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Scorpions

Scorpions, like spiders are Arthropods, they are not a member of the insect family. There are about 1300 species of scorpions around the world. They are distinguished from other arachnids by the fact that their sting is in their tail. The stinger is called a telson. Their sting is always painful to humans and in many cases can be fatal.

scorpion diagram
Scorpions are found in many parts of the world, in the high mountains of the Himalayas or in plains and savannas, but they are best adapted for dry arid regions. In the U.S. they are found primarily in Arizona, Texas, and Oklahoma. Like spiders, they have a cephalo-thorax, which combines the head and thorax. Then there is an extended abdomen where many of the scorpion's organs reside. All this is covered with a kind of armored exo-skeleton.

The pedipalps or pincers of the scorpion are actually extensions of the mouth and are used to hold and crush prey. The Scorpion normally has two main eyes and several smaller eyes strategically placed (as many as five pair). In spite of the multiplicity of eyes, the scorpion's vision is not as clear as human vision, and scorpions rely much on tiny hairs on their legs which sense movement. On the underside of the scorpion's abdomen are feelers called pectines that can smell prey and may also be used to sense the opposite sex for mating.

The largest scorpion in the world is the African Scorpion which can get over 8 inches in length. But on average, scorpions get two to three inches long. They generally eat insects, spiders, centipedes and even other scorpions. They usually wait in ambush and pounce on anything that comes close to them. They grab their prey in their pincers and sting it. They then spray the incapacitated victim with an acid that dissolves the creature. They then consume it. In turn, scorpions are eaten by other creatures including shrews, owls, large spiders and lizards.

Their life cycle begins with eggs, which are hatched inside the adult female's abdomen. They crawl on the mother's back and are fed for about two weeks, where they will make their first molt and be strong enough to live on their own. They will molt 5 or 6 times before they reach adulthood. The average lifespan is two or three years, but scorpions may live 15 years or even longer. Unlike spiders, scorpions may show social behavior that includes living in family groups in burrows and even sharing food.

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Interesting Link: Scorpion Woodkits

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W.J. Rayment


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