Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name




Faculty Mentor

Jason L. Strickland


Jonathan H. Perez, John W. McCreadie


Scorpions are globally distributed and very well known for their use of venom for prey capture and defense. Despite their abundance and high number of species, very little is known about the venom used by scorpions, and how the components of venom work to maximize the success of the individual. The venom of a species is directly produced by the venom gland, which can be found at the very end of the tail in the telson. To further our understanding of scorpion venom, we generated the first venom gland transcriptomes for three species from three different families, Centruroides vittatus, Diplocentrus lindo, and Vaejovis intermedius, all of which are found within the same region of West Texas including in microsympatry. To do this, we used Illumina RNA sequencing on a total of 22 individuals to identify the toxin families utilized by each species. Data indicates that, even though the species likely eat the same prey, defend themselves from the same predators, and live in the same habitat, they have drastically different venom components. This potentially allows each species to tailor their venom, facilitating niche partitioning, allowing these species to coexist within the same location. Our transcriptome analysis of the venom gland in each of these species also provides data for future researchers who wish to understand scorpion venoms and their potential utility for human applications.


© 2024 Anne Elizabeth Thaxton ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Available for download on Friday, May 29, 2026