Monday, May 10, 2010

From Wikipedia:
Scorpions are also known to glow when exposed to certain wavelengths of ultraviolet light such as that produced by a blacklight, due to the presence of fluorescent chemicals in the cuticle. One fluorescent component is now known to be beta-Carboline.[18] A hand-held UV lamp has long been a standard tool for nocturnal field surveys of these animals. Fluorescence occurs as a result of sclerotization and increases in intensity with each successive instar.

 So naturally I had no choice but to purchase an ultraviolet flashlight from Amazon for my trip to Leprechaun Canyon. We found four scorpions around our camp the first night and five the second. This one was the largest we found, but was only about half the length of my thumb including the tail.

Here's how to sound like an expert next time you're talking about scorpions:
1. Don't call them "claws", but rather pedipalps.
2. Refer to the telson, not the "stingy-thingy".
3. Dogs shed but scorpions molt. (Their old exoskeletons also fluoresce under UV light).
4. When mentioning that scorpions have been around for more than 400 million years, say it very casually as though that is no big deal.