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  • Writer's pictureMarie

Creepy Crawlies: Scorpions!

Go out into the desert at night, and you're likely to come across a scorpion or two. Though it is never recommended to handle wildlife, as long as you don't bother them, scorpions are much more scared of humans than we are of them. These animals are not aggressive, meaning they won't come to sting you out of the blue. Scorpions will, however, use their claws, mouths, and stingers in order to defend themselves if they feel threatened.

Not all scorpion stings are created equally. As a general rule, you can tell roughly how potent a scorpion's venom is based on the size of its claws. The larger the claw, the less potent the venom, and the smaller the claw, the more potent the venom. Scorpion species with small claws and potent venom are much more likely to sting in self-defense than those with larger claws.

Scorpions have very poor eyesight, much like their spider cousins; they use vibration to hunt insects under the cover of night. Scorpions with more potent venom rely heavily upon their stinger for hunting. Species with large claws primarily use the force of their pinch and bite to subdue prey.

Scorpions glow under a black light. This characteristic is shared among all scorpion species. The fluorescent effect is linked to a protein in their exoskeletons. The protein is a byproduct of their exoskeleton hardening after birth. Newborn scorpions do not glow under a black light. Some scientists theorize that scorpions are able to see this fluorescent glow and use it to identify other scorpions. However, this theory has yet to be proven.

Scorpions are excellent mothers! Female scorpions give birth to live young. The gestation period spans anywhere from 3 to 12 months, depending on the species. Newborn scorpions have a soft exoskeleton, so the mother will protect them by carrying them around on her back until their exoskeletons harden, which takes anywhere between 10 - 20 days. While carrying her scorplings on her back, the mother scorpion will provide them with food, as they are unable to hunt with a soft exoskeleton.

All in all, scorpions remain one of the most misunderstood animals. These arachnids are typically shy of humans. They do not see very well and are much more likely to run and hide from you than they are to pinch or sting. We at Zoology hope that we've opened your eyes a little more to these nocturnal neighbors.

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