scorpions not only adapted they
flourished as the earth cooled they found niches to exploit eons past
continent shifted civilizations rose and fell in the 21st century
scorpions crawl the earth unscathed they are living fossils unaffected and
oblivious to change and as air conditioning now allows humans to build
their homes in deserts and jungles encounters with scorpions will only
increase living together safely depends on understanding the habits of these
remarkable animals scorpions now radiate across the entire planet on all major
land masses except Antarctica more than 2,000 different species have evolved to
accommodate wildly differing habitats from rainforests to mountaintops to
sun-baked deserts they’ve got what it takes to survive in the most severe and
extreme environments scorpions could even feel at home in a
post nuclear wasteland radiation capable of wiping out almost all other
life-forms seems to have little effect on them wherever they find themselves they are
masters at discovering a way to meet their needs they are continuing victors
in the evolutionary arms race as their prey has evolved defenses the
Scorpion has evolved better weapons of attack walking across the sands of southeastern
Arizona the giant desert hairy scorpion it’s the largest scorpion in North
America in this arid environment the desert Harry searches for its prey small
lizards crickets mean even the tarantula the local tarantula is a species known
as the desert blonde a tarantulas eyesight is rudimentary not nearly keen
enough to spot the parsley concealed scorpion gripping the log with its tiny
claws the tarantula manages an escape it’s a warm windless night perfect
hunting conditions for the desert scorpions but for this tarantula
it’s like navigating a minefield on a night like this it’s only hope is to
find refuge in a burrow of its own the desert hairy tunes into its surroundings
waiting to sense the smallest vibration a slight motion behind it prompts an
attack resistance is quashed with a quick injection of venom the Scorpion maneuvers the tarantula to
consume it headfirst a clue to the Scorpion survival lies in
its archaic Anatomy the parts are rudimentary but remarkably efficient ancient fossils show that little has
changed for hundreds of millions of years although there are slight
variations from one species to the next the basics are always the same the main
body is covered by a hard carapace or plate impermeable to water and able to
expand across its joints claws are used for capturing and crushing prey these
powerful petter pumps combine the sensitivity of antennae with the
grasping ability of a pair of pliers jalisa rye or jaws are like tiny pincers
used for chewing and consuming prey their to center eyes and up to five
pairs of lateral eyes provide only rudimentary vision unique
to scorpions our sensory organs call Peck teens that protrude on either side
underneath the body they comb the ground giving the scorpion chemical clues to
its environment the articulated tail and its crowning glory the stinger throughout human history the Scorpion
has been feared and reviled because they’re nocturnal their habits were
always shrouded in mystery and people assumed the worst
scorpions were considered agents of the devil or the underworld
and even today few people think of scorpions as anything less than
terrifying but the truth about scorpions is only just emerging it was in the late
1960s that a startling discovery thrust scorpion research on an enormous leap
forward all species of scorpions fluoresce under ultraviolet light the
glow is caused by a substance in the outer layer of the Scorpions body this
glowing layer is so durable that it’s often found in scorpion fossils hundreds
of millions of years old and it’s still flores’s no one yet knows the function of this
feature but it’s allowing researchers to find and study scorpions as they roam
through the dark scorpions our evolutionary success stories what is
their secret to survival is it their foolproof Anatomy their ability to adapt
or is it something else entirely the answer may lie in the hunt a
scorpion is an unflinching assassin with merciless pincers and a venom charge
stinger a hungry scorpion is built to kill hunting strategies have been honed
to perfection from this Deathstalker is engaged in the hunting method of choice
for almost all species of scorpion hunkering down in a protected borough
seems an unlikely place for a seasoned killer but evolution teaches lasting
lessons hunting for prey can be done just as easily from the safety of your
doorstep this asian forest scorpion is one of the many species that prefers
home delivery from its bunker a scorpion can check out the evenings offerings after dark a parade of nocturnal
creatures erupts onto the desert floor it could well be the cast from a
nightmare these night crawlers are enticed out by the evenings lower
temperatures and cooling desert sands it’s only a matter of time before one
will venture across a Scorpions burrow door with no time to react this wolf
spider is dragged into the scorpions lair a feast can take several days and may be
enough to sustain a scorpion for months although a burrow is preferable every
once in a while a scorpion may decide to stretch its legs this giant desert hairy
is one a few species known to venture out for food like all scorpions the
desert Harry is able to detect prey using the incredibly sensitive hairs on
its legs even a mealworms subtle movements create vibrations through the
ground the hairs act like sophisticated sensors
picking up the tiny waves as the grains of sand shift the waves hit the hairs of
each leg at slightly different intervals this information is processed quickly
telling the scorpion the direction and exact distance of its prey this meal
worm may as well be holding a flashing neon sign with such a lethal skillset a
scorpion rarely needs to venture far from its burrow whether it’s an ambush
or an attack the hunt is only the beginning armed with weapons of destruction the
method scorpions used to kill their prey varies from species to species a nation forest scorpion moves silently
through the humid jungles of Burma this species has found throughout the tropics
of Southeast Asia it tracks across the damp forest floor
searching for a crevice large enough to fit its menacing frame geckos are night hunters they scour
burrows for insects and grubs this small lizard is painfully unaware of the trap
that waits before it Asian forest scorpions rarely use their stinger
equipped with incredibly strong claws they prefer to crush their prey to death
the merciless grip folds the gecko into submission in the damn dark confines of
its burrow this scorpion will require days to consume its catch uniquely
designed membranes in the torso expand like an accordion to accommodate the
feast with a large meal like this the scorpions bodyweight can increase by
more than 1/3 if the pincers of the Scorpion are
particularly small and narrow chances are the tail is powerful and
packed with venom for these scorpions a quick sting maybe
all that’s required to finish off an adversary the Sun drops down over the
Kalahari Desert disappearing before the night’s dramas unfold the burrowing
scorpion native to southern Africa is on the hunt the scorpions stand stock still sensing
motion nearby an unwary cricket walks into ready claws the scorpion carries
its prey like a trophy moving to a more secluded area for feeding but its prey
isn’t willing to go quietly a matter-of-fact delivery of paralyzing
venom ends this cricket story the jaws like miniature claws are used to
masticate its prey nothing is wasted as with all arachnids digestion begins
outside the mouth enzyme rich juices from the gut are secreted onto the food
before it’s ingested it’s a slow methodical process of tearing the chili
and swallowing and it will last well into the morning a desert in northwestern Mexico is home
to this vinegaroon which looks like a cross between a giant
ant and a scorpion like most other arachnids the vinegaroon makes its
rounds at night when the desert sands are cooler and many large predators are
fast asleep unlike scorpions this creature is not
venomous but it’s long whip-like tail can still pack a punch when irritated a
vinegar like liquid shoots out the end of the tail it’s like built-in pepper
spray always ready for intruders a carnivore the vinegaroon hunts down prey
in crevices and small burrows but every so often it knocks at the wrong door a giant desert hairy wastes no time in
welcoming this guest in with its body and tail tightly gripped the vinegaroon
has no means of defense with little ceremony the methodical feeding begins because they’re such successful hunters
scorpions rarely need to practice their art in any given habitat only a tiny
fraction of the scorpion population feeds on any one night the remainder are
hidden in their burrows waiting to ambush or just digesting their latest
conquest scorpions have survived longer than almost any other terrestrial
species what is it about this no-nonsense creature that gives it
lasting power skillful hunting built-in weaponry far these traits just
the beginning scorpions are generally non social
solitary animals most interaction only occurs when the young or when they hunt
one another as prey but once in a while an instinct even greater than hunger
overpowers the lives of these invertebrates
reproduction it begins with a chemical invitation sent by a female a male’s
Peck Dean’s that organ unique to scorpions sweep the ground
intermittently eventually picking up the scent of a female ripe for mating this
message triggers a complex encounter that’s been a popular subject of study
for biologists around the world unlikely lovers scorpions are unique in
their mating techniques courtship is a long drawn-out affair a
pas de deux that’s full of ritual and sexual gymnastics the details of this
dance vary from species to species but mating can last anywhere from 1 to
36 hours this pair of slender brown scorpions
demonstrate their variation of the ancient dance the mail sometimes locks
and massages the females jaws with his own it’s a scorpion style kiss and often
serves to subdue the female’s natural aggression a sexual sting can occur in
the throes of passion the male puncturing the female with his tail it’s
a dramatic but harmless gesture and scientists still don’t understand its
purpose during courtship both male and female scorpions display a distinctive
shaking motion called jittering this is a sign that mating is in high
gear but there is nothing sentimental about it for this dance is purely
mechanical the male deposits a bundle of sperm on the ground the dance little
more than a drawn-out tug-of-war is actually the male carefully drawing the
female towards the bundle this takes time patience and diplomacy and for good
reason upsetting the female could get the male eaten by his mate males are capable of mating more than
once in a short period of time they can produce new sperm bundles in less than a
week and start the dance all over again with a different partner a pregnant
female will stay that way anywhere from 3 to 18 months depending on food supply
and temperature if it’s very cold the gestation period can double if she’s
unable to find food during her pregnancy she’ll reabsorb the embryos to survive a single pregnant female transported into
an unfamiliar habitat can start a whole new colony many parts of the world are
only home to certain species because of a pregnant scorpion accidentally stowed
on a cargo ship babies arrive one by one fully formed after birth they’re
immediately hoisted on to their mothers back the number of offspring varies but
it can be anywhere from 1 to over 100 a female scorpion with a large litter can
give birth continually for days this is a Scorpions most vulnerable time if it’s
separated from its mother at this very early stage it will become dehydrated
and die almost 30 babies are supported by this
centroids gracilis they’re sustained by a nutrition filled liquid secreted from
their mothers back compared to other arthropods scorpions invest a remarkable
amount of time and energy into their brood this early period of hand-holding
may give the animal the headstart it needs to last in the wild but the free
ride lasts only until the first molt usually within a week or two after birth
if they stay longer than this grace period they risk being eaten by their
own mother once the young are independent they will mold periodically
until they reach adulthood they usually shed their skin five or six times before
they reach maturity but it’s a long treacherous road to adulthood the
hazards of adolescents come in all shapes and sizes an assassin bug is a
predator with the skill of a seasoned hitman a young scorpion new to the ways
of the world naively walks into the arms of this
killer with speed and precision the assassin bug injects its victim with a
lethal toxin that rapidly dissolves tissue the Arizona bark scorpion found in the
southwestern United States ventures into the desert night although it’s
relatively small this species is highly toxic the Scorpion wonders at its peril its
enemies include large spiders bats and lizards all of which are plentiful in
the desert environment this young scorpion will learn that the
great outdoors are full of surprises and sticky situations a tangled spider’s web draws the Arizona
bark scorpion into its weave a tugging from below alerts the web’s mistress to
the catch this unlucky scorpion has found its way into the silky web of a
black widow spider the most venomous spider in North America her venom is 15
times more powerful than that of a prairie rattlesnakes within minutes the
scorpion is bound in the powerful webbing pulling free is more difficult
than it looks this happens to be one of the strongest spider silks in existence unlike other webs the Black Widows is
notoriously erratic and tangled looking making it difficult to spot this
scorpion has wandered into a death trap she uses her legs to skillfully knit the
Scorpion into submission the oily tips of the Black Widows feet
keep her from getting caught up in her own web the Scorpion kicks the air and a futile
attempt to escape the spider doesn’t miss a bead movements are stifled as the
Scorpion is bound on all sides the spider works with deadly efficiency
suspending her catch in a silky cocoon she carries her prey away from the
ground clear of other hungry predators she injects venom and digestive juices
into the scorpion the toxin kills the prey and liquefies its flesh this meal
is prepped wrapped and standing by scorpions are a shining example of
evolutionary success what has allowed them to survive the test of time a high
rate of procreation a protective mother or is the key to their survival
something completely different dusk washes over the foothills of
southeastern Arizona for scorpions brave enough to look a host of dangerous
predators are on the prowl wild peccaries travel in small herds
constantly searching for something to satisfy their hunger as the fierce
Desert Sun fades away Jim peccaries kick into high gear razor-sharp k-19 have
earned them the name javelina the Spanish word for spear a unique flat
disc at the tip of their nose is used for routing and lifting logs always in
search of food it’s this feature that puts hiding scorpions at risk against
this menacing backdrop scorpions have managed to thrive
in the average desert there’s a scorpion every two square yards or meters some
deserts support ten times this amount masters of the art of self-preservation
scorpions have developed an ingenious patchwork approach to living in the
midst of danger laying low is a favorite survival strategy a deceptively simple
means of staying alive hiding in a crevice is an easy way of avoiding
predators if a proper pearl isn’t available digging one is always an
option this rototilling Fury can excavate soil
for hundred times its own body weight a flat rock scorpion can adjust its tail
to squeeze into the tiniest of hideaways some species of scorpion will spend
their entire life in a well built burrow hoping for dinner to wonder by a borough is a refuge from the
relentless heat of the desert Sun Life a few inches below the ground is a little
cooler and a little more humid on the hottest of days it can be the only means
of staying alive of course other refuge seeking creatures
are thinking the same thing a vinegaroon sprays its trademark
vinegar like mist at a nesting scorpion the acid is strong enough to temporarily
blind its target even Homebase can have its hazards if the Scorpion does decide
to venture out it will usually do so under the cover of night when most
predators are asleep even the most active species will only spend one in
five nights away from the Burrow for the most part scorpions are loners not known
for their social skills and when they’re hunting company is the last thing they
need a spiny Mouse scuttles across the grasslands of Eastern Tanzania
gregarious and rarely still this rodent scours the ground for food nearby a
shiny burrowing scorpion is looking for prey of its own notoriously curious the
mouse investigates this species of scorpion has acquired a very direct
means of letting a guest know they’re not welcome enthusiasm unabated the spiny Mouse
comes back for a second look a strong defensive posture and an increasingly
agitated hiss drive the point home hisses are easily irritated and quick to
defend their personal space it’s usually enough to ward off a predator or an over
friendly rodent no time for self-pity when the stomach is empty the diet of
this mouse varies according to where it lives
but in this bare-bones desert environment anything edible will suffice
a mealworms potting pace is no match for the quick reflexes of its predator
squirming and struggling only served to provide the mouse with some sport before
dinner scorpions may owe their staying power to
a forgiving metabolism when food is scarce a scorpion can enter a state of
near hibernation to survive the metabolic rate of a root vegetable like
a carrot or beet is faster than that of a dormant scorpion
at this rate they can get by on one meal a year enabling them to survive in some
of nature’s most inhospitable environments when hunting is favorable
again they simply wake up becoming active predators instantly a similar
survival trick occurs in species that live at high altitudes or northern areas
these scorpions have the ability to withstand sub-zero temperatures without
their circulatory fluid becoming solid or crystallized it’s a logic-defying
mechanism that allows them to survive in harsh sub-zero temperatures for months
at a time this scorpion was completely frozen less than 12 hours ago
as its environment warms up the Scorpion thaws and simply walks away undamaged
and ready to hunt and sometimes the easiest meal may be the next of kin
cannibalism has also evolved as a survival tool where prey is few and far
between eating each other is a fine way to tide things over in some nocturnal
species younger scorpions will deliberately hunt in the day to avoid
being hunted down by their more experienced elders at night the South African fantail scorpion roams
the desert and scrublands of Mozambique and South Africa it’s a large species
that stores an ample amount of venom gerbils are perfectly adapted for the
desert they retain water well and are excellent diggers a born investigator
this gerbil is attracted by anything out of the ordinary a fat tail just my
qualifying otherwise known as the spitter this
scorpion responds to threats by shooting venom from its tail the spray can reach
a victim one meter away curiosity hasn’t served this terrible well the slight bit
of spray isn’t lethal but is strong enough to reroute the rodent when
exposed to the unforgiving light of day scorpions enjoy another basic trait of
self-preservation camouflage each species is color-coded to blend into the
background of its habitat the androgynous Australis is found in
the desert regions of Africa and Asia it’s a small but powerful species it’s incredibly potent venom makes the
androgynous one of the most lethal scorpions in the world it shares the
arid African savanna with the monitor lizard a daytime hunter with long sharp claws and extremely
strong jaws this is a predator to be reckoned with the lizard’s long slit tongue a
sophisticated sensory organ scans the ground for the scent of prey vulnerable
in the late afternoon light the androgynous has ventured a distance from
its burrow it scrambles away looking for cover monitors swallow their prey whole
this lizard will devour anything it’s capable of gulping down the lizard has
detected a presence now it’s just a matter of stalking the scorpion the Scorpion is deadly but it can’t
outmaneuver a predator this large and agile its only hope is to stop running
and hide behind its camouflage evolve to perfectly blend into the background the
Scorpion is rendered invisible only inches away
the lizard still can’t make out its prey but sometimes even age-old survival
methods crumble in the face of the right adversary a muscular neck and strong jaws destroy
all signs of life the androgynous is consumed whole an unceremonious end
to the light of a lethal scorpion but the Scorpion leaves a parting gift
the ingested venom courses through the lizard’s blood to its nervous system
this reptile is rendered helplessly a mobile for more than 12 hours scorpions
are unapologetic survivors how have they managed to thrive in some of the
harshest places on earth is it they’re elastic metabolism their
arsenal of defense tactics or do they rely on an entirely different
strategy the Scorpion is one of the most reviled creatures on earth a symbol of
death since the earliest of times for many people scorpions can trigger a
deep-seated primordial fear most of the fear centers around the telson or
stinger that sits at the end of the scorpion tail this single body part has
horrified humans for centuries and for good reason the telson delivers the
Scorpions venom capable of killing prey and unlucky predators alike the venom is
a complex cocktail of proteins and neurotoxins specially designed to
destroy once the stinger punctures the skin the venom rushes through the
circulatory system for this victim death comes quickly the venom of some species
is 100,000 times more lethal than cyanide the base of the stinger contains
a pair of glandular sacs that produce and store the venom the sacs are
controlled voluntarily so the scorpion can regulate how much venom is injected
with each sting the stinger itself is a lot like a hypodermic needle it’s hollow
and very very sharp it’s also partly metallic about 1/4 of the stinger is a
blend of zinc manganese and iron a pair of openings near the tip of the stinger
delivers the venom the slender brown scorpion is a
far-reaching species extending from the Americas to Western Africa it’s a
medium-sized scorpion with a preference for the tropics a red rump tarantula
picks its way across the moist forest floor it’s a juvenile too young to
anticipate the dangers standing by the slender pincers of a gracilis get to
work but the tiny pincers have their limit this scorpion relies on its agile tail
to deliver the death blow the poison quickly takes effect
paralyzing some limbs inducing small convulsions and others before long the
tarantula is dead using his versatile claws to position its dinner the
gracilis settles in for a long meal venom varies from species to species
one venom may be toxic to insects another to mammals another to
crustaceans depending on habitat and the prey available each species has evolved
its own target specific trademark venom to survive and some species don’t rely
much on their venom at all if their venom is weak
a scorpion will often have evolved a thin tail and giant pincers for crushing
prey but small pincers and a thick tail full of venom raise the red flag in the
United States the most dangerous species is the Arizona bark scorpion this
scorpion roams the arid temperate areas of the American Southwest if threatened
it will unleash a series of quick jabs with its tail the venom is potent
shooting through the body like an electrical current of the more than 2,000 species of
scorpions fewer than 25 are lethal to humans and of this group only a small
percentage of their attacks result in death but it’s a deceiving statistic
despite the odds scorpion still managed to kill thousands of human beings every
year the severity of the steam depends on the toxicity of the species and the
size of the victim the first effects of a sting are
localized with intense pain and tingling at the site of the hip the more toxic
the venom the more dramatic the effects the pain radiates into the body the
tongue and throat grow numb and begin to swell the chest begins to tighten as the
body struggles to fight the poison a highly toxic venom will rip into the
central nervous system it brings convulsions fever and the potential of
death a fighter a recluse a killer the Scorpion triggers our most primitive
fears but still earns our respect they’ve survived the test of time by
brilliantly adapting their behavior and Anatomy to accommodate all extremes by
blending a prehistoric simplicity with the nurturing skills of modern mammals
they’ve defied the odds and thrived with a track record like there’s
scorpions could well last a hundred million more years just a blink of an
eye or rather a flick of the tail for this remarkable species the Scorpion it’s infamous appearance
can mean danger even death the Scorpion is a finely
tuned hunter and an unflinching assassin the venneman and stay are able to subdue
even the most dangerous prey but getting past its well-earned reputation reveals
that the Scorpion is an exceptional survivor even a caring parent with
powers far beyond its notorious team for scorpions survival has always been
the primary motivator 450 million years ago when plants were first colonizing
land scorpions made their debut these were giant aquatic creatures their
sprawling bodies supported by the shifting waters of a planet in
transition within the next hundred million years
scorpions crawled onto land one of the first aquatic species to become
terrestrial it was a hostile environment scorpions not only adapted they
flourished as the earth cooled they found niches to exploit eons past
continents shifted civilizations rose and fell in the 21st century
scorpions crawl the earth unscathed they are living fossils unaffected and
oblivious to change and as air conditioning now allows humans to build
their homes in deserts and jungles encounters with scorpions will only
increase living together safely depends on understanding the habits of these
remarkable animals scorpions now radiate across the entire planet on all major
land masses except Antarctica more than two thousand different species have
evolved to accommodate wildly differing habitats from rainforests to
mountaintops to sun-baked deserts they’ve got what it takes to survive in
the most severe and extreme environments scorpions could even feel at home in a
post nuclear wasteland radiation capable of wiping out almost all other
life-forms seems to have little effect on them wherever they find themselves they are
masters at discovering a way to meet their needs they are continuing victors
in the evolutionary arms race as their prey has evolved defenses the
Scorpion has evolved better weapons of attack walking across the sands of southeastern
Arizona the giant desert hairy scorpion it’s the largest scorpion in North
America in this arid environment the desert
Harry searches for its prey small lizards crickets mean even the tarantula the local tarantula is a species known
as the desert blonde a tarantulas eyesight is rudimentary not nearly keen
enough to spot the parsley concealed scorpion gripping the log with its tiny
claws the tarantula manages an escape it’s a warm windless night perfect
hunting conditions for the desert scorpions but for this tarantula it’s like
navigating a minefield on a night like this it’s only hope is to find refuge in
a burrow of its own the desert hairy tunes into its surroundings waiting to
sense the smallest vibration a slight motion behind it prompts an attack resistance is quashed with a quick
injection of venom the Scorpion maneuvers the tarantula to
consume it headfirst a clue to the Scorpion survival lies in
its archaic Anatomy the parts are rudimentary but remarkably efficient ancient fossils show that little has
changed for hundreds of millions of years although there are slight
variations from one species to the next the basics are always the same the main
body is covered by a hard carapace or plate impermeable to water and able to
expand across its joints claws are used for capturing and
crushing prey these powerful pedo pumps combine the sensitivity of antennae with
the grasping ability of a pair of pliers jalisa rye or jaws are like tiny pincers
used for chewing and consuming prey their to center eyes and up to five
pairs of lateral eyes provide only rudimentary vision unique
to scorpions our sensory organs call Peck Dean’s
that protrude on either side underneath the body they comb the ground giving the
scorpion chemical clues to its environment the articulated tail and its
crowning glory the stinger throughout human history the Scorpion
has been feared and reviled because they’re nocturnal their habits were
always shrouded in mystery and people assumed the worst
scorpions were considered agents of the devil or the underworld
and even today few people think of scorpions as anything less than
terrifying but the truth about scorpions is only just emerging it was in the late
1960s that a startling discovery thrust scorpion research on an enormous leap
forward all species of scorpions fluoresce under ultraviolet light the
glow is caused by a substance in the outer layer of the Scorpions body this
glowing layer is so durable that it’s often found in scorpion fossils hundreds
of millions of years old and it’s still flores’s no one yet knows the function
of this feature but it’s allowing researchers to find and study scorpions
as they roam through the dark scorpions are evolutionary success
stories what is their secret to survival is it their foolproof Anatomy their
ability to adapt or is it something else entirely
the answer may lie in the hunt a scorpion is an unflinching assassin with
merciless pincers and a venom charge stinger a hungry scorpion is built to
kill hunting strategies have been honed to perfection
this Deathstalker is engaged in the hunting method of choice for almost all
species of scorpion hunkering down in a protected borough
seems an unlikely place for a seasoned killer but evolution teaches lasting
lessons hunting for prey can be done just as easily from the safety of your
doorstep this asian forest scorpion is one of the many species that prefers
home delivery from its bunker a scorpion can check out the evenings offerings after dark a parade of nocturnal
creatures erupts onto the desert floor it could well be the cast from a
nightmare these night crawlers are enticed out by the evenings lower
temperatures and cooling desert sands it’s only a matter of time before one
will venture across a Scorpions burrow door with no time to react this wolf
spider is dragged into the scorpions lair a feast can take several days and may be
enough to sustain a scorpion for months although a burrow is preferable every
once in a while a scorpion may decide to stretch its legs this giant desert hairy
is one of few species known to venture out for food like all scorpions the
desert hairy is able to detect prey using the incredibly sensitive hairs on
its legs even a mealworms subtle movements create vibrations through the
ground the hairs act like sophisticated sensors
picking up the tiny waves as the grains of sand shift the waves hit the hairs of
each leg at slightly different intervals this information is processed quickly
telling the scorpion the direction and exact distance of its prey this meal
worm may as well be holding a flashing neon sign with such a lethal skillset a
scorpion rarely needs to venture far from its burrow whether it’s an ambush
or an attack the hunt is only the beginning armed with weapons of destruction the
method scorpions used to kill their prey varies from species to species a nation
forest scorpion moves silently through the humid jungles of Burma this species
has found throughout the tropics of Southeast Asia it tracks across the damp forest floor
searching for a crevice large enough to fit its menacing frame geckos are night hunters they scour
burrows for insects and grubs this small lizard is painfully unaware of the trap
that waits before it Asian forest scorpions rarely use their stinger
equipped with incredibly strong claws they prefer to crush their prey to death
the merciless grip folds the gecko into submission in the damn dark confines of
its burrow this scorpion will require days to consume its catch uniquely
designed membranes in the torso expand like an accordion to accommodate the
feast with a large meal like this the scorpions bodyweight can increase by
more than 1/3 if the pincers of the Scorpion are
particularly small and narrow chances are the tail is powerful and
packed with venom for these scorpions a quick sting maybe
all that’s required to finish off an adversary the Sun drops down over the
Kalahari Desert disappearing before the night’s dramas unfold the burrowing
scorpion native to southern Africa is on the hunt the scorpions stand stock still sensing
motion nearby an unwary cricket walks into ready claws the scorpion carries
its prey like a trophy moving to a more secluded area for feeding but its prey
isn’t willing to go quietly a matter-of-fact delivery of paralyzing
venom ends this cricket story the jaws like miniature claws are used to
masticate its prey nothing is wasted as with all arachnids the Jess chin begins
outside the mouth enzyme which juices from the gut are secreted onto the food
before it’s ingested it’s a slow methodical process of tearing the chewy
and swallowing and it will last well into the morning a desert in northwestern Mexico is home
to this vinegaroon which looks like a cross between a giant ant and a scorpion like most other arachnids the vinegaroon
makes its rounds at night when the desert sands are cooler and many large
predators are fast asleep unlike scorpions this creature is not
venomous but it’s long whip-like tail can still pack a punch when irritated a
vinegar like liquid shoots out the end of the tail
it’s like built-in pepper spray always ready for intruders a carnivore the
vinegaroon hunts down prey in crevices and small burrows but every so often it
knocks at the wrong door a giant desert hairy wastes no time in welcoming this
guest in with its body and tail tightly gripped the vinegaroon has no means of
defense with little ceremony the methodical feeding begins because
there’s such successful hunters scorpions rarely need to practice their
art in any given habitat only a tiny fraction of the scorpion population
feeds on any one night the remainder are hidden in their
burrows waiting to ambush or just digesting their latest conquest scorpions have survived longer than
almost any other terrestrial species what is it about this no-nonsense
creature that gives it lasting power skillful hunting
built-in weaponry are these traits just the beginning scorpions are generally non social
solitary animals most interaction only occurs when young or when they hunt one
another as prey but once in a while an instinct even greater than hunger
overpowers the lives of these invertebrates
reproduction it begins with a chemical invitation sent by a female a male’s
Peck Dean’s that organ unique to scorpions sweep the ground
intermittently eventually picking up the scent of a female ripe for mating this
message triggers a complex encounter that’s been a popular subject of study
for biologists around the world unlikely lovers scorpions are unique in
their mating techniques courtship is a long drawn-out affair a
pas de deux that’s full of ritual and sexual gymnastics the details of this
dance vary from species to species but mating can last anywhere from 1 to
36 hours this pair of slender brown scorpions
demonstrate their variation of the ancient dance the mail sometimes locks
and massages the females jaws with his own it’s a scorpion style kiss and often
serves to subdue the female’s natural aggression a sexual sting can occur in
the throes of passion the male puncturing the female with his tail it’s
a dramatic but harmless gesture and scientists still don’t understand its
purpose during courtship both male and female scorpions display a distinctive
shaking motion called jittering this is a sign that mating is in high
gear but there is nothing sentimental about it for this dance is purely
mechanical the male deposits a bundle of sperm on the ground the dance little
more than a drawn-out tug-of-war is actually the male carefully drawing the
female towards the bundle this takes time patience and diplomacy and for good
reason upsetting the female could get the male eaten by his mate males are capable of mating more than
once in a short period of time they can produce new sperm bundles in less than a
week and start the dance all over again with a different partner a pregnant
female will stay that way anywhere from 3 to 18 months depending on food supply
and temperature if it’s very cold the gestation period can double if she’s
unable to find food during her pregnancy she’ll reabsorb the embryos to survive a single pregnant female transported into
an unfamiliar habitat can start a whole new colony many parts of the world are
only home to certain species because of a pregnant scorpion accidentally stowed
on a cargo ship babies arrive one by one fully formed after birth they’re
immediately hoisted on to their mothers back the number of offspring varies but
it can be anywhere from 1 to over 100 a female scorpion with a large litter can
give birth continually for days this is a Scorpions most vulnerable time if it’s
separated from its mother at this very early stage it will become dehydrated
and die almost 30 babies are supported by this
centroids gracilis they’re sustained by a nutrition filled liquid secreted from
their mothers back compared to other arthropods scorpions invest a remarkable
amount of time and energy into their brood this early period of hand-holding
may give the animal the headstart it needs to last in the wild but the free
ride lasts only until the first molt usually within a week or two after birth
if they stay longer than this grace period they risk being eaten by their
own mother once the young are independent they will mold periodically
until they reach adulthood they usually shed their skin five or six times before
they reach maturity but it’s a long treacherous road to adulthood the
hazards of adolescents come in all shapes and sizes an assassin bug is a
predator with the skill of a seasoned hitman a young scorpion new to the ways
of the world naively walks into the arms of this
killer with speed and precision the assassin bug injects its victim with a
lethal toxin that rapidly dissolves tissue the Arizona bark scorpion found in the
southwestern United States ventures into the desert night although it’s
relatively small the species is highly toxic the Scorpion wanders at its peril its
enemies include large spires bats and lizards all of which are plentiful in
the desert environment this young scorpion will learn that the
great outdoors are full of surprises and sticky situations a tangled spider’s web draws the Arizona
bark scorpion into its weave a tugging from below alerts the web’s mistress to
the catch this unlucky scorpion has found its way into the silky web of a
black widow spider the most venomous spider in North America her venom is 15
times more powerful than that of a prairie rattlesnakes within minutes the
scorpion is bound in the powerful webbing pulling free is more difficult
than it looks this happens to be one of the strongest spider silks in existence unlike other webs the Black Widows is
notoriously erratic and tangled looking making it difficult to spot this
scorpion has wandered into a death trap she uses her legs to skillfully knit the
Scorpion into submission the oily tips of the Black Widows feet
keep her from getting caught up in her own web the Scorpion kicks the air in a futile
attempt to escape the spider doesn’t miss a beat movements are stifled as the
Scorpion is bound on all sides the spider works with deadly efficiency
suspending her catch in a silky cocoon she carries her prey away from the
ground clear of other hungry predators she injects venom and digestive juices
into the scorpion the toxin kills the prey and liquefies its flesh this meal
is prepped wrapped and standing by scorpions are a shining example of
evolutionary success what has allowed them to survive the test of time a high
rate of procreation a protective mother or is the key to their survival
something completely different dusk washes over the foothills of
southeastern Arizona for scorpions brave enough to look a host of dangerous
predators are on the prowl wild peccaries travel in small herds
constantly searching for something to satisfy their hunger as the fierce Desert Sun fades away
peccaries kick into high gear razor-sharp k-19 have earned them the
name javelina the Spanish word for spear a unique flat disc at the tip of their
nose is used for routing and lifting logs always in search of food it’s this
feature that puts hiding scorpions at risk against this menacing backdrop
scorpions have managed to thrive in the average desert there’s a scorpion every
two square yards or meters some deserts support ten times this amount masters of
the art of self-preservation scorpions have developed an ingenious patchwork
approach to living in the midst of danger laying low is a favorite survival
strategy a deceptively simple means of staying alive hiding in a crevice is an easy way of
avoiding predators if a proper burrow isn’t available digging one is always an
option this rototilling fury can excavate soil
400 times its own body weight a flat rock scorpion can adjust its tail to
squeeze into the tiniest of hideaways some species of scorpion will spend
their entire life in a well built burrow hoping for dinner to wander by a borough is a refuge from the
relentless heat of the desert Sun Life a few inches below the ground is a little
cooler and a little more humid on the hottest of days it can be the only means
of staying alive of course other refuge seeking creatures
are thinking the same thing a vinegaroon sprays its trademark
vinegar like mist at a nesting scorpion the acid is strong enough to temporarily
blind its target even Homebase can have its hazards if the Scorpion does decide
to venture out it will usually do so under the cover of night when most
predators are asleep even the most active species will only spend one in
five nights away from the Burrow for the most part scorpions are loners not known
for their social skills and when they’re hunting company is the last thing they
need a spiny Mouse scuttles across the grasslands of Eastern Tanzania
gregarious and rarely still this rodent scours the ground for food nearby a
shiny burrowing scorpion is looking for prey of its own notoriously curious the
mouse investigates this species of scorpion has acquired a very direct
means of letting a guest know they’re not welcome enthusiasm unabated the spiny Mouse
comes back for a second look a strong defensive posture and an increasingly
agitated hiss drive the point home hisses are easily irritated and quick to
defend their personal space it’s usually enough to ward off a predator or an over
friendly rodent no time for self-pity when the stomach is empty the diet of
this mouse varies according to where it lives
but in this bare-bones desert environment anything edible will suffice
a mealworms potting pace is no match for the quick reflexes of its predator
squirming and struggling only served to provide the mouse with some sport before
dinner scorpions may owe their staying power to
a forgiving metabolism when food is scarce a scorpion can enter
a state of near hibernation to survive the metabolic rate of a root vegetable
like a carrot or a bean is faster than that of a dormant scorpion at this rate
they can get by on one meal a year enabling them to survive in some of
nature’s most inhospitable environments when hunting is favorable again they
simply wake up becoming active predators instantly a similar survival trick
occurs in species that live at high altitudes or northern areas these
scorpions have the ability to withstand sub-zero temperatures without their
circulatory fluid becoming solid or crystallized it’s a logic-defying
mechanism that allows them to survive in you you