Advanced sub social behaviour in the scorpionHeterometrus fulvipes Brunner (Arachnida)
Scorpions arc generally non-social, solitary animals that interact with conspecifics at birth, courtship or predation only. The present study reports the presence of advanced sub social behaviour inHeterometrus fulvipes Brunner and evaluates the importance of its burrowing as a cause for such social behaviour.Heterometrus fulvipes constructed deep angular burrows at the base of plants. Burrows provided (i) protection against predation, (ii) increased availability of food and (iii) ideal microclimate for year round activity of the scorpions. No cannibalism was observed in laboratory maintained colonies. The risk of predation and the difficult by immatures to dig tunnels during dry soil conditions may have forced the mother and offspring to live together in the burrow for longer durations. The cohabitation of relative offsprings transforms the burrow into a nest. The members of a colony exhibits division of labour for nest expansion and in foraging. The mother communicates with the immatures through “Buzz” sound and may provide premasticated food. There is food sharing also among colony members. All these behaviours indicate the presence of advanced sub social behaviour inHeterometrus fulvipes.