Sand color: Any stress results?

Anoplogaster

Arachnodemon
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Jan 15, 2017
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675
Hi everyone,

Still a scorp noob, trying to set up my new dune scorpion. One thing I've noticed is that most desert species have an obvious cryptic coloration, and they tend to nearly disappear on most "normal" colored sand.

So, I planned to get black sand to make the scorpion really pop out and look awesome. But now the question is whether or not that would stress the animal. I know certain animals are known to show a preference toward surfaces that they blend in to, for obvious reasons. And I don't want to fall into the trap of selfishness in trying to make the enclosure beautiful at the expense of my animal's well being. I'm worried that my poor scorp would just scurry around in constant discomfort because it doesn't feel secure.

Does any experienced scorpion keeper have anything to say about this topic?
 

Stugy

Arachnolord
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Apr 21, 2016
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648
I doubt this would stress out the scorpion since scorpions are pretty blind in their own way (not sure if I'm correct but they don't really see color). The color of the sand shouldn't be a problem. :)
 

Galapoheros

ArachnoGod
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Yeah the color prob has more to do with how they stand out to predators, the scorpion is probably clueless though. I feel the calcium sand scare isn't so justified because there are so many invertebrate species that live in limestone bedrock areas as do a lot of amphibians and reptiles. Limestone is calcium carbonate so it's just not making sense to me. It maybe that in it's sand form it is too easily available to ingest but I still wouldn't be very worried about it but I can understand the better safe than sorry mentality.
 

Anoplogaster

Arachnodemon
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Yeah the color prob has more to do with how they stand out to predators, the scorpion is probably clueless though. I feel the calcium sand scare isn't so justified because there are so many invertebrate species that live in limestone bedrock areas as do a lot of amphibians and reptiles. Limestone is calcium carbonate so it's just not making sense to me. It maybe that in it's sand form it is too easily available to ingest but I still wouldn't be very worried about it but I can understand the better safe than sorry mentality.
Yeah, that's what I figured. I guess there isn't really a way they would know/care what color they actually are. Black sand it is, then:) I plan to use freshwater aquarium sand with no additives.

Thanks for the input, folks! Knowing myself, I'll end up with about 50 more scorpions by the end of the month... haha!
 

darkness975

Latrodectus
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Yeah, that's what I figured. I guess there isn't really a way they would know/care what color they actually are. Black sand it is, then:) I plan to use freshwater aquarium sand with no additives.

Thanks for the input, folks! Knowing myself, I'll end up with about 50 more scorpions by the end of the month... haha!
Post some pictures when you get it set up.

I agree with others, the color doesn't matter. I have been contemplating doing the same thing for some of mine.
 

GingerC

Arachnosquire
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Feb 10, 2017
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Presently, scorpions are only known to be able to sense changes in lighting, and have minimal or no color vision. I bet the black sand will look really awesome. :D
 

Mila

Arachnoknight
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May 7, 2017
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Scorpions have pretty terrible image producing eyes. On the contrary they have some of the best eyes in the entire animal kingdom for detecting light. Most of what they during day light is just a differential of light levels at a long distance.
 

JoshBC

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May 23, 2016
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I thought camouflage was a big part of scorp life. That they evolved to be the same colour as their environment. I would personally think putting a scorpion that is only found on tan sand on black sand would stress it. But what do I know lol. Not like we could ask them eh. Maybe an experiment with similar specimens kept on multiple sand colours? See if there's a long-term difference in lifespan. Interesting to think about though for sure.
 

Anoplogaster

Arachnodemon
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I thought camouflage was a big part of scorp life. That they evolved to be the same colour as their environment. I would personally think putting a scorpion that is only found on tan sand on black sand would stress it. But what do I know lol. Not like we could ask them eh. Maybe an experiment with similar specimens kept on multiple sand colours? See if there's a long-term difference in lifespan. Interesting to think about though for sure.
That would be interesting. At the very least, it could be a good excuse to get a whole bunch of scorpions! You know, for science;)
 

Mila

Arachnoknight
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I thought camouflage was a big part of scorp life. That they evolved to be the same colour as their environment. I would personally think putting a scorpion that is only found on tan sand on black sand would stress it. But what do I know lol. Not like we could ask them eh. Maybe an experiment with similar specimens kept on multiple sand colours? See if there's a long-term difference in lifespan. Interesting to think about though for sure.
They did evolve to blend into the sand but they didn't consciously do this. Their bodies adapted over millions of years but it's not conscious camouflage like a octopus changing its colours is.
 

houston

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Feb 18, 2017
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I thought camouflage was a big part of scorp life. That they evolved to be the same colour as their environment. I would personally think putting a scorpion that is only found on tan sand on black sand would stress it. But what do I know lol. Not like we could ask them eh. Maybe an experiment with similar specimens kept on multiple sand colours? See if there's a long-term difference in lifespan. Interesting to think about though for sure.
Nope! Evolution like that doesn't occur from a conscious decision of the scorp-- it's selected for when things eat them. A tan scorp is less likely to be eaten if it hides in tan sands, whereas a black scorp is less likely to be eaten if it hides in black sands.

A good case of this happening rapidly is with peppered moths. A tl;dr is when the Industrial Revolution happened, trees that were white were covered in soot and turned black. The white morph of the Peppered Moth, which had previously matched the white trees, suddenly stood out dramatically on the black background. Birds and other predators were able to find these white moths much more easily than the black morph, so most all of the white ones were eaten. Since there were no adult white moths, the black moths became the breeding population, thus making black Peppered Moths more common.

Since this is a captive population, there's no predation happening that would select for black scorpions. If the native range of dune scorpions suddenly had black sand, birds and other predators would be able to more easily find light colored scorpions, and thus dark scorpions would be selected for.

tl;dr: Unless you've got a predator in there eating your scorpions, black sand won't stress 'em or shorten their lifespan!
 

Anoplogaster

Arachnodemon
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Well, there's actually lots of evidence in the literature that behavior undergoes as much selection pressure as any other characteristic that affects survival and reproductive success. Camouflage through crypsis and mimicry probably has an influence on habitat selection, even on an unconscious level. Here's some thesis work I found on catfishes that addresses habitat preference for camouflage:

http://scholarworks.uno.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1056&context=td

So it's hard to say. Selection pressure definitely caused scorpions to be the colors that they are. But it makes me wonder if selection pressures also affect their behavioral tendencies. Seems like a replicated choice experiment would be interesting:)
 

Mila

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99% of animals that have a predator naturally want to seek cover. Buy scorpions physically don't posses the ability to see what colour sand they're stood on. They've just evolved in areas where only yellow or black etc sand exists so when they feel sand they know they're on the right colour
 

JoshBC

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Nope! Evolution like that doesn't occur from a conscious decision of the scorp-- it's selected for when things eat them. A tan scorp is less likely to be eaten if it hides in tan sands, whereas a black scorp is less likely to be eaten if it hides in black sands.

A good case of this happening rapidly is with peppered moths. A tl;dr is when the Industrial Revolution happened, trees that were white were covered in soot and turned black. The white morph of the Peppered Moth, which had previously matched the white trees, suddenly stood out dramatically on the black background. Birds and other predators were able to find these white moths much more easily than the black morph, so most all of the white ones were eaten. Since there were no adult white moths, the black moths became the breeding population, thus making black Peppered Moths more common.

Since this is a captive population, there's no predation happening that would select for black scorpions. If the native range of dune scorpions suddenly had black sand, birds and other predators would be able to more easily find light colored scorpions, and thus dark scorpions would be selected for.

tl;dr: Unless you've got a predator in there eating your scorpions, black sand won't stress 'em or shorten their lifespan!
Predators are perceived. I bet my brothers dog and kitten look like predators from my scorps pov. Not to mention me. When would androctonus scorpions ever come across humans in the wild? Let alone have one staring at it through glass, and taking pictures of it lol. Have you done any experiments to confirm what you said? That colour of substrate has no effect on scorp lifespan. Does it produce a difference in size do you know?
 

JoshBC

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May 23, 2016
Messages
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99% of animals that have a predator naturally want to seek cover. Buy scorpions physically don't posses the ability to see what colour sand they're stood on. They've just evolved in areas where only yellow or black etc sand exists so when they feel sand they know they're on the right colour
I wonder if you gave an Androctonus Australis or Amoreuxi a choice between tan sand or black sand, which would it choose? I may have to do some experiments.
 

houston

Arachnopeon
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Feb 18, 2017
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Predators are perceived. I bet my brothers dog and kitten look like predators from my scorps pov. Not to mention me. When would androctonus scorpions ever come across humans in the wild? Let alone have one staring at it through glass, and taking pictures of it lol. Have you done any experiments to confirm what you said? That colour of substrate has no effect on scorp lifespan. Does it produce a difference in size do you know?
I mean, unless you're picking out and eating/ culling specimens, you don't count as a predator. I haven't done experimentation, no, but taking examples of other, more complex animals in "unnatural" habitats but with proper husbandry (ball pythons housed on paper towel/ newspaper vs leaf litter/ soil, dogs in houses as opposed to forests or fields, rabbits in hutches vs warrens) there wouldn't seem to be any negative effects wrt size or lifespan. Even with the stresses of human interaction, it's still monumentally less stress than a scorpion would face in the wild.

If we're doing the "what about in the wild", a dune scorpion's range is all over the southwestern USA. There's absolutely variation in sand colors-- I wouldn't be surprised if near black sand was in at least *one* part of the American Southwest. Regardless, these aren't wild scorpions, but captive. So long as husbandry conditions (hides, temperature, humidity) are met, pretty much every captive scorpion will far outlive wild ones lmao
 
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