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You Wouldn’t Believe How People Fought Scorpion Invasions Before The Emergence Of The Commercial Pest Control Industry

Scorpions are one of the most deadly arachnid groups that exist, as many species produce venom that can kill an adult human after making him/her extremely ill. Scorpion stings are notable for causing a wide range of highly unpleasant physical symptoms ranging from cardiac issues to bizarre neurological conditions. It is not unheard of for people to fall into comas in response to scorpion envenomation. Although venom antidotes have been developed to treat stings from some of the most dangerous scorpion species, many antivenoms have yet to be developed for addressing stings inflicted by other potentially deadly scorpion species. It is estimated that 2.5 billion people around the world are vulnerable to scorpion stings. Therefore, it is not surprising to learn that more than 1.2 million scorpion envenomations occur every year, 3,500 of which turn out to be fatal. The country with the greatest number of human deaths caused by scorpion stings is Brazil. For the past few years, deadly yellow scorpions have been moving into urban areas of Brazil for the first time in history, and this migration has caused a rash of deaths within the last year. In order to prevent yellow scorpions stings in urban areas of the country, many people have been putting chickens in backyards and around apartment buildings, as chickens are natural scorpion predators. Although this method of scorpion control may sound strange, such unorthodox control measures are not new to Brazilians.

During the early 1950s, the Brazilian city of Ribeirão Preto, which contained 80,000 residents, was invaded by deadly scorpions, resulting in widespread panic and numerous deaths. Between 1949 and 1951, over 10,000 scorpions were captured within the kitchens, bathrooms and backyards of people’s homes. In order to reduce the rate of scorpion sting fatalities in the city, a massive media campaign was launched to educate the public concerning the nature of scorpions and how to protect homes from being invaded by the arachnids. School students were subjected to daily lectures concerning the scorpion threat, and the city’s mayor enacted a program that entailed the capturing of scorpions by students. Numerous collection points were located all over the city and the mayor offered a prize to the student who succeeded in capturing the greatest number of scorpion specimens. Ironically, this particular public health campaign to protect residents from scorpion stings by reducing their numbers in the city only increased the risk of falling victim to potentially deadly stings.

Have you ever sustained a bite from any type of arachnid?

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What Factors Determine How Abundant Scorpions Will Become During The Summer In Arizona?

What Factors Determine How Abundant Scorpions Will Become During The Summer In Arizona?

Many people would agree that the creepiest arthropods in the United States can all be found within Arizona. While the state’s native tarantula species may be frightening to look at, they are largely harmless; instead, it is the scorpions you have to watch out for. The most venomous scorpion species that exists in the US, the bark scorpion, dwells within Arizona. When it comes to arachnids, the bark scorpion is the most significant threat to public health in the state. According to officials with Banner Medical Center in Arizona, scorpion-related medical issues are far more common than any other type of animal-related medical issue in the state. In other words, scorpions are more dangerous than coyotes, javelinas, and even mosquitoes.

Scorpion abundance within the state varies from year to year. Several climatic factors contribute to this annual fluctuation in scorpion population size. The early spring of 2016 saw a particularly large scorpion population emerge within Arizona, especially within the city of Phoenix. 2016 saw numerous residents sustain scorpion stings before the summer season arrived, and the amount of reported stings during this year has not yet been surpassed. Before March 5th of 2016, 588 scorpion stings were addressed at the Banner Medical Center, which marked a 46 percent increase over the previous year’s numbers.

When scorpions emerge unusually early in the year, as they did in 2016, then scorpion populations will become unusually large during the summer. Two factors made 2016 unusual in terms of scorpion abundance. The first factor was the remarkably wet January, and the second was the strangely hot February. When a new year in Arizona is met with such odd climatic conditions, then you can expect a scorpion-rich spring and summer. You can count of scorpions being abundant within Arizona no matter the year or climatic conditions. Once the weather becomes consistently warm within the state, then you should start to be mindful of scorpions in both outdoor and indoor environments.

Have you ever seen a massive group of scorpions attached to the interior or exterior walls of a house?

 

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The Largest Scorpions In The World Can Be Found In Arizona

The Largest Scorpions In The World Can Be Found In Arizona

It goes without saying that Arizona is known for its numerous arachnids, most notably scorpions and tarantulas. Any good real-estate professional in Arizona is sure to warn potential home-buyers in the state about the many local wildlife hazards that can pose a threat to residents, and arachnids are certainly one of these wildlife hazards. Although they may be a nightmarish sight and venomous, the tarantula species that are native to Arizona are next to harmless, and will not inflict bites that are any more painful than bee stings. This is not the case for another group of arachnids within the state–scorpions.

The Arizona bark scorpion is easily the most venomous scorpion species in Arizona, and while their venom is potentially deadly, very few people in the state have succumbed to bark scorpion stings since the introduction of an effective antivenom. A far less venomous, but much scarier looking scorpion species in Arizona would be desert hairy scorpions. There are numerous hairy scorpion species residing in Arizona, and hairy scorpions represent the largest family of scorpions in all of North America. These wicked looking creatures can grow to be around seven inches in length. Unfortunately, these massive scorpions are sometimes found in residential areas, and even within homes, as this scorpion group gravitates toward watered lawns and ornamental plants in order to capture and feed on their beetle prey that are also attracted to these common features of suburbia. Interestingly, desert hairy scorpions have the longest lifespan of all scorpion species worldwide. The oldest hairy scorpions die at around 25 years of age, while most specimens live for 10 to 15 years in the wild, and for 15 to 20 years in captivity. Although not territorial, desert hairy scorpions will not hesitate to attack when provoked. When properly motivated, a hairy scorpion will intimidate prey and humans by raising their legs in the air while vertically situating themselves with the assistance of their strong tail.

Have you ever found a scorpion specimen in the wild that you believe exceeded 7 inches in body length?

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Authorities Closed a Busy Street In An Effort To Protect Frightened Residents From A Scorpion That Turned Out To Be A Rubber Toy

Scorpions are the most venomous group of arachnids, but luckily, they are rarely spotted in urban areas. In the United States, the most well known scorpion species, the Arizona bark scorpion, is widespread all across the southwest. This species is well known for its highly toxic venom, which is potentially deadly to humans. The numerous other scorpion species in the US can be found within the southern half of the country.

Since scorpions avoid the daylight by hiding under rocks during the day and hunting at night, people rarely come into contact with them. It is unusual to find scorpion infestations within structures located in urban areas, but this happens on occasion during the summer months in southwestern cities. Considering the potential danger that scorpions pose to humans, scorpion sightings in urban areas are taken seriously by public health officials. For example, not long ago, residents of Lincolnshire in the United Kingdom became alarmed after learning that a scorpion had been spotted in the city’s downtown area. Several pedestrians kept their distance from the scorpion specimen as it remained motionless on sidewalk pavement. After several calls to animal control authorities by concerned and frightened residents, officials cordoned the street where the scorpion had been found. As it turned out, the panic was all for nothing, as the frightening scorpion turned out to be a rubber toy.

Animal control professional, Paula Jones, with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, received a call from a concerned resident who claimed to have seen a red scorpion on a sidewalk in the downtown area. After receiving several other similar calls from residents who had been concerned with the danger that the scorpion posed to the public, Jones had the entire busy street where the specimen was found closed-off to traffic and pedestrians. When Jones approached the alleged scorpion, she found that it was only a rubber toy, which explained why it had remained motionless during the whole ordeal. Considering that scorpions dwell in regions located far away from the United Kingdom, and that no scorpion species’ body is completely covered in a red hue, perhaps experts should have had their suspicions about this alleged scorpion sighting from the start.

Do realistic-looking toy arachnids or insects creep you out?

 

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Which Scorpion Species Are The Most Deadly?

If you have ever lived, or have gone camping in dry and arid regions, then you were likely made aware of the threat of scorpions. Although there exists a multitude of scorpion species, most of them are not life-threatening to humans. In most cases, a brutally painful sting is the worst that would happen if you were to, say, put on a shoe containing a scorpion. Many people wrongly assume that a scorpion’s body size is indicative of their venomous potential. Apparently, the bigger the scorpion, the more venomous people assume it to be. Although large-bodied scorpions may be the scariest scorpions to look at, body size is not, in any way, indicative of a scorpion’s venom-toxicity. For example, the emperor scorpion can grow to be a whopping eight inches in length, but they are relatively safe. In fact, many people keep emperor scorpions as pets. However, there are a few scorpion species that can, indeed, cause human fatalities.

The most venomous scorpion species in the world may be the Indian red scorpion. This species is typically cited by experts as being the most dangerous scorpion to humans. Victims of Indian red scorpion stings will likely experience nausea, heart problems, discoloration of the skin, and, in more severe cases, pulmonary edema, which is an accumulation of fluid in the lungs. Pulmonary edema causes shortness of breath and it can lead to death. Luckily, a drug known as prazosin can decrease mortality rates from these stings.

If you want to know which scorpion sting is among the most painful, look no further than the aptly named “deathstalker scorpion.” This scorpion species is considered one of the most dangerous in the world. Sting victims will experience increased heartbeat, high blood pressure, and even convulsions and coma. Children, the elderly and immunocompromised individuals can die as a result of this scorpion’s sting. Finally, there is the Arabian fat-tailed scorpion. This scorpion species has been known for killing children and people with heart conditions. For those not afflicted with a heart condition, the worst that will happen upon receiving a sting from a fat-tailed scorpion include unconsciousness, hypertension and seizures. If medical treatments are not sought out within a seven hour timeframe, death is likely to result from this scorpion’s sting.

Have you ever sustained a sting from a scorpion?

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You Would Not Believe What The World’s Most Venomous Scorpion Sting Can Do To A Small Child

The venom of an Indian red scorpion is, by far, the most toxic of all scorpion venoms, even more so than the venom produced by the notorious deathstalker scorpion and the Arizona bark scorpion. In addition to being the most toxic, and therefore, the most deadly form of venom, red scorpion venom, when injected into a human, causes physical symptoms more rapidly than any other scorpion venom. These scorpions pose a serious threat to villagers in India, as transportation is usually not available to these populations and small villages are normally located far from medical facilities where red scorpion stings can be treated. Most victims of red scorpion stings are Indian adults living in small agrarian villages, as most villagers go barefoot while working on local farms, therefore increasing the chances of contact between bare skin and red scorpions. Also, since these rural villages are lacking in modern construction and other forms of urban development, red scorpions dwell in close proximity to villagers and their homes. In addition to being the most scorpion affected group of people in India, rural villagers also die from red scorpion stings at greater rates than other Indian populations, as rural villagers often choose to address their scorpion stings by visiting local spiritual healers as opposed to visiting a medical facility, as urban residents almost always do. By visiting local spiritual healers before seeking modern medical aid, sting victims sometimes die before arriving at a hospital. While most red scorpion sting victims are adults, it is not uncommon for children, toddlers and even babies to be stung by these scorpions. As you can imagine, children suffer far worse than adults in response to a red scorpion sting.

A 2016 study described how being administered a common medicine called prazosin dramatically lowered the death rate of children stung by Indian red scorpions. Although prazosin has saved many lives, young victims of red scorpion stings almost always experience a range of terribly painful and life-threatening physical symptoms. These symptoms include pedal edema (the buildup of fluid in the legs and feet), pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), liver enlargement and cardiac failure. These symptoms are not uncommon. In fact, out of 40 children who had been hospitalized after sustaining a red scorpion sting, 80 percent experienced peripheral circulatory failure, and 15 percent developed myocarditis (swelling of the heart). One child also arrived to the hospital already dead, as his parents visited a spiritual healer first. Strangely, 5 percent of these children experienced priapism, which occurs when blood fails to exit the erectile tissues. This condition, unless treated in time, can result in lifelong impotence in males.

Have you or anyone you know ever sustained a scorpion sting of any kind? If so, was it medically serious?

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The Most Venomous Scorpion Species Is Not The One You Think

The Most Venomous Scorpion Species Is Not The One You Think

The United States is home to numerous scorpion species, the most dangerous of which is the Arizona bark scorpion. Despite this species’ highly toxic venom, it is not the most dangerous species known to exist in the world. For those who fear scorpion bites, be thankful that you do not live in India, which is home to the world’s most dangerous scorpion species.

It is often claimed that the notoriously venomous and aptly named deathstalker scorpion is the most dangerous scorpion species to humans, and while an argument can be made to support this claim, many experts would insist that the Indian red scorpion deserves the title of the world’s most deadly scorpion. As its common name suggests, this scorpion species is mainly found in India, but populations are also found in neighboring Pakistan and Nepal.

The Indian red scorpion sting can cause a plethora of unpleasant symptoms such as  nausea, heart problems, discoloration of the skin, and in some cases, pulmonary edema, which is an accumulation of fluid in the lungs. The chances of dying from a red scorpion bite depends on the amount of venom injected into a wound, but in many cases, stings are fatal. However, when the blood pressure medication called prazosin is administered to sting victims within a quick enough timeframe, fatality rates decrease to only 4 percent. Deaths from Indian red scorpion stings most often result from fluid buildup within the lungs, which is certainly not a pleasant way to go out. Despite this species being well studied for several decades, experts are still not sure as to how the venom triggers such violent physiological reactions in humans and other animals. This species of scorpion is rarely encountered in Pakistan and Nepal, but unfortunately for citizens of India, red scorpions are often found nesting near human settlements.

Have you ever encountered a potentially deadly arachnid of any species in the wild?

 

 

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Scorpions Stings Are A Major Public Health Concern In Many Countries

A recent survey found that scorpions are more commonly feared than spiders, at least when it comes to American college students. This fear is justified, as scorpion related health emergencies are far more common than medical emergencies involving spiders and insects. In fact, scorpion stings are even more prevalent than snake bites. Here in the United States, scorpions are by no means rare, as there exists numerous different scorpion species dwelling along the southern most American states from California and Arizona, where scorpion species are most diverse and abundant, to North Carolina and Tennessee. The farther east one travels along the southern US border, the more benign scorpion species become. While there exists two scorpion species in the US that have the potential to kill humans, the most dangerous scorpion species is undoubtedly the Arizona bark scorpion. Although the rate of scorpion related injuries is high in the US when compared to other arthropod fatalities, the countries of Africa, India, the Middle East, Mexico, and South America see much higher scorpion fatality rates.

When taking the entire world into account, the annual rate of scorpion stings is around 1.2 million and 3,250 of these stings result in death. To put this in perspective, for every person killed by a snake, ten people are killed by a scorpion sting. The country of Mexico has a particularly high rate of scorpion related fatalities, as these fierce looking arachnids take the lives of 1000 people every year in the country. Considering that the US shares a border with Mexico, one would think that the rate of scorpion fatalities would be be as high in the US as it is in Mexico, but this is not the case, as only 4 scorpion related deaths have occured in the US during the past 11 years. California and Arizona see the greatest number of scorpion related hospital visits, while the scorpion species in the southeast US are largely harmless and rarely seen.

Have you ever spotted a scorpion species in the southeast US?

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Researchers Discover Three New Scorpion Species That Make “Hissing” Sounds To Scare Away Predators

Researchers Discover Three New Scorpion Species That Make “Hissing” Sounds To Scare Away Predators

During the summer of 2017, a group of researchers discovered three new species of club-tailed scorpions in South America and the Caribbean. Two of these new species, Ischnotelson peruassu and Physoctonus striatus, were discovered in Brazil, and the third, Rhopalurus ochoai, was found in Venezuela. All club-tailed scorpions, including the three newly discovered species, are notable for having large bodies, striking colors and the ability to intimidate enemies by making a “hissing” sound.

The three new scorpion species were described in a recent study authored by Lauren Esposito, curator of archaeology at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Considering the rapid rate of deforestation and other environmental issues affecting arthropod habitats in South America and the Caribbean, Esposito is determined to protect club-tailed scorpions from further population declines. Finding the three new species was not easy, as Esposito and her colleagues had to search for club-tailed specimens at night with the assistance of ultraviolet lights. Club-tailed scorpions, like the vast majority of scorpion species, are active at night, which is why the team used UV lights to track the creatures down. When scorpions are exposed to UV light, their exoskeletons produce a bright blue-green glow. The research team spent weeks looking beneath rocks, within caves and near rivers for new bush-tailed species. GPS coordinates marked every location where new specimens were discovered, which allowed the researchers to trace the specimens back to their home environment.

Although most bush-tailed scorpion species are rarely encountered in the wild, they are, nevertheless, well known for their disturbing ability to “hiss” at their enemies. It is important to note that bush-tailed scorpions do not produce this hissing sound in the same way that Madagascar hissing cockroaches produce their signature hissing sounds. Rather than emitting sounds by releasing air through spiracles, bush-tailed scorpions produce hissing sounds in a manner similar to how crickets and cicadas produce their signature sounds. Bush-tailed scorpions rub specialized body parts together in order to produce an audible hiss, which sounds quite similar to the hiss produced by Madagascar hissing cockroaches. The scorpion species that is most well-known for producing a hissing sound is the Opistophthalmus glabrifrons species. This species is more commonly known as the shiny burrowing scorpion or the yellow-legged creeping scorpion, and they dwell within several African countries.

Have you ever heard an arachnid produce an audible sound of any kind?

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Researchers Have Created The Most Reliable Evolutionary Tree Of Scorpion Species By Analyzing Their Venom

Researchers Have Created The Most Reliable Evolutionary Tree Of Scorpion Species By Analyzing Their VenomAbout Pest Control in Phoenix, Gilbert, Mesa, Queen Creek

As far as most people are concerned, scorpion species generally look the same. They all have pincers and a stinger that is attached to the end of a menacing looking tail. The only variance between scorpion species may be body size and color, but beyond these two features, what other physical traits vary across scorpion species? As it happens, this question is still being asked by many entomologists and evolutionary biologists working today. This is because a reliable evolutionary tree detailing scorpion evolution has never been accurately mapped out. Creating a family tree of existing scorpion species is difficult because very little phenotypic variation exists between the more than 2,000 scorpion species that have been documented and described by scientists. This is surprising considering that scorpions have adapted to living in a variety of different types of environments in all continents in the world except for Antarctica. Most other arthropods that are species-rich and widely distributed have developed unique physical traits in order to adapt to new environments, but scorpions have maintained a similar physical appearance for the 300 to 400 million years in which they have existed. However, one determined researcher recently created the first accurate and comprehensive evolutionary tree of scorpion species by analyzing the molecular shape of different venoms.

A postdoctoral researcher at the University of Wisconsin in Madison created an evolutionary tree of scorpion species by using available genetic information. However, genetic data was not sufficient for creating a comprehensive family tree of scorpions. This inadequate first map led Lopez to analyze the 3D structure of the molecules in the venom of different scorpion species. Basically, Lopez created a second tree that mapped out different venoms and their relative similarities and differences to one another. By applying this second map to the first map of genetic relatedness between available scorpion DNA samples, Lopez succeeded in mapping out the evolutionary family tree of scorpions. The shape of different venom molecules also indicates the particular prey-animals that each scorpion species is adapted to hunt. This information could be used to geographically map-out various scorpion habitats around the world.

Did you know that scorpions are one of the oldest arachnid species known to humankind?