There’s an arms race underway in the Sonoran
desert Mouse vs. scorpion Locked in a battle of one upmanship, each
animal evolving better, stronger chemical defenses against the other. Consider the Arizona bark scorpion. Its tail contains the most powerful venom
of any scorpion in the United States, delivering white hot electrical pain. This sting sends hundreds of people to the
hospital each year. That venom isn’t just potent… It’s sophisticated. Researchers at The California Academy of Sciences
in San Francisco are studying how this venom became increasingly complex over time
to deal with the threats scorpions face. They milk the scorpion. They use a piece of
wax paper to coax it into stinging. That droplet contains a complex brew of chemicals,
including neurotoxins that quickly paralyze prey, like this cricket…. But venom also serves as a powerful defense…
against being eaten That’s… where the mouse comes in. Do not be fooled by its cuteness. The southern grasshopper mouse is a ferocious
hunter, which is rare among mice. And it’s got a taste for scorpion. Which would seem like a death wish. But it
isn’t. Scientists at Michigan State University are
studying how the battle unfolds — not just physically, but at a chemical level. This mouse is on the attack. But the scorpion… is not having it. See how it keeps stinging the mouse? For any other animal — including you or me
— this would hurt. Badly. And for a second, with the grasshopper mouse,
it does. See how it’s rubbing its face? But after a brief moment of pain, its nerves
go numb. Most animals its size would be dead by now. But the grasshopper mouse has evolved a specific
defense against scorpion venom. A protein built into the mouse’s nerve cells
— binds to the toxin. It blocks it. Instead of creating pain and paralysis, the
toxin does the opposite. It acts like a painkiller — an analgesic. After the first couple stings, the mouse barely
feels anything… Bad news for the scorpion. Researchers think this trick could point the
way to more precise pain medications for people, with fewer side effects. Once upon a time, the scorpion’s venom was
enough to protect it. But today — in this desert arms race — the
mouse has the upper paw. At least for now. Hi, it’s Amy. So this… is what scorpions look like when
you shine a UV flashlight on them. They’re fluorescent. Why this is? is a mystery. But it does make it easier for researchers
to find them at night, which is when scorpions are active. Deep Look episodes are easier to find if you click
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when fresh stories are up. Til next time, thanks for watching!