Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Florida Nature: Scorpions

Scorpions vary in size from one to four inches long. These crab-like animals are dark brown, have a broad flattened body, and ten legs. The front pair of legs is modified into claw-like pincers which are used to hold their prey. A scorpion's most noticeable feature is their curled fleshy tail.  It is usually held over their body.  The scorpion tail ends in an enlarged upturned tip that ends in a stinger. The sting is used for defense as well as for capturing prey.

Scorpion venom is a nerve poison, but the dose injected usually is not enough to kill adults. While no Florida scorpions are capable of inflicting a lethal sting, those that have had scorpion stings report that it is very painful, probably more so than a wasp sting.  Scorpions rarely sting humans except when pinned against the skin, such as under clothes or when trapped in bed sheets.  The site of the sting may be sore and swollen for some time.  An antivenin is available for severe reactions to scorpion stings.

Scorpions like to hide outside under boards, rubbish, or other areas that provide shelter and protection. They are a nuisance especially in recently built homes. These predators are active at night, and do their share to reduce pests in and around the home.  Another interesting feature about scorpions is that they glow under ultraviolet lights – so get out the black lights to help track them down.

The Hentz striped scorpion is the most common and smallest of the three species of scorpions found in Florida. The average size of this scorpion is  2-2 3/4 inches. This scorpion is found statewide, except the Florida Keys. The Hentz striped scorpion is dark brown to tan, often striped with greenish yellow along midline above. Some species have greenish-yellow parallel stripe on each side of cephalothorax.  Hentz striped scorpions have a slender abdomen that is pale or dark according to species; they also have a tooth beneath the venom bulb. Hentz Striped Scorpions live in dark crevices under bark, stones, and litter on the ground, and on dry abandoned dirt roads. Although no one is ever glad to see a scorpion in or near the home, the upside to the Hentz striped scorpion is that they love to eat cockroaches!

No comments:

Post a Comment