Effect of biogenic amines on decision-making behavior in the southern devil scorpion (Vaejovis Carolinianus)

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Brynn Estelle Southard (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site: http://library.wcu.edu/
Jeremy Hyman

Abstract: Chemical cues play an important role in an organism’s assessment of their environmentand resulting decision-making behavior. Examples include kairomones, which prey species useto gather information about the predator species that produce them. Vaejovis carolinianus, thesouthern devil scorpion, occupies both secondary and tertiary trophic levels of its communitiesand, as with all members of its order, possesses dedicated chemosensory organs called pectines.V. carolinianus and members of its family exhibit radical sexual dimorphism in pectine size.Three biogenic amines, 2-phenylethylamine, tyramine and histamine, were selected as treatment.The aims of this study are to determine the effect, if any, of the tested amines on decisionmakingbehavior and to assess if the difference in pectine morphology among the sexes conveysa chemosensory advantage to males outside of functions related to courtship and mate detection.In order to assess the effect of three biogenic amines on decision-making behavior,twelve identical mazes were constructed. Treatment was deposited on a sand substrate in onearm of each trial, and 70 individuals were tested against each amine. Of the three test amines,two (2-phenylethylamine and tyramine) are trace amines belonging to the phenylethylamineclass of neurotransmitters; of these, 2-phenylethylamine has been shown to function as akairomone used by rodents. Histamine, the third amine to be tested, is a monoamine and alsofunctions as a neurotransmitter.In each set of trials, females were shown to be more likely to avoid tested amines thanmales, although avoidance was significant only in trials concerning tyramine and histamine; 2-phenylethylamine did not produce a significant avoidance in either sex. Notably, males exhibitedstatistically significant avoidance of only tyramine, showing no discernable preference forhistamine. The results of the study suggest that females use chemical information differently inmatters of environmental assessment and decision-making behavior.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Amine, Behavior, Scorpion
Scorpions -- Behavior
Vaejovis -- Behavior
Arachnida -- Behavior
Predation (Biology)
Biogenic amines
Decision making in animals
Scorpions -- Southern States

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