Reading Scorpions produce an extremely painful, but not deadly, prediction. Thus, the animals fend off less dangerous enemies and paralyze food insects, write American researchers in the journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" (pre-publication No. 7354). The Vorgift is possibly the reason why engravings are rarely fatal for humans even of scorpion species that produce deadly poisons. The researchers around Bora Inceoglu from the University of Davis discovered the Vorgift because of its color: They found transparent drops on the sting of Parabuthus transvaalicus, a hand-sized, black scorpion. But the deadly poison is milky white.

In the chemical analysis, the team found in the transparent drops, the Vorgift, high levels of toxic salts, but less dangerous proteins than in the poison itself. Injected into animals, the Vorgift paralyzed insects and caused severe pain in mice. In it, it is even more potent than the milky poison, the researchers write. Only this, however, could kill animals.

The Vorgift is probably a trick to save valuable protein, speculate the researchers. The poisonous saline solution is finally enough to hunt small prey animals and repel enemies. Only in the case of great danger do the scorpions reach for the deadly poison full of proteins.

The Vorgift could also be important in the sexual life of scorpions: When copulating the males prick their beloved one several times. It may be that the animals only release drops of the predinective in order to influence the musculature of the female, the researchers write. display

ddp / bdw - Marcel Falk

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