Scorpions

Emporer Scorpion

Scorpions are predatory arachnids that can be found all over the world. They are best known for their frightening physical appearance with a long tail and stinger at the ends of their tail like appendages. Although they are all “venomous,” only about 25 species are venomous enough to kill people. There are about 200 different species of these arthropods in North America.

Description & Habitat
Scorpions are segmented arachnids that vary in size and most species under 9 inches in length. They vary in color from light tan with black patterns to a dark brown to black. All scorpions have bodies that are divided into three different parts: the head, the abdomen, and the tail.¬† You may be able to identify them from their clawed appendages as well. These “claws” are used typically as a defense mechanism or for sense purposes. They are virtually harmless because they are without venom and do not possess a stinging apparatus on the claw. The tail on the other hand bears the telson or more commonly known as the stinger. They also carry venom glands that delivers the venom when the stinger is used. Scorpions are segmented on both the abdomen and tail and have eight legs. ¬†Scorpions also have a unique physical characteristic in that they and fluorescent. Due to the presence of chemicals in their bodies, UV lamps can detect scorpions in the dark because of their glowing effect.
Scorpions prefer to live in areas with temperatures that may range from 70 degrees F to 100 degrees F, however, they are able to survive extreme temperatures like freezing temperatures or in deserts with strong heat. They can be found under loose bark of tree trunks or logs, under or around rocks, under leaf litter, etc. Inside the home, they can be seen virtually anywhere and may reside in the wall void area.

Behavior & Life Cycle
Scorpions are nocturnal creatures that hide during the day and come out to hunt in the night. They are predators of small insects and sometimes the larger species are capable of killing small amphibians and mice. Some scorpions, depending on the size, may just paralyze the prey by crushing them or injecting a venom. All species of scorpions possess venom that is used for their prey and as a defense against predators. Scorpions are able to consume a lot of food at one time and have very low metabolic rates making it capable of surviving long periods of time without feeding. Some are able to survive anywhere between 6-12 months of starvation.
Mature scorpions have a lifespan that is varied among the individual. The age range varies anywhere between 4-25 years apart and the actual lifespan of some species are even unknown. They undergo simple metamorphosis. Simply, scorplings (baby scorpions) look the same as their parents and they will molt as they mature. The mating process can take anywhere between just one hour to an entire day. Once the female scorpion is fertilized, the gestation period where the embryo develops can take anywhere between several months to over a year. Scorpions are once again unique amongst their arachnid cousins because they are viviparous.¬† This means that the scorplings are born one at a time. The young are carried on their mother’s back until their first molt. Until then, they will depend on her for survival by protection and regulation of moisture levels. The litter can be anywhere from just two to over a hundred scorplings, however, the average litter size is about 8 young scorpions. As the scorplings develop, they will go through multiple molts (about 7-8 molts) until they are fully mature.

Scorpions as Pests
Rather than being a nuisance and potentially harmful, scorpions actually don’t cause much damage to the home. However, like previously stated, they can potentially be very harmful, especially to very small, young children or old people. All scorpions are venomous, however, only about 25 species carry venom that is fatal to people. The bark scorpion is the species found in the United States that is dangerous to humans. Although there are no recorded deaths due to the Bark Scorpion, the sting of this scorpion can cause pain and swelling and may be fatal for small children. They enter the home from outdoors and can very well survive indoors once they are settled because of their ability to survive in most environments. They may enter homes and other buildings when their territories are disturbed or destroyed. Often times, when new construction is built over an area that was scorpion territory, they may be attracted to the buildings and forage indoors for food. Also, natural happening such as floods may cause scorpions to forage indoor for food.

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Date: Wednesday, 16. February 2011 18:20
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