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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?

 

 

 

 

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A Dangerous Scorpion Was Found Hiding In Cargo Before It Could Establish A Potentially Devastating Invasive Presence On A Highly Populated Island

A Dangerous Scorpion Was Found Hiding In Cargo Before It Could Establish A Potentially Devastating Invasive Presence On A Highly Populated Island

Every region of the world contains invasive insects. Invasive insects are non-native insects that have the ability to establish a presence, and reproduce, within a foreign land. Invasive insects can have a tremendously negative impact on the ecosystems that they inhabit. In addition to being environmentally damaging, invasive insects can also pose a threat to public health and can be economically disastrous as well. For example, here in America, the highly destructive Formosan subterranean termite is invasive. Formosan termite colonies reproduce more rapidly than native termite colonies, and they are responsible for at least one billion dollars in damage every year in America alone. While Formosan termites may only cause economic and, to a lesser extent, environmental damage in America, Africanized honey bees are a perfect example of invasive insects that pose a threat to public health in the US.

Although invasive insects are bad news in any region, island ecosystems are more negatively affected by the presence of invasive species than larger areas of land. This is because an island’s wildlife and vegetation evolved independently from the plant and animal life on continents. Invasive insects on islands are not held in check by natural predators. In these situations, invasive insects can hunt native island-wildlife into extinction. Invasive insects on islands are particularly alarming when the invasive insect or arachnid in question is naturally aggressive by nature. Recently, a scorpion was spotted and removed from cargo destined for Bermuda. By spotting this scorpion before the cargo left for the island of Bermuda, a potentially disastrous economic and environmental catastrophe may have been averted.

The residents of many islands around the world, Bermuda included, are urged by the government to be on the lookout for invasive species. Once the scorpion was spotted among cargo destined for Bermuda, the man who found the arachnid immediately called government employed environmental officers who cleared the rest of the cargo. In response to the important find, Mark Outerbridge, a wildlife ecologist at the government’s environment and natural resources department, publicly thanked the staff members who spotted the scorpion, as they may have saved Bermuda from an environmental disaster. The species of scorpion spotted within the cargo was the dangerous striped bark scorpion that is native to North America.

Have you ever spotted a striped bark scorpion in the wild?

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Where In The World Are Scorpions Most Dangerous?

Public health threats vary from country to country, and this is true for vector-borne health threats as well. For example, mosquitoes are one of the leading causes of death in Africa and wasps are major killers in Asian countries. Here in America, ticks are the arthropods to fear, as thirty thousand people per year fall ill as a result of contracting lyme disease. While many people may assume that disease-spreading arachnids, like ticks, are a rarity, scorpions are considered a major public health threat in tropical and subtropical regions all over the world, including the United States. This is not surprising, as scorpions have a wide distribution across the globe.

The rate of medical incidents involving scorpions differs from country to country and depends on numerous factors such as socioeconomic status, residential status, availability of health services, and the geographical distribution of species. Scorpions pose the greatest threat to public health in African, Middle Eastern, and Central American countries. Scorpions are by no means rare in the US, and the arachnids cause the greatest amount of medical incidents and deaths in Mexico, which is alarmingly close to America. Every year, 300,000 scorpion stings are reported in Mexico, and many of these cases turn out to be fatalities. Back in 1995, 7000 scorpion stings were recorded in Brazil, and despite having anti-venom in abundance, 1 percent of these stings resulted in death. Both Morocco and Tunisia report 40,000 scorpion related medical incidents each year. India is currently home to a staggering 86 percent of all scorpion species known to exist. Scorpion stings in children result in death 3-22 percent of the time. When taking the entire world into account, 1.2 million scorpion stings are reported annually, and of these cases, 3,250 deaths result. This means that for every person killed by a snake bite, ten are killed by a scorpion sting.

If you sustained a scorpion bite would you visit the hospital even if you did not immediately develop symptoms?

 

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Why Is Scorpion Venom The Most Valuable Liquid Substance On Earth?

Many people have heard the rumor stating that scorpion venom is the most valuable liquid in the world, but is this really true? And if it is, then what makes scorpion venom so special? While it is true that scorpion venom is highly valuable, it should be kept in mind that there are over 2,000 scorpion species in the world, and not all of them produce venom that is sought after. Of the many forms of scorpion venom that are valuable, the prices vary in accordance with the species. That being said, possessing a gallon of any type of valued venom can net you millions of dollars. At the moment, the venom produced by the dreaded deathstalker species is the most valuable. One gallon of deathstalker venom is worth 39 million dollars. The dangerousness of this particular scorpion species is the main reason for the high price of its venom.

Before you decide to go into the scorpion venom business, you should know that a full gallon of scorpion venom would take a very long time to procure. Milking scorpions for their venom is a difficult undertaking, as milking is still done almost exclusively by hand. One scorpion produces only two milligrams of venom at a time. Also, scorpion venom is not purchased in large amounts, as 130 dollars buys a single droplet of venom that is smaller than a grain of sugar. To put this in perspective, if you own one pet deathstalker scorpion, you would have to milk it 2.64 million times before obtaining a full gallon. Even if you had all the time and patience in the world, simply sustaining one sting from a deathstalker scorpion would likely discourage you from ever coming near one again, as their stings are reported as being one hundred times more painful than a bee sting. Deathstalker scorpion venom is also deadly enough to kill a human, and fatalities are not at all rare in many Arab and African countries.

Scorpion venom is fetching top dollar due to its medically valuable chemical components. For example, chlorotoxin binds to cancer cells located in the brain and spinal cord, which allows medical professionals to determine the exact size and location of cancerous tumors. Another component in scorpion venom known as Kaliotoxin is successfully being used to fight bone disease in rats, and researchers are hopeful about its successful application in humans. As a result of this medically promising research, many entrepreneurs are attempting to take part in the emerging economy of scorpion venom. Not long ago, a tech company developed the first milking machine that can extract scorpion venom with tremendous efficiency and none of the human labor.

After reading this blog article, do you feel inclined to enter the lucrative world of scorpion venom sales?

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Experts Cannot Figure Out Why A Scorpion Species Produces A Narcotic-Like Venom

Experts Cannot Figure Out Why A Scorpion Species Produces A Narcotic-Like VenomScorpion Control Gilbert

For thousands of years, humankind has been exploring the use of plants and herbs as forms of medicine. Many of today’s pharmaceuticals are extracted from plants or are modeled after compounds found in plants. Since plants have been around for hundreds of millions of years, it is not surprising to learn that many plant species contain compounds that are similar to the compounds found in many animals and humans. However, arthropods, such as insects, arachnids and crustaceans, are nearly as old as plants, which indicates that arthropods may also contain compounds that could serve a medicinal purpose. Although you would think that scientists have been busy analyzing different insect species in order to determine their usefulness in the field of medicine, you would be wrong. In fact, medical researchers have only recently started to explore the composition of spider and insect venoms as well as their internal bodily compounds. So far, it is going well, as one scientist has recently found that the venom produced by a particular scorpion species is composed of molecules that are structurally similar to opiates and cocaine.

For 40 years, the researcher Lourival Possani Postay has been studying scorpions from every corner of the earth. Most of this time was spent in search of a scorpion venom that has medicinal value. Finally, Postay found it in a species known as Megacormus gertschi, or the Hidalgo scorpion, as it is commonly known. As it turns out, the venom of a Hidalgo scorpion contains an alkaloid that is similar to alkaloids that are produced by plants, and the drug known as morphine as well as other illicit substances. As useful as this discovery will prove to be, researchers are still unsure as to why this scorpion species produces a narcotic-like alkaloid. This alkaloid may be useful for subduing prey, but this theory needs more evidence before it can be entertained by other medical professionals. The venom also contains compounds called vanillin and histamine, which are contained within allergy medications. Back in 1996, Postay won a nobel prize for his medical research into scorpion venom.

Have you ever heard about victims of scorpion stings report odd neurological effects?

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People Are Putting Dangerous Scorpions On Their Faces For A Bizarre Mass Ritual In India

It would take a lot to convince a person to pick up a scorpion. A person’s reluctance to pick up, or even approach scorpions is perfectly understandable; after all, scorpions are venomous, and some species have even been known to kill humans. It could be said that as far as arachnids go, scorpions are one of the most dangerous and fierce of all species. Unfortunately, scorpion-handling is a required practice in some religions, as the arachnids are commonly worshipped in various Asian regions. For example, many people living in India worship the scorpion goddess known as Kondammai. As far as these worshippers are concerned, it is sinful to be afraid of scorpions. This is why the most pious worshippers of Kondammai choose to demonstrate their love of the goddess by allowing scorpions to crawl on their bodies. Many followers of this belief system fearlessly place scorpions into their mouths in order to prove their virtue and adherence to this particular eastern faith.

Every year, the majority of Hindus in India take part in an annual snake-worshipping festival known as Naga Panchami. Although much of India takes part in this annual festival, not all Hindus choose to worship the snake on this day. Instead, followers travel to a different location within the country in order to worship scorpions. This festival brings adherents to a particular hill located in Kandakoor known as Chellina Beta, or Scorpion Hill. After men, women, children and the elderly pray to the scorpion goddess atop the hill, they begin to indulge themselves by playing with nearby scorpions that are abundant in the area. Most adherents allow the scorpions to crawl anywhere on their bodies, and the bravest place them into their mouths with the belief that the scorpion goddess will protect them from attack. Although adherents claim that nobody has ever been stung, others find this claim dubious. However, no fatalities have ever been officially reported during the festival. Despite the clear danger associated with such religious practices, the number of attendees increases substantially with each passing year.

Would you place a scorpion into your own mouth for any amount of money?

 

 

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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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A Woman Returning Home From Vacation Was Stung By A Scorpion That Had Snuck Into Her Suitcase

A Woman Returning Home From Vacation Was Stung By A Scorpion That Had Snuck Into Her SuitcaseScorpion Control Gilbert

Everyone needs a vacation every once in a while, and what better place to visit than sunny Costa Rica? Tropical regions are popular tourist destinations despite the uncomfortably high humidity levels, terrifying wildlife and the many biting bugs. Unless you have been living under a rock for the past three years, South and Central America, as well as the Caribbean, have recently seen outbreaks of multiple types of mosquito-borne diseases. During the years of 2015 and 2016 most victims of mosquito-borne disease in these regions had contracted the Zika virus, although yellow fever and a few other diseases were by no means uncommon. However mosquitoes are not the only arthropods to fear when visiting a tropical paradise. Some of the most venomous arachnids in the world inhabit regions of South and Central America, and Costa Rica is certainly home to many of these dangerous arachnids. However, as long as tourists are careful, dangerous arachnid encounters are not likely to occur, and at least you know you will be safe from dangerous bugs once you return home. Well, probably safe anyway, as one woman recently sustained a bite from a scorpion that had hitched a ride in her suitcase. The scorpion had traveled with the female tourist from its native home in Costa Rica all the way to southern England.

The female scorpion victim, who has not yet been named by media outlets, was rushed to the hospital after she had sustained the sting. Scorpions do not exist within the United Kingdom, which is why the paramedics who arrived at her home were initially incredulous about the woman’s claims during the emergency call. However, doctors later confirmed that the woman had sustained a scorpion sting, but she was released from the hospital, as the particular species of scorpion that bit her is not dangerous to humans. There exists twenty five different scorpion species in the world that possess venom capable of killing a human. Luckily for the female traveler, none of Costa Rica’s fourteen scorpion species possess venom that is deadly to humans.

Have you or someone you know ever found a non-native insect within a suitcase upon returning home from an exotic location?