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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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Persian Kings Paid Bounties For Dead Scorpions As An Ancient Form Of Pest Control

Persian Kings Paid Bounties For Dead Scorpions As An Ancient Form Of Pest Control

Who has not, at one point in life, chosen a favorite animal? Children are especially opinionated when it comes to this topic, but even many adults favor one particular type of animal over others. Monkeys, lions, bears or wolves are common animal favorites, but it is rare to hear anybody speak highly of scorpions. This is not hard to understand, as scorpions are unsightly creatures that are notorious for delivering painful and sometimes deadly stings. Not surprisingly, scorpions have been universally hated for ages. Some of the earliest surviving texts from the Roman era have contained passages that describe scorpions with great disdain. A couple thousand years ago, scorpions caused many problems for both Romans and Persians. Persians were especially ill-disposed toward scorpions, as they inhabited desert regions where scorpion species were abundant and diverse.

The ancient Roman historian Pliny the Elder described scorpions as being “worse than a plague.” Elder further described how scorpion stings were worse than viper stings, as scorpion sting-victims would suffer in agony for three days before finally dying from the toxic effects of venom. Another Roman historian, Aelian, wrote about the unfortunate abundance of scorpion life in middle-eastern regions where the creatures could be found beneath every rock in the desert. Although this may be an exaggeration, scorpions posed a serious threat to those traveling along the historic trade route known as the Silk Road and other caravan routes. This meant that shipments from Asia would sometimes be held up by deadly scorpion attacks. This problem was serious enough for Persian kings to put bounties on dead scorpions. These bounties resulted in numerous scorpion hunts where the highest bounties would be paid to the individuals who captured the greatest number of scorpions. Aelian wrote about winged scorpions, and winged scorpions were depicted on different forms of early Mesopotamian art.

Of course, we can be grateful that flying scorpions do not actually exist, nor have they ever existed. Modern scholars believe that ancient historians mistakenly referred to venomous flying insects as scorpions. However, Pliny the Elder was the first Roman historian who hypothesized that so called “winged scorpions” were actually normal scorpions being pushed through the air by strong wind gusts during sandstorms. This may be the case, as airborne scorpions will straighten their legs to resemble wings during sandstorms.

Given the scorpion’s lobster-like pincers, do you believe that scorpions share a close lineage with aquatic arthropods as opposed to winged arthropods?

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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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The Most Venomous Scorpions In America Are Invading A Las Vegas Neighborhood

The Most Venomous Scorpions In America Are Invading A Las Vegas Neighborhood

There exists over 2,000 species of scorpions that are known to science. This makes scorpions a relatively species-rich group of arachnids. Given the diversity of scorpion species in the world today, it should not come as a surprise to learn that scorpion species are well represented in America. Most arthropods that possess deadly forms of venom dwell in more tropical regions of the world where vegetation is diverse and abundant. The climate in America is typically too mild for many of the more terrifying arthropod species, but scorpions are an exception. There exists several scorpion species that possess highly potent forms of venom that can kill a human, and one of these species is now invading a neighborhood in Las Vegas.

For the past few days, many Las Vegas residents have been worrying for their own safety as well as for the safety of their friends and family living in the Las Vegas residential area. The scorpions that are invading a residential area of Las Vegas are relatively small, as they rarely grow to be more than three inches in length. Despite their small size, the invading scorpions are the most venomous scorpions that dwell in North America. The scorpion species in question is commonly known as the “bark scorpion,” and they are highly abundant as each litter consists of an average of 31 baby scorpions. Many Las Vegas residents have spotted bark scorpions in the past, but they are not generally found in large numbers in areas containing a high population of humans. Many residents of Las Vegas are claiming to have never seen so many scorpions in one place before in their lives.

Experts believe that the scorpions survived the mild winter in the region, which explains their high population levels now. Several residents have already been stung by the invading arachnids, and emergency room visits concerning scorpion stings have been common during the past few days. Many Las Vegas residents are contacting pest control professionals in order to stay safe, while others are hunting for the deadly scorpions themselves. Those who are hunting for the scorpions are doing so at night with the assistance of a black light. Scorpions glow when exposed to ultraviolet light, making them easy to spot in the dark.

If you were a Las Vegas resident would you hunt for scorpions around your home in order to prevent them from invading your house?

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Why And How Did Scorpions Evolve To Have Particularly Potent Venom?

Why And How Did Scorpions Evolve To Have Particularly Potent Venom?

Scorpions are among the oldest of living arachnids. Today, scorpions have evolved into small arachnids that possess highly potent venom, but scorpion-like ancestors existed 460 million years ago, long before modern arthropod species crawled the earth. This half a billion year old scorpion ancestor possessed a tail that was similar to a modern scorpion tail, but it did not transmit venom to enemies via a stinger. Not long ago, paleontologists stumbled upon a fossil containing a bizarre arthropod that appeared to be a hybrid of a scorpion and a typical spider. This fossil was determined to be 100 million years old, and it had a tail that was nearly identical to a modern scorpion tail, as it possessed a stinger that injected venom into enemies. So when did scorpions evolve the ability to produce venom, and why?

Hundreds of millions of years ago, scorpions evolved from enormous sea dwelling creatures into vulnerable land animals that needed a method of defense in order to hunt for prey and compete and defend against enemies. Luckily for scorpions, a mutation in one single gene converted an immune system protein into a lethal form of venom. Researchers believe that this very same mutation occurred in other animals that are venomous today. At the moment, more than 2,000 scorpion species have been documented by researchers, and 25 of these species possess venom that can kill a human.

Many researchers believe that scorpions originated on land, but were swept into the sea only to reemerge on land again some 400 million years ago. These early scorpions shrank considerably over time, which made it hard for them to compete with other land animals as well as catch prey. In response to this disadvantage, scorpions evolved to produce a particularly potent form of venom, allowing them to swifty kill animals much larger than them. However, scorpions were, and still are, forced to use their pincers in order to catch prey, but this has also changed over time. The oldest scorpion species possess large pincers and small tails, as early scorpions were used to hunting with their pincers, but they were still learning to hunt with their whip-like tails. As millions of years passed, scorpions came to rely more on their stinger-equipped tails for hunting and defense, as it was safer than the up close and personal pincer-method of attack. This is why the most advanced scorpion species possess large tails with small pincers. The evolutionary history of all venomous animals is similar to scorpion evolution in that venom became the most reliable and safest form of predatory attack.

Have you ever noticed a major difference between the size ratio of tails and pincers in different scorpion species?