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Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

Indian scorpions collected in Karnataka: maintenance in captivity, venom extraction and toxicity studies

Kambaiah Nagaraj, SanthoshDattatreya, PavanaNayaka Boramuthi, Thippeswamy

Abstract Background Maintenance of scorpions under laboratory conditions is ideal for long-term venom collection to explore the therapeutic applications of scorpion venom. Collection of venom by electrical stimulation requires a reliable stimulator and effective restrainer. Thus, the present study was conducted to develop a convenient method to maintain scorpions and to extract their venom for toxicity studies via a modified restrainer and stimulator. Methods Four different scorpion species were collected, among which three species were maintained in the laboratory in containers that mimic their natural habitat. Venom was extracted from Hottentotta rugiscutis by electrical stimulation at 8 V for 18 months and LD50 was estimated by the graphic method of Miller and Tainter. Results A total of 373 scorpions including Hottentotta rugiscutis, Hottentotta tamulus, Lychas tricarinatus and Heterometrus swammerdami were collected, identified and maintained successfully, achieving a 97 % survival rate. Hottentotta rugiscutis yielded 6.0 mL of venom by electrical stimulation. The LD50 of H. rugiscutis venom was estimated to be 3.02 mg/kg of body weight in female Swiss albino mice. Conclusions Scorpions were successfully maintained for 18 months. Herein we have also documented a simple, cost-effective method of venom extraction by electrical stimulation using a modified restrainer. Furthermore, Hottentotta rugiscutis was reported for the first time in Karnataka.

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