Centruroides Scorpion with closeups of pectine organ and face

scorpion1opt

Scorpion-Pectine-Organ1opt

scorpion2opt

Most scorpions don’t need to use their stingers for killing prey.  If the menu consists of another insect, scorpions are normally quick enough to snatch  and dismember it with their pincers, dissolve the body parts with enzymes from their mouth, then ingest what remains.

Depending on the species, a scorpion can have from 2-12 eyes, though in spite of this, their vision is subpar compared to other insects.  Scorpions rely on abdominal sensory organs called pectines to sense fine chemical details in their environment.  Pectines have the appearance of small legs with feathery appendages, and transmit chemosensory and mechanosensory information to the scorpion’s brain.

In North America scorpions are more widespread than most people realize.  They are typically nocturnal hunters, though in hotter climates they will move around at any hour to seek out cooler resting quarters.  In the Southwest, scorpions are common household pests, posing a threat to curious children, pets, and anyone unlucky enough to step on or near one.  With the exception of the Arizona Bark Scorpion however, the venom from most species is not any more harmful than a wasp or hornet sting.  Interestingly, the source of home invasions by scorpions is often tree branches that overhang a house’s roof.  Scorpions climb the trees, loose their grip or are blown off, and fall down to the roof.  Once on the hot roof surface, they quickly scoot into attics through eaves and vents in search of cooler surroundings.

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