Facts about Scorpions

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Scorpions have long been a subject of fascination and terror with many myths and stories revolving around them so much so that they are part of horror movies like The Black Scorpion. With gleaming eyes, pincers and a curled up deadly looking tail, they do make a grand vision of horror.

Some nail-biting facts about scorpions are:

  • Scorpions are arthropods with large pincers at the front for holding and climbing and a tail with a stinger at the back for defence.

  • There have been 1400 identified species of scorpions in the world. They are most commonly thought to be desert animals but can be found from dry areas to rain forests depending on the species.

  • They eat small insects, spiders and centipedes. Some bigger species even eat other scorpions and lizards.

  • They are almost blind and therefore, hunt with patience i.e. they wait for something to wander into their area before going for the kill.

  • The approximate life time of a scorpion is 3 to 8 years of which 1 is spent growing to adulthood.

  • The scorpions mating ritual actually consists of holding hands, ‘œpedipalps’, and dance over a surface area over which the male scorpion deposits his sperm to be drawn into the females’ genital pore.

  • The female scorpion can give birth to up to 30 babies at one go and carries them around till they are ready to shed their old skin or ‘œExoskeleton’. The process of shedding their exoskeleton is called molting.

  • They have teeth like organs under their body called ‘œpectines’. These are used to sense vibrations, ground textures and also chemicals (like in the case of the female scorpion as mentioned above).

  • They also have sensory hair on their ‘œpedipalps’, legs and body sensitive to vidrations and touch.

  • Contrary to popular belief scorpions are not invincible and can fall prey to creatures like tarantulas, snakes and birds.

  • Scorpions have ‘œglow in the dark’ properties and it’s a good idea to carry powerful black or ultra violet lights when hiking in a scorpion-ridden area.

  • People of south central United States thought they had found scorpions which could fly. They turned out to be harmless insects which just looked like scorpions and were quite obviously named ‘œscorpiofly’.

  • The sting of the scorpion is held in so much regard that a mythical creature, the Manticore, which is a hybrid of many animals, has a tail with a sting like a scorpion.

  • The ancient Greeks even named a constellation after the scorpion which is similarly shaped named after the story of Gaia sending a scorpion after Orion since he wanted to kill all the wild animals on earth. The scorpion defeated Orion and a pleased Gaia put his image in the sky forever.

Despite their ruthless reputation, scorpions actually prefer to hide than fight and only use their stings when they are disturbed. Also, despite common beliefs only about 25 species in the world are actually lethal and like snakes, more people stung by a scorpion die of fear rather than actual poison.

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