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1 August 2012 Behavioral evidence of pheromonal signaling in desert grassland scorpions Paruroctonus utahensis
Matthew S. Taylor, Caleb R. Cosper, Douglas D. Gaffin
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Behavioral evidence suggests that, in some scorpion species, females deposit a pheromone that attracts mates. To date, however, no pheromone has been identified. The goal of our study was to isolate a pheromone from female desert grassland scorpions, Paruroctonus utahensis (Williams, 1968) (Scorpiones:Vaejovidae). We took in situ cuticular washes from female P. utahensis in a chloroform-methanol solution; the extract stratified into aqueous and organic layers. In controlled laboratory experiments, most males exposed to female extract (aqueous and organic fractions combined) exhibited pre-courtship behavior, whereas those exposed to the solvent control (2∶1 chloroform-methanol) showed no change in behavior. When extract fractions were separately tested, males initiated pre-courtship behavior when exposed to the organic fraction but not when exposed to the aqueous fraction. These data are the first experimental evidence of a female pheromone in this species and are important early steps toward characterizing any scorpion pheromone.

Matthew S. Taylor, Caleb R. Cosper, and Douglas D. Gaffin "Behavioral evidence of pheromonal signaling in desert grassland scorpions Paruroctonus utahensis," The Journal of Arachnology 40(2), 240-244, (1 August 2012).
Received: 6 September 2011; Published: 1 August 2012
ground-directed chemical signaling
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