Details for World of Wonder 8/19

SUNDAY, AUGUST 18, 2019

SCORPIONS
Exploring the realms of history, science, nature and technology

About
400 million
years ago
early scorpions were very
large and had
gills, suggesting they lived
in water.

Scorpion are arachnids and close relatives
of spiders, mites and ticks. All arachnids
have eight legs. There are approximately
1,750 species of scorpions worldwide.

Habitats

Although scorpions are thought
of as desert animals, they exist
in a variety of other habitats.
Grasslands and savannahs,
deciduous forests, some pine
forests, rainforests and caves
are homes to many species of
scorpions.
Scorpions have been found
under snow-covered rocks at
elevations over 12,000 feet in
the Andes Mountains of South
America and the Himalayan
Mountains of Asia.
About 90 species exist in the
United States, and all but four
of these are naturally found
west of the Mississippi River.
Scorpions hide during the day
under rocks and in holes in
the ground before emerging at
night to feed.

Anatomy 101

Scorpions range in size from 0.3 inches (9 mm) to 9 inches (23 cm). All scorpions
have a venomous stinger.
M5
Metasoma
(5 segments)
M4

Dinnertime

Scorpions are nocturnal
(active at night), predatory
animals that feed on insects,
spiders, centipedes and other
scorpions. Larger scorpions
may feed on small lizards,
snakes or mice.
Scorpions can eat huge
amounts of food at one time
and store it in a special organ.
Combined with a low metabolism and an inactive lifestyle,
this allows them to survive six
to 12 months without eating if
they need to.

Anus

Telson
(venom bulb)

Scorpions have fine sensory hairs called
trichobothria to sense vibrations in the
air. The tips of the legs each have a small
organ to detect vibrations in the ground.
Aculus
(stinger)

All scorpions
glow pastel green
or blue under
ultraviolet light.

M3

M2

Cephalothorax
(fused head and thorax)

Eyes
Chelise
(mouth
parts)

M1
Opisthoma
(abdomen)

Venom

The venom of a scorpion is
used to capture prey and for
defense. The venom is a complex mixture of neurotoxins
(toxins that affect the victimʼs
nervous system) and other substances; each scorpion species
has its own unique mixture.
Just one species in the United
States and about 20 others
worldwide have venom potent
enough to be considered dangerous to humans. The most
dangerous scorpions live in
North Africa, the Middle East,
South America, India and
Mexico.

The baby
scorpions
live on their
mother’s
back.

The Indian
red is one
of the most
lethal scorpion
species.

Scorpions have
four pairs of
walking legs.
Pedipalps
(pincers)

Blue (or red) scorpion
Rhopalurus junceus
Size: 2.2 to 3.9 inches (55–100 mm)
Found on the islands of Cuba and Dominican
Republic and parts of Central America.

Indian red scorpion
Hottentotta tamulus
Size: 2 to 3.5 inches (50–90 mm)
Commonly found across India,
parts of Pakistan and Nepal.
Scorpions are eaten by
Highly venomous, it has
fatality rates of 8% to 40%. tarantulas, lizards, birds
and some mammals.
Emperor scorpion
Pandinus imperator

Stripe-tailed scorpion
Hoffmannius spinigerus
Size: Up to 2.4 inches (60
mm); Arizona and southwestern New Mexico

Bringing up baby

The breeding season almost
always occurs during the warm
months (late spring through
early fall). Males may travel
long distances to find females,
which they do by scent.
Before mating, the male and
female scorpion begin a
complicated courtship. During
the courtship, the male leads
the female he has chosen in a
sideways and backward dance.
After this ritual, the pair mate.
Both males and females may
mate repeatedly. Some females
can even mate while carrying
newborn scorpions.
Unlike almost all other animals
(except mammals), the female
scorpion is able to keep fertilized eggs in her body for long
periods of time (from several
months to a year) before the
young are born alive.
The female gives birth to about
25 young. Birthing can last
several hours to several days.
The baby scorpions are born
live and immediately move onto
their mother’s back as soon
as they are born. They stay on
her back for up to 50 days, until
they molt (shed outgrown skin)
for the first time. Then they
climb down to live an independent existence.
Scorpions molt up to seven
times as they grow to full size.
Scorpions can live from three to
five years, although some may
live for 10 to 15 years.

Did you know?

Fried scorpion is a traditional
dish in some areas of China.
In ancient Egypt, the goddess
Serket was often depicted
as a scorpion, one of several
goddesses who protected the
Pharaoh.

Average size:
7.9 inches
(200 mm)

Scorpions can be found on all
continents except Antarctica.
Scorpions are highly resistant
to radioactivity.

Native to rainforests and
savannas in West Africa.

SOURCES: World Book
Encyclopedia, World Book Inc.;
http://www.sciencekids.co.nz;
https://www.thoughtco.com;
https://www.scorpsweep.com;
https://www.coolkidfacts.com

Popular in the pet trade,
this scorpion lives
for six to eight years.

Scorpions have poor eyesight.
Scorpion babies are called
scorplings.

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© 2019 Triefeldt Studios, Inc.
Distributed by Andrews McMeel Syndication

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