Some animals are chemical warriors where their exoskeletons have developed spines, hollow hairs, stings and rotating sprays. Some use them for defense and some use it to subdue their prey. A few animals have done this, but the more excellent is the scorpion. The scorpions venom is a ‘neurotoxin’. This type of venom affects the nervous system — which leads to paralysis.
Not all scorpion bites are harmful to humans, but there is one species that is very harmful to people and kills about 1, 000 people a year in southern US and Mexico before antivenom was found (thank goodness it was): The bark scorpion.
Although scorpions are usually found in warm countries, they are very interesting and tough animals, because they can withstand being frozen for weeks and can survive being underwater for two days!
Among the first creatures to colonise land was the scorpion. And they flourish in the driest of conditions. It lives and survives in the harshest of the dry environments: The Namib desert, in the South West Africa.
Nepidae, or water scorpion.
If you were a kid in the 80s and before, there is a good chance you encountered one of these as they are mostly found in stagnant or slow-moving freshwater habitats like ponds, marshes, canals and streams. We were always playing in those areas, and remember our group screaming and climbing out as fast as we could, and hollering as we split up into random directions — where we were running to, no one knows, but we never returned to that body of water where the triumphant water scorpion occupied it with a few fishes. Probably more than happy they have the pond back and that those noisy kids have left.
If only we knew, because they are one creepy looking insect that looks like it could pack a nasty punch, while in fact, it does not sting with that long tail. It does not sting, period. However, it can bite, although we we encountered many terrifyingly close, but none of us were ever bitten.
- They are found worldwide except Antarctica.
The Nepidae or water scorpion is a predator, and an ambush one at that. It hides in the plants and waits for it prey to swim by. It does not sting with that long tail, and you are likely wondering, ‘what’s the use of it then?’
Well, that tail is like a snorkel, and it protrudes from the water so that the water scorpion can breathe. It can bite, though- from its ‘probiscus’ — an elongated nose/mouth part.
A lot of the research says it is not a painful bite to humans, but some say its bite can hurt…- they just really are one of the creepiest-looking insects!
Scorpions have poor vision, but luckily, they are well supplied with senses that they use to locate prey and danger — even at distances and its direction. It has two organs that touch the ground and track scent trails.