Predatory Scorpiones are called scorpions. They feature eight legs, gripping pincers, and a slender, segmented tail that curves over the rear and has a stinger. 435 million years ago, scorpions evolved. They live on all continents except Antarctica, mostly in deserts, and have adapted to many environments.
22 extant families exist among about 2,500 species. Classifications are being modified to reflect 21st-century genetic results. Let’s dive right in, and follow along for 10 Incredible facts about the Scorpion!
1. Scorpions Were Around When Dinosaurs Roamed The Earth
The oldest land animals that are still alive today may be scorpions. The Silurian Period, which began around 420 million years ago, is when the earliest sea species ventured onto land, and according to the fossil record, scorpions were among them. The earliest known dinosaurs evolved roughly 240 million years ago as a point of comparison. Additionally, the history of modern humans is only about 200,000 years old, making us 2,100 times more recent than scorpions.
2. Scorpions Give Birth To Live Babies
Scorpions are viviparous, in contrast to most arachnids and most other invertebrates in general. That indicates that they do not lay external eggs but instead give birth to live young. Depending on the species, the young may be born two to 18 months after mating and resemble adult scorpions except much smaller and with a delicate, white body. They rapidly crawl onto their mother’s back, who is renowned for vehemently guarding them until it’s time to move on.
3. Their Venom Is Like A Poison Cocktail
All scorpions have poison, although it is varied and intricate. Only around 25 of the 1,500 known species are estimated to be capable of killing humans. Still, in some regions of the world, particularly those with little access to medical care, 2 percent of species can pose a major threat to human life. Along with the Indian red scorpion and the Arabian fat-tailed scorpion, the deathstalker of North Africa and the Middle East is frequently listed as one of the deadliest scorpion species on Earth.
Several other types of toxins, such as neurotoxins, cardiotoxins, nephrotoxins, and hemolytic toxins, as well as a wide range of other substances, such as histamine, serotonin, and tryptophan, can all be found in a scorpion’s venom. Some toxins work better on specific types of organisms.
4. Scorpions Have No Bones
Scorpions are arachnids; therefore, they lack bones. Instead, they have a chitin exoskeleton. This applies to mites, spiders, and ticks as well. It even applies to crustaceans such as crabs, lobsters, and shrimp. Since it does not grow, the scorpion sheds this exoskeleton six times every two to six years throughout its existence. The discarded skin looks like a dead scorpion, scaring many new owners!
5. Scorpions Glow In UV Light!
The hyaline layer, a component of the exoskeleton’s cuticle, contains fluorescent compounds that make adult scorpions shine when exposed to ultraviolet light. Theoretical explanations for this evolutionary advantage for scorpions include helping to protect them from sunlight, aiding in social interaction, or aiding in hunting.
However, for humans, this peculiarity makes it much simpler to locate scorpions than it would otherwise be. It’s a huge help for those wanting to study them, like researchers, as well as those trying to avoid them, such as hikers and campers. Furthermore, the hyaline layer is remarkably resilient, as evidenced by the fact that many scorpion fossils still glow under UV light after millions of years.
6. They Are Not Insects At All
Like spiders, mites, and ticks, scorpions are arachnids. They belong to the larger class of arthropods known as chelicerates, which also include sea spiders and horseshoe crabs. Chelicerates are not insects, which is important.
Chelicerates and insects can be differentiated in a variety of ways, including the number of legs they have: Adult insects have six legs, whereas arachnids and other chelicerate animals have eight legs in addition to two additional pairs of appendages known as the chelicerae and pedipalps. Chelicerae frequently resemble mouthparts, and the pedipalps of scorpions have developed into pincers.
7. Some Scorpion Venom has Healing Properties
Despite the possible risks associated with scorpion venom, research has also identified many beneficial chemicals that are present. Numerous additional chemicals in scorpion venom are still undiscovered, but they have already been shown to be a rich source of medicinal biomimicry. For instance, the chlorotoxin found in the venom of deathstalkers has led to the development of novel approaches for the detection and management of specific tumors.
The lesser Asian scorpion’s venom contains antimicrobial peptides that may be helpful against a variety of bacteria, fungi, and parasites that cause malaria, as well as anti-inflammatory qualities that may make it a useful arthritis treatment. Other substances from scorpion venom have also demonstrated potential in the therapy of autoimmune diseases as immunosuppressants.
8. Scorpions Perform A Mating Dance
Scorpions engage in a dance-like courtship behavior frequently referred to as a promenade à deux (French for “walk for two”). The specifics vary depending on the species, but, if a female expresses interest in a male, they will face off and hang on to one another’s pedipalps before spinning back and forth while having their tails (technically their metasoma) lifted above their backs. According to the San Diego Zoo, they occasionally “club”—bum their metasoma together—without stinging. The dance may last anywhere from minutes to hours. At the end of the dance, the male deposits his spermatophore on the ground for the female then leaves.
9. They Can Go A Long Time Without Food
Scorpions generally eat spiders and insects, while some larger species have also been seen to prey on small lizards and mice. Some search for prey actively, some ambush their victim, and some even create pitfall traps.
However, they obtain it, they can only consume liquid food, therefore they use enzymes to externally break down their meal before sucking it into their small mouths. Many scorpions can go for extended periods without eating because of their slow metabolic rates. They typically feed every two weeks; however, they have also been known to go six to twelve months without eating.
10. Scorpions Are Edible
While scorpions are difficult to spot during the day, you might find them under rocks or bark, for example, they are nocturnal and only active at night. Veteran hunters typically put on gloves and pick them up by the tail to catch them. It might surprise you to learn that you can eat them stinger and all. Shortly after they pass away, the venom’s poison turns inert and cannot hurt you.
In several nations, tarantulas and scorpions are eaten as food. They are a crucial protein source. Both adults and children will search for them in remote locations. Scorpions are bought and sold as snacks in more populated locations.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/lamyai
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