- The scientific name of scorpion is Scorpionidae.
- Scorpion is one of the most famous and unique kinds of arachnids along with spiders, the scorpion is not an insect !!
- Scorpion is an arachnid and so has 8 walking legs.
- It is an amazing pet and very exciting to look at.
- They are found almost everywhere except the polar regions.
- Mostly seen in tropical regions.
- Violent love: scorpion mating is dangerous for both parties.
- Most scorpions are loners because of their cannibalistic tendencies.
- When two scorpions meet, they usually fight until one is killed and eaten by the winner.
- After mating, the smaller scorpion is often in danger of being eaten. As females are usually bigger, it is the male which usually gets eaten.
- The male and female find each other through pheromones, using their pectines.
- The male usually makes the first move, although some females do so. He usually has a complex courtship display to ensure the female knows he is one of her kind and not lunch.
- Some males “judder” (rapid rocking, shaking movements) to advertise his species (Vejovoides, Nebo).
- Some males sting the female, possibly with pheromones, sedatives or other species identificators.
- Others club the female with their tails.
- Some males (Hadogenes) have ridiculously longer tails than females, suggesting that the length is important more for mating than hunting.
- Deadly dance: During mating, scorpion mating organs don’t meet. Often, the male grasps the female’s pincers in his and they tug at each other (although many do the dance together without touching).
- During this dance, the male drops his sperm packet and the female takes it up in her genital opening. The manoeuvres may be to find a suitable spot for the male to drop his sperm packet, and to move the female over the packet correctly.
- The sperm packet has a holdfast to stick to the ground, and hooks which when caught on the female, opens the packet and directs the sperm into her body.
- They often “kiss”: their mouthparts meet, or touch each other sting-to-sting. After she accepts his sperm packet, they disengage, often violently.
- The smaller scorpion (usually the male) tries to make a quick getaway. Many times, the escape is not successful.
- Scorpion babies: Scorpions are among the few arthropods that don’t lay eggs.
- In some, the female can store sperm until she is ready to fertilise her eggs.
- The fertilised eggs develop into embryos in brood chambers within the mother’s body.
- Nutrients are transferred from the mother’s digestive system to the embryos, but not through a placenta like in mammals. “Gestation” is quite long: it can take several months to more than a year before the young are “born”.
- In some, the babies are fully formed but their skin remains white and soft until their second moult.
- In others, the babies look like fat white maggots with tiny pincers. They only look like scorpions after their second moult, when they get the right shape and their exoskeleton turns dark and hard.
- The Emperor scorpion reaches a length of 23cm or 9 inches (the Guiness Book of Records).
- The Heterometrus swammerdami grows to 25-30cm or 11.5 inches (Guiness Book of Records), while Opstophthalmus gigas from the northern Cape and Namibia attains a length of 16cm or 6 inches and probably outweighs the Ischnurid, Hadogenes troglodytes, the world longest scorpion at 21cm or 8.5 inches, that weighs 32 grams.
- Longest: male Hadogenes troglodytes at 20cm or so. but they are not the biggest because they are flat.
- Biggest (heaviest): Pandinus from Central Africa, and Heterometrus from Indochina, which may reach 17cm.
- 3 – 8 years, some up to 10-15 years.
- Longest lived is Urodacus yashenkoi at 24 years.
- Metamorphosis: Incomplete, no egg or pupal stage. 6-90 young are born live, after a long gestation period, from a few months to a year.
- Maturity in 7 months to 3 years.
- They are carnivorous.
- They eat insects (e.g. crickets, crocroaches, worms) and occasionally pinkie mice.
- Scorpions eat mainly insects, spiders, centipedes. Larger scorpions may eat lizards, small snakes, mice.
- Scorpions are cannibals, meaning that they often eat each other.
- In some species, adult scorpions are the main predator of scorpion babies.
- Scorpions sense in-coming prey by air and ground vibrations. To kill the prey, a scorpion seizes the prey in its pincers then injects venom with its tail to kill or paralyse it.
- A large scorpion may just rip the prey up.
- Scorpion can only eat liquid food. So to eat its prey, it breaks the exoskeleton and spits digestive juices into the prey to liquefy the prey’s insides.
- Some scorpions shred their prey, put the bits into a cavity just below their first legs and spit or secrete digestive enzymes onto the prey.
- They wait until the prey’s tissues liquefy then suck up the fluids.
- Terrestrial; usually in hot and arid desert areas, while some are found in grasslands.
- All live on land. Most are found in arid regions, but they are found in a wide range of habitats.
- A master survivor, scorpion can survive in the harshest climates, many can go without food for a long time, some up to a year.
- This is because they can eat a huge amount in one sitting.
- They also have among the lowest metabolic rates among “cold blooded” creatures and thus need less food to survive.
- Many can go without water indefinitely, getting all their moisture from their food.
- Scorpions that live in dry places dig burrows to create a safe, moistier micro-climate.
- They use their pincers to dig these burrows, some up to 1m deep. These burrows are often also used as a trap, into which insects accidentally fall.
- Due to the fact that they do not need to eat frequently, and 80% of the time, scorpions are in their hiding place or are less than 1m away.
- They are so secretive and mainly active at night, scorpions don’t have elaborate camouflage.
- During the daytime, they hide in their burrows, in crevices or hang under rocks or branches.
- Scorpions that live on the dark rainforest floor may be active during the day.
Cage and Housing
- The cage should be wide instead of tall.
- Make sure it is escape-proof.
- The substrates can be sand, gravel, soil, moss or barks.
- The substrates should be at least 2 inches (5cm) deep for burrowing scorpions, low to mid humidity.
- A small water dish can be left inside the vivarium but not all the time.
- If it is housed without water dish, slightly mist the substrates with water about once to twice a week.
- A hiding place such as caves is essential for its privacy, security and sleep during the day.