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|A black scorpion|
Scorpions are eight legged venomous arachnids. They have a long body with an extended tail with a sting. The average adult scorpion reaches approximately 3 inches in length. The longest scorpion on earth is the African Scorpion, which can reach a total length of 9 inches. There are over 1,300 species of scorpions worldwide.
Survival in the desert[change | change source]
Scorpions have developed many ways to survive in the desert. They have developed the ability to slow down their metabolism. This allows them to survive on as little as one insect per year. This ability also allows them to shelter from the sun and heat for extended periods of time, using only little amounts of oxygen. Many people also believe that their claws, or pincers, were once front legs that have turned into what they now are by going through evolution. Nevertheless, the scorpions' claws play a crucial part in their hunting and mating rituals. Scorpions also possess a special, feather-like pair of organs, called pectines that they use to sense even the smallest of movements around them. This allows them to effectively track down and hunt their prey, either above or below the surface. This also warns them of possible dangers, such as other bigger hunters. The scorpion’s most feared and recognized feature is its sting. The sting contains a neurotoxin, which the scorpion uses to paralyze the victim, so it would be easier to kill and eat. They also stay hidden under rocks and that makes their body temperature cool.
Physical features[change | change source]
Prosoma[change | change source]
This is the scorpion’s head, the carapace, the eyes, the mouthparts, the claws (or pedipalps), and four legs.
Mesosoma[change | change source]
The front half of the abdomen is made up of six segments. The first segment contains the sexual organs and the other organs which are used in the scorpion’s mating ritual. The second segment contains the feather like pectines, which are used to sense movement in the air and ground. The final four segments each contain a pair of book lungs, which are the lungs found in arachnids, the mesosoma is armored by an extra layer. This extra layer is made up of chitinous plates, which are the plates usually found in the cell walls of fungi, and the exoskeletons of insects and arachnids.
Metasoma[change | change source]
This is the scorpion’s tail, and the second half of its opisthosoma. A scorpion’s sting is made up of six segments, ending in the telson, or the sting. The telson itself holds the vesicle, which is the gland containing the scorpion’s venom. The scorpion’s venom is classified as neurotoxic in nature. This means that it can be used to either kill or paralyze the victim. The general rule is that the smaller the claws of the scorpion, the more deadly the venom is, as scorpions with deadly venoms do not need their claws, while those with not-so-deadly venom need to rely on their claws more, so they are bigger and stronger.
Cuticle[change | change source]
This is the scorpion’s tough exterior. It is partially covered by hairs that help the scorpion keep balance. The cuticle is also covered by hyaline layer, which makes them fluoresce green when exposed to ultraviolet light. This layer does not appear on newly molted scorpions, appearing only on hardened and matured cuticles. This hyaline layer can be found intact inside fossils that are millions of years old.
Breeding cycle[change | change source]
The mating ritual of scorpions begins when the male and female connect claws. After this they verify that the other scorpion is of the same species, and is the opposite gender. After this, the male leads the female around until it finds a suitable spot to deposit its spermatophore. Once the male has found a suitable spot, he guides the female over it, where it enters her and fertilizes her. The mating ritual can take anywhere between 1 and 26 hours, depending on the male’s ability to find a suitable spot. Only a scorpion that has reached maturity may go through the mating ritual. A scorpion reaches maturity after it has gone through 5 to 7 moults.
Relationships with others[change | change source]
Scorpions are an independent species, only relying on their mother until they reach maturity. It is not uncommon for a scorpling to kill another one of its siblings in a competition for food. How a scorpion chooses its mate is not certain, but many predict it is a random event, depending on chance meetings.
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