Skip To Navigation Skip To Content

Faculty and Research

Faculty Member

Douglas D. Gaffin Douglas D. Gaffin David Ross Boyd Professor, Biology Richards Hall 100 Ph.D., Zoology/Neurophysiology - Oregon State University, 1994


We are interested in how animals detect, process, and use sensory information to move about their native habitats. We are particularly interested in the neural circuitry that underlies these behaviors. Sand scorpions are our animal of choice because of their clean native habitat, slow walking behavior, fluorescent cuticle, and conduciveness to electrophysiological investigation. We are also testing the “navigation by scene familiarity” hypothesis using algorithms inspired from ants and bees and are exploring the possibility that the ornate pectinal organs of scorpions may be involved in navigation via chemo-textural familiarity.

Selected Publications:

Gaffin, D. D., Muñoz, M. G., and Hoefnagels, M. H. (2022) ) Evidence of learning walks related to scorpion home burrow navigation. Journal of Experimental Biology, in press. (bioRxiv preprint)

Gaffin, D. D. and Shakir, S. F. (2021) ) Synaptic interactions in scorpion peg sensilla appear to maintain chemosensory neurons within dynamic firing range. Insects 12: 904.

Musaelian, A. and Gaffin, D. D. (2020) High-throughput simulations indicate feasibility of navigation by familiarity with a local sensor such as scorpion pectines. (bioRxiv preprint)

Gaffin, D. D. and Curry, C. M. (2020) Arachnid navigation – a review of classic and emerging models (invited). Journal of Arachnology 48: 1–25.

Hughes, K. L. and Gaffin, D. D. (2019) Investigating sensory processing in the pectines of the striped bark scorpion. Invertebrate Neuroscience 19: 9,

Kelley, S., Yut, K., Kulkarni, R., and Gaffin, D. D. (2019) Avoidance of rosemary oil by scorpions. Journal of Arachnology 47: 159-161.

Rivera Roldan, N. M. and Gaffin, D. D. (2018) New, sensitive behavioral assay shows scorpions are attracted to multiple wavelengths of light. Journal of Arachnology 46: 432–437.

Ashford, K., Blankenship, R., Carpenter, W., Wheeler, I., and Gaffin, D. (2018) Response of the desert grassland scorpion to air movement from moth analog. Journal of Arachnology 46: 1–5.

Gaffin, D. D. and Brayfield, B. P. (2017) Exploring the chemo-textural familiarity hypothesis for scorpion navigation. Journal of Arachnology 45: 265–270.

Gaffin, D .D. and Brayfield, B. P. (2016) Autonomous visual navigation of an indoor environment using a parsimonious, insect inspired familiarity algorithm. PLOS ONE 11(4): e0153706. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0153706.