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Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2006 May;144(1):58-62. Epub 2006 Feb 14.

Temperature dependence of water loss rates in scorpions and its effect on the distribution of Buthotus judaicus (Buthidae) in Israel.

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Department of Zoology, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel.


Scorpions of the family Buthidae have been shown to be more desiccation resistant in comparison with sympatric Scorpionidae species. This has been attributed to the surface-dwelling existence of the former, which unlike most other scorpion species do not avoid environmental extremes by burrowing. Still, within Buthidae, the mesic Buthotus judaicus showed better osmoregulatory capacities than the xeric Leiurus quinquestriatus, largely as a result of its high resistance to water loss. However, B. judaicus exhibited poor ability to regulate its haemolymph osmolarity at 37 degrees C. In this study we report a sharp increase in water loss rates of B. judaicus at the 30-35 degrees C temperature range compared to that measured for L. quinquestriatus, which could explain the poor osmoregulatory performance of the former at higher ambient temperatures. The increase in water loss rates of B. judaicus at high temperatures is not coupled with a similar increase in respiratory rate, suggesting an increase in cuticular permeability. We suggest that this increase in cuticular permeability, which may result from a relatively low critical transition temperature, contributes to limiting the distribution of B. judaicus to habitats of moderate environmental conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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