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Emperor scorpion with babies
There exists about 2000 different species of scorpions. They are found in most areas south of about 49° N except for Antarctica and New Zeeland. They can accept a wide variety of temperatures from desert heat to well below zero. Several genera of scorpions (ex. Euscorpius, bothriurid,) can survive -25C. All know species are predatory arthropods, not insects, and have eight legs. All scorpion species are fluorescent and light up under UV light.
Scorpions are nocturnal and spend most of the day hiding in cool burrows beneath the ground or beneath rocks and knocked over tree trunks. They avoid light whenever they can. They come out during the night to hunt insects, small arthropods and small reptiles. They hunt by catching they pray with their pinchers called chelae. Some species than crush their prey while other more toxic varieties inject their prey with neurotoxin venom deliver by the stinger on the end of their tail. The venom will kill or paralyze the prey so the scorpion can eat it. They can just like spiders only it liquid food.
Natural scorpion predators include birds, centipedes, lizards, mice, possums, and rats.
Scorpions have bodies divided into two segments the cephalothorax (also called the prosoma) and the abdomen (opisthosoma).
The cephalothorax is also called the prosoma. A more common name for the cephalothorax is to simply call it the scorpions head. It is the part containing the carapace, eyes, chelicerae (mouth parts), pedipalps (claws) and four pairs of walking legs.
The opisthosoma or abdomen consists of two different sections, the mesosoma and the metasoma (scorpion tail). The mesosoma is the front part of the abdomen and consist of six segments. The first segment The mesosoma, the front half of the abdomen, is made up of six segments. The first two of these segments are the me most important segments to mention The first segment contains the sexual organs as well as a pair of vestigial and modified appendages forming a structure called the genital operculum. The second segment bears a pair of featherlike sensory organs known as the pectines; the final four segments each contain a pair of book lungs. All segments are armoured.
The metasoma, more popular known as the tail also contain six segments. The last of whom contain the scorpion stinger (telson) and the scorpion anus. The teslon/stinger contain venom glands contained in the vesicle and the stinger itself, the hypodermic aculeus.
Scropions are members of the order Scorpiones within the class Arachnida.
* ORDER SCORPIONES
o Infraorder Orthosterni
+ Parvorder Pseudochactida
# Superfamily Pseudochactoidea
* Family Pseudochactidae
+ Parvorder Buthida
# Superfamily Buthoidea
* Family Buthidae
* Family Microcharmidae Lourenço,
+ Parvorder Chaerilida
# Superfamily Chaeriloidea
* Family Chaerilidae
+ Parvorder Iurida
# Superfamily Chactoidea
* Family Chactidae
o Subfamily Chactinae
+ Tribe Chactini
+ Tribe Nullibrotheini
o Subfamily Brotheinae
+ Tribe Belisariini
+ Tribe Brotheini
# Subtribe Brotheina
# Subtribe Neochactina
o Subfamily Uroctoninae
* Family Euscorpiidae
o Subfamily Euscorpiinae
o Subfamily Megacorminae
+ Tribe Chactopsini
+ Tribe Megacormini
o Subfamily Scorpiopinae
+ Tribe Scorpiopini
+ Tribe Troglocormini
* Family Superstitioniidae
o Subfamily Superstitioniinae
o Subfamily Typlochactinae
* Family Vaejovidae
# Superfamily Iuroidea
* Family Iuridae
* Family Caraboctonidae
o Subfamily Caraboctoninae
o Subfamily Hadrurinae
# Superfamily Scorpionoidea
* Family Bothriuridae
o Subfamily Bothriurinae
o Subfamily Lisposominae
* Family Diplocentridae
* Family Scorpionidae Latreille,
o Subfamily Diplocentrinae
+ Tribe Diplocentrini
# Tribe Nebini
o Subfamily Scorpioninae
o Subfamily Urodacinae
* Family Hemiscorpiidae
o Subfamily Hemiscorpiinae
o Subfamily Heteroscorpioninae
o Subfamily Hormurinae
The first thing to consider is that the container needs to be well sealed and escape proof while still allowing enough air into it.
Scorpions are not too hard to keep but that does not mean that all species are suitable for beginners. Beginners should choose docile, easily cared for not too venomous species such as the emperor scorpion. They keep small territories in the wild and can therefore be kept in rather small containers. A small scorpion (max 1 inch/3m) can be kept in a tank that is 8 inch /20 cm squared. Larger scorpions require tanks that are 16x16 inches / 40x40cm. Scorpions are best kept alone. If you keep several scorpions in the same holding container you will risk loosing some even though cannibalism is rare along common species such as Centruroides spp and Heterometrus spp.. Larger container is required fora scorpion community.
The container should be decorated to mimic the natural habitat of the scorpion and provide the scorpion things it can hide under during the day. The holding container should not be placed in direct sunlight and keep a suitable temperature. Desert scorpion species prefer a temperature of about 20-35 ˚C, tropical scorpions prefer 20-30 ˚C. Scorpions that live in temperate areas can be kept in colder tanks. Make sure that the lighting in the scorpion tank do not produce to much heat as to much heat can have a negative effect on your scorpions health and even kill them
UV light can be used to light up the tank at night to illuminate their fluorescent properties. UV light doesn't seem to have any ill effect in scorpions but can cause cancer in humans which is something to take into consideration before deciding to US UV lighting,
One of the most controversial topics regarding scorpion care is which substrate to use. Different substrate are recommended by different keepers. Some commonly used substrates include fine aquarium sand, vermiculite (can contain parasites), potting soil these and other substrates each have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Different scorpion species hunts in different ways. Some species are ambush hunters while other species are more active hunters that stalk their prey. Some species uses both methods. Large scorpion species can be fed adult crickets and large mealworms , smaller scorpions are best fed small crickets and baby scorpions' can be fed pinheads. The most important thing to remember is to adjust the size of the food after the size of the scorpion. They can be fed most foods that are smaller than the scorpion is including mice and lizards.
Some slower species scorpions can have a hard time catching their food and it can therefore be good to but the crickets in the fridge for a while before using them as food. (Long enough to slow them down not to kill them) Another option is to remove some of the legs from the crickets. Some scorpions accept dead food.
Scorpions can be fed a diet of only crickets without showing an awkward effect on their health.
Juvenile scorpion should be fed 4 times a week. Adult scorpions can be fed more seldom and once or twice a week is enough. They can be fed at any time but at night is usually best.
Pregnant and stressed scorpions doesn't always eat.. if your scorpion isn't eating you should check that everything is ok in the tank and if it is you should give the scorpion some time to see if it comes around and start eating again )or give birth to young)
Your scorpions should always have access to water
Most scorpion species reproduce through sexual reproduction but there is a few species that reproduce to parthenogenesis (unfertilized eggs develop into living enbryos) These species starts reproducing through parthenogenesis once they reaches maturity and continue until through out their lives.
Sexually reproduction takes place after a courtship between male and female. The courtship starts with the male grasping the females pedipalps with his own. They then perform a mating dance sometimes refer to as "promenade à deux". This dance isn't really a dance but rather the period the male uses to lead the female to a suitable place where he can deposit his spermatophore. The courtship can in some species involve other moments as well. Once the male have chosen a suitable place to deposit his spermatophore he desposit its and guides the female over it so that it is able to enter her genetelia. This triggers the release of the sperm in the sparmatophore and fertilizes the female. The mating process can tale more than 24 hours before it is completed. If the mating takes to long the female might loose interest and discontinue the mating. Once mating is completely the male quickly retreat from the area (likely to avoid being eaten) Sexual cannibalism do occur among scorpions although infrequently.
It is hard to give any general rules when it comes to sexing scorpions. Different genera can be sexed by different sexual dimorphism. Many species of scorpions can however rather easily be sexed based on external sexual dimorphism.
Scorpions are hardy creatures that are at their most vulnerable during their moulting period. (scorpions moult to grow) Many scorpions die when this process goes wrong. This is also when scorpions are most likely to attract disease such as parasites and infections. During this time the food you normally feed your scorpion such as meal worms and crickets try to eat the scorpion. The key to successful moulting is high put not excessive humidity. The risk for parasites and infections can be reduced by sufficient cleanliness. Avoid excessive feeding during the moulting period. All food that aren't quickly consumed should be removed.
The most common health problem in scorpions is likely mites. They are usually not harmful but can make the scorpion look less attractive. They are usually brought into the terrarium with contaminated substrate (esp vermiculite), decor (dead logs) and wild caught food material. They are hard to fight and it takes a while to get rid of them. You need to handle the scorpion to remove them which have to be done manually with careful hand. It is easy to harm to scorpion in the process. They can removed using low concentration of alcohol on a cotton bud but this might hurt the scorpion. A better solution is to buy predatory mites that preys on the parasitic mites and not stick to the scorpion. They can easily be removed once they consumed the parasitic mites.
It is better to prevent diseases by keeping a clean tank than to treat diseases.
Scorpion fact 1
The most northern population of scorpions in the world is found on the Isle of Sheppey in the UK where Euscorpius flavicaudis can be found. This population was introduced to the area in the 1860s.
Scorpion fact 2
While there exist over 2000 species of scorpions only about 5% of them (around 100 species) have stings that are dangerous to humans.
Scorpion fact 3
Scorpion species are hard to identify and all unidentified scorpions should therefore be treated as dangerous and handled carefully.
Scorpion fact 4
The Emperor scorpion, Pandinus imperator, is the most suitable starter scorpion.
It is hardy to give general information about the lifespan of scorpions as different species have very different lifespan. Some scorpion species have a lifespan of a mere 4 years while other species are believed to live 30 years or perhaps even more.