The ecology of the scorpion Euscorpius flavicaudis in England



A large colony of Euscorpius flavicaudis was studied at Sheerness Docks, Isle of Sheppey, Kent. It was probably established in the late nineteenth century. The scorpions inhabit cracks in the dockyard perimeter wall where the mortar pointing has crumbled away. They are nocturnal, “sit-and-wait”, generalist predators. They are extremely sedentary: females leave their cracks fewer than 10 times per year; males are more active as they become vagrant prior to the mating season, which occurs in summer. Marked adults were resighted at intervals of over a year and the distance scorpions moved between resightings was not proportional to the interval. The number of scorpions seen per night was influenced by temperature, amount of rainfall and phase of the moon. In winter, the scorpions retreated far into the wall and, by doing so, reduced the risk of suffering mortality due to cold. During this time, they were seldom active. In general, this species does not behave in any way that can be correlated with living in a temperate rather than a desert area. This illustrates the extreme adaptability of scorpions.