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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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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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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?