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Scorpion intelligence

Discussion in 'Scorpions' started by HackoDis, Mar 1, 2007.

  1. HackoDis

    HackoDis Arachnosquire

    After seeing a few videos of scorpions. It me pondering how intelligent are they?

    I watch my own scorpions (pandinus imperator) It's neat to see them hunt drink clean them selves.

    Was there ever any studies down testing the intelligence of these creatures
  2. yes they are intelligent,they eat they drink they clean themselves and hunt,those are the studies.:? .....:wall:
  3. fusion121

    fusion121 Arachnoking Old Timer

    They are not intelligent, they have extremely simply nervous systems. Stimulus/reaction is about as complex as their behaviour gets.
  4. lucanidae

    lucanidae Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Although I'm not sure what kind of intelligence exists within the scorpions, I'd like to point out that just because an invertebrate dosen't have an extremely complex neural system; that isn't directly correlated to lack of intelligence. The most striking example would be the jumping spider genus Portia, whose nueral network could not be much different than that of a scorpion, but these Portia are still extremely 'intelligent'.

    "When we talk about 'intelligence' with Portia, we're talking about genetically based ability," Wilcox notes. "It's all built in. The versatility of these animals, with their tiny neural systems, is almost unbelievable."
  5. lucanidae

    lucanidae Arachnoprince Old Timer

    The above quote is from a paper on arthropod intelligence and the function and morphology of the mushroom bodies, a part of the nervous system assosciated with intelligence and learning. From the quote we learn that scorpions are far less likely to have 'intelligence' or learning ability as compared to amblypygids. This paper is an awesome read for anyone interested in invertebrate intelligence.

    Strausfeld et al. (1998) Evolution, Discovery, and Interpretations of Arthropod Mushroom Bodies Learning and Memory 5 (1): 11.
  6. HackoDis

    HackoDis Arachnosquire

    So the scorpion is doing what it's genes set down? So a scorpion has very little intelligence, but some. It mostly responds to it's environment.
  7. fusion121

    fusion121 Arachnoking Old Timer

    Personally I'd suggest there is an extremely strong correlation there, as they is with all neural networks, whether that be in arthropods, primates or computers.

    Of course it really comes down to what you mean by 'intelligence' but in terms of the reasoning and powerful learning abilities we see in many of the higher vertebrates scorpions cannot be considered intelligent. As the quote about Portia spp. indicates, what we observe in the arachnids are inbuilt behaviours selected for by evolution. They are much like very complex computer programmes, but cannot really be called 'intelligence', just as a computer cannot be called intelligent.
  8. lucanidae

    lucanidae Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Right. But Portia can learn new things and adapt at the individual level to its environment (read here http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1640513/posts); even with the same basic neural system. This is not just built in static responses to stimuli. Also, the paper on mushroom bodies suggests that the brains of arachnids might not be nearly as primitive as we are assuming. However, it does suggest scorpions and especially solfugids to be far less capable of learning than amblypygids. I just think discounting any form of 'intelligence' based on the so-called primitive brain structure is kind of unfounded.
  9. HackoDis

    HackoDis Arachnosquire

    So a scorpion doesn't learn it merely adapts ?

    Like i said it has a certain degree of intelligence, but not the learning type. Just mere "something in front of me moving" "Hmm food" Something like that ?
  10. lucanidae

    lucanidae Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Adapting, or changing behavior due to experience is a form of learning, and a permanent or long term change is called memory. All animals experience neural adaptation, "change over time in the responsiveness of the sensory system to a stimulus". It is the ability to remember these adaptations that we usually equate with intelligence. (If we learn that touching a hot surface burns, but we forget every ten minutes....we wouldn't be so intelligent). I think the question of how good scorpions are at long term adaptation to the environment in generally unanswerable at the moment. But, we can say based on the mushroom bodies paper they do have the brain structures needed in order to remember.

    I'm not saying scorpions are smart, can add 2 and 2, or will learn to recognize you. But, these are not mindless automatons whose every behavior is dictated during development and never changes in response to stimuli.
  11. HackoDis

    HackoDis Arachnosquire

    Interesting, It makes me appreciate these creatures even more.

    Also thanks for explaining that clearly.
  12. fusion121

    fusion121 Arachnoking Old Timer

    There's no doubt that scorpions display memory in some instances; burrow location (perhaps even based on star positions) is a very good example and they are able to locate it instantaneously even after moving considerable distances from it (I guess that's what the mushroom bodies are for). But the core of what is traditionally considered to be Intelligence does not lie primarily in simple memory formation but in using memories to reason, plan solve problems etc.

    Using the computer analogy again: a scorpion like a computer can store information (ie burrow position) and process it when needed (such as running back to its burrow when disturbed by a predator) but that's a long way from 'intelligence' and going on the relative simplicity of their nervous systems there is very little reason to assume their mental abilities are much more substantial. I don't think it does raise them above the level of mindless automatons.

    (P.s your link doesn't work ;) )
    Edit: got it now
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2007
  13. HackoDis

    HackoDis Arachnosquire

    So they have a simple memory. Dang now i want to research this.

    Can i borrow about 30 emps, a degree and yeah
  14. lucanidae

    lucanidae Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Here is another link that should work.

    Heisenberg, Martin. (1998) "What Do Mushroom Bodies do for the Insect Brain" Learning and Memory, 5: 1-10

    Gullan and Cranston, The Insects. Third Edition, (2005) Blackwell Publishing; Malden MA.

    All of my sources are recently published and peer reviewed, and I can't find any suggesting that insect or arachnids are anything like 'mindless automatons'.
  15. HackoDis

    HackoDis Arachnosquire

    They defiantly aren't, i mean come on if they were mindless they shouldn't clean them selves if dirt were on them. They wouldn't be able to "hunt"

    Thanks for the links.

    And the information
  16. Michiel

    Michiel Arachnoking Old Timer

    You can divide human intelligence in cognitive, emotional and social intelligence. You cannot compare these kinds of intelligence with those (if there at all) of arachnids. They have a central nervous system and they have an array of sensory structures, which they use for different inhibited reactions in different situations, but this has nothing to with thinking, or problemsolving/ trial-and-error learning.
  17. EAD063

    EAD063 Arachnoprince

    I guess it would help to also know what type of intelelligence you refer to, anything in particular. I've been trying to devise a test which I've previously done in fish but I haven't put a considerable amount of time into developing the idea, nor do I belive I have the proper facilities to do a test on a large scale such as before.

    The test I would like to duplicate involved fish. One person always fed his tanks wearing a red smock, and always in the near right corner. After a couple weeks the fish responded by going to that corner whenever they saw the red smock comming. We were able to feed other tanks specifically in one corner, but the fish would only goto the corner once they saw the siphon in the water.

    I would like to try to duplicate this with the scorpions but it is somewhat difficult. I've considered trying to get them aquainted with a certain color or object while they are fed... and then trying to use that object to lure them to prey that is not roaming they're container. Keeping crickets in a single place but still allowing the scorpion to have access is hard also. Another idea would be trying to get them acuainted with a certain series of noise/vibration that would indicate its time to feed. But both test would take an immense amount of thought, space and intelligence. It's something I've always been curious about though because we were able to do this with the fish and it was "neat" for lack of better words.

    So did you have anything specific in mind?
  18. orkimedies

    orkimedies Arachnosquire

    if a scorpion ran for president, i would vote for it.
  19. lucanidae

    lucanidae Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Portia is in direct opposition to your generalization. They display an incredible ability to learn. For example; Portia will pluck on the webs of araneomorphs. They will pluck in all kinds of random ways. Once they find a way that works (often mimicking prey closely or mating plucks on occasion) they will continue to use this whenever they encounter orb weavers. This is only one example of an amazing Portia behavior, and I doubt that such 'intelligence' is restricted only to Portia.

    EAD063 your experiment and the one you described for scorpions are perfect examples of Pavlov aka Classical conditioning. This kind of thing can be demonstrated in a non-feeding manner too. Bang on a cage of an invertebrate. It will probably retreat. Continue to bang on the cage once or twice a day and the retreat will probably become a flinch. Eventually it will not respond to this annoyance. That is also classical conditioning, just with a negative stimuli instead of a positive one.
  20. Selenops

    Selenops Arachnoangel

    Simply the fact it has greater intelligence!

    Anyways, interesting discussion. I had a Hadogenes troglodytes that displayed some eerie behavior. And there are other moments where my inverts made my *shudder* but that is going into the speculative realm of thought.
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