The Scorpions And Their Scorpion Namesakes
First A Little Scorpion Trivia
Having lived in places like Agua Caliente, California, and other parts out west, my childhood included being very aware of my surroundings. Being on the look out for dreaded scorpions whenever you sit, lay down, slip on your shoes, and even go to the bathroom was a natural consequence of living in the desert. Scorpions are fascinating and here are just a few of the reasons why:
- Scorpions can boast of the longest family line of any land animals, for they are believed to be the first ones to free themselves from water life.
- Scorpions were well known to the ancients, and their symbol is one of the old signs of the zodiac.
- They have hardly changed in appearance during a span of over four hundred millions years.
The Body of A Scorpion
Their bodies are flat, with pedipalpi out in front provided with stout pinches, similar to those of lobsters, for grasping the prey. Their most interesting feature is the long, thin abdomen (called a tail) at the end of which is a sharp, poisonous sting.
The tail is curled over the back so that the sting is in position to stike to right, left, or even in front at the insects or small animals that serve as food or threaten the scorpion.
The Courtship of A Scorpion
Preparatory to the mating, scorpions perform a sort of courtship dance. The male grasps the "hands" of the female and they promenade back and forth.
It is probably true that after mating the female scorpion often kills the male, but not always a rule.
The female does not lay eggs as do most arachnids, but brings forth its young alive. The newly born scorpions mount the back of the mother and stay there until after their first molt, usually about a week.
During this period they consume the food stored in their bodies. After the first molting, they leave the mother.
Where Scorpions Are Found
Scorpions live in warm areas and are especially abundant in hot desert regions. the largest, great black giants from tropical Africa, may be seven inches long.
Some of the average sized scorpions, half as large are far more dangerous because of the poisonous quality of their venom.
The Striped Durango scorpion, for example, has caused many hundreds of deaths, particularly among children in and near Durango, Mexico where it flourishes.
Two similar species in Arizona have dangerous stings. Fortunately, the sting of the average scorpion, although often quite painful, causes only mild reactions around the bite.
Several other groups of arachnids are frequently associated with the true scorpions, but they are only distant relatives. In none of these is the tail sting present.
The pseudo-scorpions (false scorpions) are tiny animals rarely more than a quarter of an inch long. They resemble scorpions, but have the abdomen rounded behind. There is no whip or tail.
The Wind Scorpions (Solpugids) are notable for their very large chelicerae (gangs). They hunt actively over the sand of our deserts and climb into plants, waving the pedipalpi in front as feeders.
The Giant Tailed Whip Scorpion of the sountern United States has a slender whiplike tail and, when irritated, shoots out a gaseous liquid with a vinegary odor. The animal is also known as the "Vinegarron."
The Tailless Whip scorpions have the first legs greatly elongated for use as lash like whips.
If You'd Like To Know More!
- Scorpions - Univeristy of Texas
Scorpions are arachnids, close relatives of ticks, mites and spiders. They are easily recognized by their characteristic shape. Scorpions prefer dryland habitats but they do occur throughout Texas. They can be a nuisance when they interact with human
- Scorpions (DesertUSA)
All about the dreaded Scorpion, includes color photos, scientific names, common names, description, behavior, range, habitats and life cycle.
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