Influence of Scorpion Venom on Decomposition and Arthropod Succession .

Document Type : Original Article


1 Zoology Department, Faculty of Science, Assiut University, Egypt.

2 Public health and community medicine, Zagazig University, Egypt

3 Forensic medicine and clinical toxicology department, Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University, Egypt.


Background: The contributions of forensic entomology and arthropod  in legal investigations have been known for centuries. There are many ways that insects can be used to help in solving a crime, but the primary purpose of forensic entomology is the determination of postmortem interval. The aim of this work is to evaluate the effect of scorpion venom on the decomposition of rabbits’ carcasses and on arthropods’ colonization of rabbits’ carcasses in indoor and outdoor environments. Methods: Twenty male rabbits were included in the study, divided into four groups, with 5 rabbits in each group. two groups were killed by spinal cord separation; group (1) kept in an indoor environment and group (3) in an outdoor environment. The other two groups were killed by scorpion stings (groups 2 and 4), kept indoors, and outdoor respectively. The carcasses were allowed to decompose, and arthropods were collected daily and examined morphologically. Results: The decomposition findings were less prominent in groups 2 and 4 with less maggot mass compared to the control groups. Furthermore, arthropod species were different and showed morphological changes in the form of dryness with the formation of ulcers in the larvae, appearance of irregular groves and tunnels in insects and dryness of the outer layer with damage to the ends of beetles. Conclusion: Scorpion venom affected the decomposition rate of rabbits’ carcasses and arthropods’ colonization with the difference in morphological appearance of arthropods between the control groups and scorpion stinging groups, which may be of forensic importance.