.Crude Artemisia judaica as a Natural Repellent Against the Egyptian Yellow Fat-tailed Scorpion Androctonus australis

Hesham Kassem, Ehab Hassaneen, and Alaa El-Din Sallam



Scorpion envenomation is a global life-threatening hazard. Therefore, there is a pressing need to find repellents against these animals for safer residential and human activity areas. The primary objective of this study was introducing a reliable natural repellent as a safer alternative to current pesticides that are mainly chemicals imposing health hazards and risks of environmental contamination. It is also aimed to investigate the effects of some repellents on the circadian clock, in addition to the involvement of pectines as the main chemoreceptors in regulating circadian locomotor activity under repulsive environmental stress in Androctonus australis scorpion. The repellency of crude litters of seven plants; artemisia, rosemary, cinnamon, ginger, peppermint, clove and cedar was investigated. Thus, sand substrate of a designed circular arena (Ø 120 cm) was covered with one candidate plant in each trial. A video-tracking system supported with infrared camera was used for data acquisition and analysis of circadian locomotor activities and spatial preference of intact and pectine-amputated scorpions, under free-running continuous darkness conditions (DD). Results illustrated the normal circadian locomotor activities in scorpions. They revealed a significant repulsive effect of Artemisia judaica (p<0.005), where animals spent (85%±5.81) of total time away from the substrate covered with Artemisia in comparison to the other plants. Pectine-amputation appeared to result in a significant loss of discrimination between the substrate covered with Artemisia and normal sand (p<0.005). Furthermore, Artemisia appeared to have no significant effect, neither on the average daily locomotor activity nor on the free-running period of the circadian clock. It could be concluded that Artemisia represents a safe natural repellent for scorpions. Under the current conditions, this repulsive environmental stressor has no significant influence on the scorpion circadian output.

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