Scorpion venom facts
All scorpions produce venom, but their first instinct is to run or hide when confronted with danger. Stinging is a last resort. (This reluctance to sting didn’t prevent Mexico’s scorpion death rate from averaging 800 deaths per year during the 1980s.) Further, scorpions are able to control the amount of venom they release in each sting, so some stings are less venomous than others, while other stings might not contain any venom at all. It’s generally believed that the amount of venom released by the scorpion depends on how much danger they believe they are in.
Many of the scorpion facts that concern scientists and doctors have to do with the venom these arachnids produce. Not only is the venom studied to produce antivenins to treat those who have been stung, but also strangely enough, venoms might hold the key to curing other ailments and diseases.
The key here is the complex neurotoxins in the venom, which affect the nervous system. Each species has its own unique mixture of venom. Peptides in some types of scorpion venom trigger cellular death, which might hold the key to curing cancer. This theory has been around for some time, but it is only modern nanotechnology that is allowing scientists to explore safe delivery of the scorpion venom to cancerous cells and tumors. Once the venom reaches the tumors, it sets to work and destroys the cancer.
Shedding more light on scorpions
Perhaps one of the most interesting scorpion facts is that these night crawlers glow under ultraviolet (UV) light. This can be particularly chilling if you turn on your black light in your room and find a neon-blue scorpion glowing in the dark, but it can also be helpful for detecting scorpion nests around your home before they have a chance to come inside.
The reason scorpions glow is clear: When UV light hits the proteins in their exoskeletons, the proteins become visible to the naked human eye. The purpose for this glow is still unknown and highly debated. Some think that scorpions can identify one another through this glowing. Others think it’s used to bewilder prey or is possibly a reaction of the natural ‟sunscreen” these common desert-dwellers produce. Current theories are concentrating on whether the scorpions use the UV light reflected off of the moon to determine when the best time is to come out of hiding and hunt prey. Whatever the case is, all scorpions glow under UV light.
Strangely enough, there are some arachnids that look like scorpions, but aren’t. These pseudo-scorpions are not true scorpions, though you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference with some species. One example is the wind scorpion (also known as the spider scorpion), which is neither a spider nor a scorpion. Though it can’t sting and isn’t venomous, it can inflict a nasty bite and has pedipalps that resemble true scorpions.
Solpugids have the telltale pincer-like pedipalps of a scorpion, but lack an actual tail and the ability to produce venom. The whip scorpion might look like a black scorpion, but instead of a stinging tail, it has a whip tail used for defense, and can aim and shoot acetic acid (similar to that found in vinegar) at its prey. There is also a tailless whip scorpion and many more arachnids of this nature, most of which are extremely beneficial to the environment, especially since they eat cockroaches.
One of the best uses of these scorpion facts is keeping your home free of these stinging pests. Scorpions are beneficial to the environment, but they are also downright scary and can even be deadly. If you see a scorpion in your home, you should try to place a bucket or similar container over it, and then call Terminix® right away. A service technician will be able to use their knowledge of scorpion facts and habits to help make your home less attractive to these ancient pests.