michiel

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Mark,

Babycurus spp. are known to sweep the young of their backs with the metasoma, when they get stressed or if captive conditions are not properly set. I have never witnessed them doing it, but my O.dentatus ate all her young lately. I tried to locate her and lifted her bark and she was very startled, I think that she got stressed by my action.

My Hadrurus spadix did not mess with the young on her back, but the young that where dispersed or had fallen off where eaten upon contact with the mother.
 

Mark Newton

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Babycurus spp. are known to sweep the young of their backs with the metasoma, when they get stressed or if captive conditions are not properly set.
Thats pretty amazing. In my experience young are consumed when they choose to leave mums back prematurely. If they leave, clearly it means they arent deriving what they require and mum simply consumes them. I have never witnessed a mother take young from her back, or try to. I had always thought removing young with the peds would be near impossible, but had never thought of using a tail sweep. It seems an odd behaviour to consume young due to stress. I can understand changes in environmental conditions that threaten survival and maybe all of the cannibalistic behaviour is a reflection of that and of course stress is the result of a change in environment.


My Hadrurus spadix did not mess with the young on her back, but the young that where dispersed or had fallen off where eaten upon contact with the mother.
This is generally what I have always witnessed. It makes me wonder whether the mother can actually differentiate them from food items at this early stage, considering that it isnt normal for 1st instars to leave the back. Once second instar things seem to change.
 

skinheaddave

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From the chapter on life history by Polis and Sissom in the book "The Biology of Scorpion" edited by Polis (1990), page 201:

The mother-offspring bond among scorpions appears to be maintained by chemoreception. Torres and Heatwole (1967a) found that the young of Centruroides nitidus and Tityus obtusus settle and remain only on conspecific females. If placed on females of other species, they do not remain there (on congenerics, they exhibit brief exploratory movements before leaving). When body fluids of a C.nitidus female were placed on the back of a female of a different species, the latter female became attractive to the young. Vannini et al. (1978), in a series of controlled experiments, found chemical stimuli to be important in mantaining the association in [Euscorpius carpathicus, including the mother's tolerance of the young. In Euscorpius, females pick up fallen young to aid them in regaining their position on the back. The researchers disguised fallen young with strange scents; these young were either rejected or eaten, suggesting that females recognize their young by scent. In Euscorpius, however, the chemical stimulus is not species specific: the young of E.italicus were accepted by an E.carpathicus female and remained with her "indefinitely."
Cheers,
Dave
 

Australis

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Have seen the mommy eatin the kids...
Sometimes could be due to the fact that she was hungry...
My current problem would be the mom accidentally dropping some of the baby without her noticing it.
I've this small lil plastic tree i left in the tank for my vits to climb on...and when the mom pop...i noticed that there was some baby stranded on the plastic branches and some on the plastic leaves...odd balls...
Funny thing is that they are still alive...
 
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