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Scorpions in myths and reality


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Reference ID: # 963afcd0-1f7e-11ea-b99c-695192fd6478

Scorpions in myths and reality

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Not many animals have such gloomy fame as a scorpion. This arachnid was depicted in tombs in ancient Egypt. The first known Egyptian king, Pharaoh Scorpio, King Scorpio, is described in the Eberian papyrus, “Book of the Dead”. As a terrible, disgusting creature, the scorpion is mentioned in the Talmud and the Bible. Until the 3rd century AD he was depicted on the monuments of the god of the ancient Persians of Mithras. According to the beliefs of the ancient Persians, the evil spirit Arimen sent a scorpion to bite the sacred bull in the genitals so that light and life would not arise from the blood of the bull. Greek Orion, the son of the god Zeus, was killed by a scorpion, created by the goddess Artemis, for Orion rejecting her. Scorpions figured in the experiments of sorcerers, healers, alchemists as an important component of magical potions and medicines of oriental medicine. With the help of a scorpion in the Middle Ages, they hoped to get gold. Here is what the Roman scholar Pliny wrote

The elder in the book “Natural History”: “Scorpio is a terrible creature, poisonous like snakes, with the difference that their bites entail even more painful torture, which lasts for 3 days, after which the victim dies. At the same time, a scorpion bite is always fatal for girls and almost always for women, and for men only in the morning. "Scorpio fumbles with his tail, never stopping waving it, so as not to miss the slightest opportunity to sting."

In short, a scorpion creature is very famous. Nevertheless, a serious study of this group of animals began only at the end of the 19th century. They watched the scorpions Jean Henri Fabre in France and A. Bialynitsky-Birul in Russia, other scientists were engaged in them, however, little information has been published about scorpions.

Currently, about 1,550 species of these arthropods are known, and 850 of them were described after 1971. Scorpions live in forests, deserts, on the shores of the seas, even high in the mountains up to 36 km above sea level. The homeland of these “horror films” is the warm regions of the tropics and subtropics. Only certain species penetrate north to the south of Europe, Crimea, the Caucasus, the Volga region, Kazakhstan, the south of Mongolia, Central Korea and the south of the USA. In the territory of the former USSR, 15 species of scorpions are found, mainly in the countries of Central Asia. The most common motley scorpion (Buthus eupeus), it is also found in Russia in Dagestan and the Lower Volga. Mingrelian scorpion lives in western Transcaucasia (Euscorpius mingrelicus), on the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus, an Italian scorpion (Euscorpius italicus) Crimean scorpion is found in Crimea (Euscorpius tauricus).

However, sometimes scorpions can be found outside these areas in places where they were accidentally brought with some kind of cargo. For example, in the XIX century. The Spanish scorpion was brought to Southern England and still exists and breeds there, however, in only two places on the stone garden fences. On these fences, scorpions catch prey, hide and hibernate in crevices of stones, but do not want to go down to the ground. Two American species of scorpions came to Spain and the Canary Islands. Individual scorpions from the Caucasus were met in the Odessa region and in Lithuania.

Although sometimes scorpions can winter in the northern regions, but they are still very sensitive to low temperatures. So, the young of the motley scorpion dies already at +2 ° C, and adults at 4 ° C, but still remain active at +3. +5 ° C. In southern Europe, scorpions come out of hibernation in the spring, at an air temperature of +10 ° C and above, but they live and breed best at even higher temperatures. For motley scorpion and its tropical counterparts, the optimum temperature is +30. 38 ° C, at temperatures above +40 ° C, once in the sun, they already feel bad, quickly lose moisture and die. But there are among the scorpions and champions for adaptation to heat. So, the yellow scorpion lepuris living in the Sahara desert (Leiurisguinguestriatus) able to withstand temperatures of +47 ° C for 25 hours with only 10% air humidity. Only the Sahara phalanx galeodes can last even longer under such conditions (Galeodes granti) it can withstand +50 ° C in air. Pinelia black beetles (Pinelia grandis) dies at +43 ° С, adesnia (Adesnia antiqua) at +46 ° C.

Desert arthropods on their cuticle integument have a thin layer of wax-like substances that prevent the evaporation of water from the body. At high (+35. +40 ° C) temperature, this layer in insects becomes porous and they quickly die from a lack of moisture, they simply dry out. In scorpions, the melting temperature of the wax layer on the cuticle is 2025 ° higher than in insects. In addition, they are saved from the heat by a light yellow color, a nocturnal lifestyle, and a very economical water consumption scorpions secrete only a little hard feces.

All scorpions are nocturnal animals, during the day they hide under stones, leaves, in rotten stumps in the forest. In deserts, burrows often dig themselves. A motley scorpion, relying on its pedipalps claws, digs with its feet and throws the sand “tail” more precisely, with a backbone, metasome. A dug mink can be up to 1015 cm long. African same maurus (Scorpio maurus) digs thick claws shelters up to 75 cm long.

At night, scorpions go hunting slowly crawling, revealing their claws. They are guided mainly by touch: the thinnest hairs of trichobotria on pedipalps claws are connected with nerve cells and are sensitive to all touch, air and earth shocks. In addition, scorpions have special crested organs on the underside of the body, they also pick up vibrations of the soil, air, including sound waves, and are also chemoreceptors that pick up odors. The scorpion feels another creature at a distance of 2050 cm. It can attack a trifle, runs away from something large, waving in all directions with a “tail” -addrug, at the end of which there is a bloating telson with a poisonous gland and a sharp hook sting. Only in this way, in a panic, if he is scared or was accidentally crushed, a scorpion can sting a person specially to attack him, of course, there is no need.

The scorpion also hunts passively. If she stumbles upon a spider, a filly, a worm, a wood lice, a millipede, a cockroach, she tries to grab it with claws, but if she misses it 12 times, she does not pursue it. If the prey is caught, the scorpion pricks her with a sting until it calms down. Then he begins to eat immediately or carries in claws to his shelter.

Scorpions cannot swallow solid food with a very narrow mouth opening. With claws and jaws of chelicera, the scorpion rubs the prey, destroying the integument, and then releases a special secret with enzymes on it, which breaks down proteins. The resulting broth is then absorbed, and hard lumps are retained by the bristles at the mouth and discarded.

The segments of the abdomen of a scorpion can be very stretched and hold a lot of food. An animal can eat large prey slowly and digest even a week. Several more scorpions can sometimes join this meal, although they are individualists and avoid each other, and on occasion do not disdain cannibalism.

Usually scorpions eat only live prey, unless they are very hungry and take fresh dead. In poor conditions, they can starve for a long time up to a year, according to the observations of J.A. Fabra, and even longer. Usually scorpions refuse food 67 months is another feature of their fitness for life in the desert. True, this is not a record. Black beetle blaps (Blaps reguini) from Tunisia starved for 6 years in the laboratory.

In the heat, if possible, some scorpions suck drops of water, wet sand, and large pandinuses even come to lie in shallow water, although they cannot swim and drown in depth, since the water clogs the respiratory pores. But usually scorpions are content with moisture obtained from food.

Most of the time when they are not very hungry, scorpions spend in shelters or near them. In the afternoon, small animals willingly wander into their homes in search of shelters, so you do not have to crawl far behind a dinner from under the stone. Threatening, the scorpion raises its “tail” and can stand for a very long time.

These creatures have up to 12 small eyes in different species in different ways. But the scorpion sees badly, unless it distinguishes light from shadow and leaves the light. Scorpions do not react at all to the red light.

Some Indian and African scorpions, when irritated, can chatter with the help of segments of the legs and abdomen.

The weddings of these arachnids are very original. The male in the "season of love" wanders in search of the female, and finding trying to take her by claws. A female ready for matrimony extends her closed claws to the boyfriend, after which he begins to drive her back and forth, looking for a convenient place to lay the spermatophore sac with sperm. Periodically, the male “kisses” the female puts her chelicera (jaw) on her jaw, exciting a partner, sometimes dancing scorpions in ecstasy even rise above the ground. This can last from 1520 minutes to several days. Finally, the male lays the spermatophore, pulls the female on him and she picks it up with the genital opening. After a while, the spermatophore bursts and sperm fertilizes the eggs, and the female eats the shell of the spermatophore. During the mating season, the male (according to the observations of the motley scorpion) can postpone the spermatophore several times, but the duration of the dance increases each time. The female can also dance several times. Sometimes around the same female several cavaliers gather, and they drive off each other with blows of “tails”.

According to Fabre, it happens that after the wedding, larger females attack and kill small males, but this does not apply to all species.

Variegated scorpion pregnancy lasts a year. Scorpions are ovoviviparous animals. Their soft white larvae sometimes