I don’t know about you, but I am terrified of scorpions. As if scorpions were not spooky enough, the Arizona bark scorpion (Centruroides sculpturatus) is the most venomous scorpion in North America. Gulp.
Enter the pallid bat. Clearly not as intimidated, pallid bats (Antrozous pallidus) often dine on Arizona bark scorpions. Researchers at the University of California at Riverside wanted to examine whether the bats were truly resistant to the effects of the scorpion toxins, which includes a mixture of chemicals that can act on sodium channels in the body. Their findings, published PLoS ONE, were the first to demonstrate that pallid bats really are resistant to the levels of the toxins that have been reported to cause intense pain and death in other animals. The evidence suggests that the bats may have evolved novel ways to prevent pain induced by the toxin by perhaps modifying their sodium channels.
Hopp BH, Arvidson RS, Adams ME, Razak KA. Arizona bark scorpion venom resistance in the pallid bat, Antrozous pallidus. PLoS ONE. 12(8): e0183215, 2017.
Categories: Comparative Physiology