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Scorpions have long been of interest to humans primarily because of their ability to give painful and sometimes life threatening stings. Scorpions are also an important and beneficial component of many ecosystems and they are one of the oldest known terrestrial arthropods. Fossil scorpions found in Paleozoic strata 430 million years old appear very similar to present day species.
Scorpions are currently 1400 recognized species of worldwide. Scorpions have an elongated body and a segmented tail that is tipped with a venomous stinger. They have four pairs of legs and pedipalps with plier-like pincers on the end, which are used for grasping.
Scorpions have mouthparts called chelicerae, a pair of pedipalps, and four pairs of legs. The pincer-like pedipalps are used primarily for prey capture and defense, but are also covered with various types of sensory hairs. The body is divided into two main regions, a cephalothorax and an abdomen. The cephalothorax is covered above by a carapace that usually bears a pair of median eyes and 2 to 5 pairs of lateral eyes at its front corners a few cave and litter-dwelling scorpions are completely eyeless.
Life Cycle : Scorpions are capable of reducing their metabolic rates to very low levels. Mating apparently takes place in the fall, spring and early summer. All scorpions are born live (viviparous), and embryos are nourished in the femaleâ€™s body (in utero or via a “placental” connection). Development (gestation) is estimated to take about 8 months, but varies depending on the species. Young are born in litter sizes from 13 to 47, averaging about 31.
The young Scorpions climb to the motherâ€™s back after birth and soon molt. After the first molt they disperse to lead independent lives. Immature scorpions molt an average of six times before maturity. Some species may live for 20 to 25 years but the typical scorpion probably lives between three and eight years. Adults may produce several broods.
Food and Habits: Scorpions use the pincers to capture and hold prey. This species occurs under rocks, under boards, and in debris. It can be found indoors or outdoors in a wide variety of habitats pine forests in East Texas, rocky slopes, grasslands, juniper breaks in other parts of the state.
Centruroides are active foragers and do not burrow. They are considered “bark scorpions” with a distinct association with dead vegetation, fallen logs, and human dwellings. It is common for them to climb, and many reports in homes are associated with attics.
Scorpions remain sheltered in the daytime and become active at night. This behavior helps with regulating temperature (thermoregulation) and water balance. Their bodies are covered with a waxy cuticle which also helps reduce water loss. For reasons yet unknown, the scorpion cuticle fluoresces under ultraviolet light.
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