By: Cholla Rose Nicoll, Borderlands Wildlife Preserve Coordinator
April always has me thinking about eggs. The stores are full of Easter merchandise, and eggs are everywhere. Growing up in Tucson, I even remember one spring finding a lizard egg in our front yard and marveling at its tiny size, full of wonder as to what it would become. So many incredible animals in the Borderlands Wildlife Preserve start their lives inside a protective shell. One of the most amazing animals that many might think hatches out of an egg is the scorpion, but unlike many other insects scorpions give birth to live young.
Scorpions tend to give birth to their young in the summertime and, depending on the species, sometimes ride around on their mother's back until their first molt when they are mature enough to survive on their own. All scorpions are predators and, as such, fill an important role by consuming other small animals, including cockroaches. Some natural ways to deter scorpions on your property are likely to impede their prey. Keep yard waste, and food scraps cleaned up and eliminate bug-attracting lights and water sources.
Giant Hairy Scorpion (Hadrurus arizonensis).
Scorpions can be found on every continent except Antarctica and are an incredibly ancient species dating back approximately 400 million years. Scorpions have changed very little over their existence as a species and could be a valuable indicator of overall ecosystem health. Over thirty scorpion species can be found in Arizona, yet the only one considered dangerous to humans is the bark scorpion (Centruroides exilicauda). For more information on bark scorpions and what to do if you encounter one, please visit Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center.
Part of the responsibility and fun of living in a highly biologically diverse region is enjoying the cute and cuddly critters like bunnies and baby birds and understanding and protecting creatures like scorpions, snakes, and spiders. One safe way to explore the world of scorpions is to take advantage of another fun fact, scorpions all fluoresce or glow under UV light. Purchase a UV flashlight and head out on a warm summer night. Look near the base of walls or under trees and bushes for a bright green glow. Keep a safe distance and as with any other wild animal, do not touch or capture it but observe an animal that has been surviving for a very, very long time.
If you are interested in learning more about scorpions in our region, I would highly recommend reading the book Amazing Arachnids by local author Jillian Cowles.
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