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The internal phylogeny of the scorpions has been debated,  but genomic analysis consistently places the Bothriuridae as sister to a clade consisting of Scorpionoidea and " Chactoidea ".
The scorpions diversified between the Devonian and the early Carboniferous. The main division is into the clades Buthida and Iurida.
The Bothriuridae diverged starting before temperate Gondwana broke up into separate land masses, completed by the Jurassic.
The Iuroidea and Chactoidea are both seen not to be single clades, and are shown as " paraphyletic " with quotation marks in this cladogram.
Carl Linnaeus described six species of scorpion in his genus Scorpio in and ; three of these are now considered valid and are called Scorpio maurus , Androctonus australis , and Euscorpius carpathicus ; the other three are dubious names.
He placed the scorpions among his "Insecta aptera" wingless insects , a group that included Crustacea, Arachnida and Myriapoda. He divided it into four families, the six-eyed scorpions "Scorpionides", the eight-eyed scorpions "Buthides", the ten-eyed scorpions "Centrurides", and the twelve-eyed scorpions "Androctonides".
More recently, some twenty-two families containing over 2, species of scorpions have been described, with many additions and much reorganization of taxa in the 21st century.
The extant taxa to the rank of family numbers of species in parentheses  are:. Scorpions are found on all continents except Antarctica.
The diversity of scorpions is greatest in subtropical areas; it decreases towards both the poles and the equator, though scorpions are found in the tropics.
Scorpions did not occur naturally in Great Britain , New Zealand and some of the islands in Oceania , but have now been accidentally introduced into these places by humans.
Scorpions are xerocoles , meaning they primarily live in deserts , but they can be found in virtually every terrestrial habitat including high-elevation mountains, caves, and intertidal zones.
They are largely absent from boreal ecosystems such as the tundra , high-altitude taiga , and mountain tops. As regards microhabitats , scorpions may be ground-dwelling, tree-loving , rock-loving or sand-loving.
Some species, such as Vaejovis janssi , are versatile and are found in all habitats on Socorro Island , Baja California , while others such as Euscorpius carpathicus , endemic to the littoral zone of rivers in Romania, occupy specialized niches.
Scorpions range in size from the 8. In some, the metasoma is more elongated in males than females. The cephalothorax comprises the carapace , eyes, chelicerae mouth parts , pedipalps which have chelae , commonly called claws or pincers and four pairs of walking legs.
Scorpions have two eyes on the top of the cephalothorax, and usually two to five pairs of eyes along the front corners of the cephalothorax. While unable to form sharp images, their central eyes are amongst the most light sensitive in the animal kingdom, especially in dim light, and makes it possible for nocturnal species to use starlight to navigate at night.
They are pincer-like and have three segments and sharp "teeth". The pedipalp is a segmented, clawed appendage used for prey immobilization, defense and sensory purposes.
The segments of the pedipalp from closest to the body outwards are coxa, trochanter, femur, patella, tibia including the fixed claw and the manus and tarsus moveable claw.
A scorpion has darkened or granular raised linear ridges, called "keels" or "carinae" on the pedipalp segments and on other parts of the body; these are useful as taxonomic characters.
The legs are covered in proprioceptors , bristles and sensory setae. The mesosoma or preabdomen is the broad part of the opisthosoma.
Ventrally , somites 3 to 7 are armored with matching plates called sternites. The ventral side of somite 1 has a pair of genital opercula covering the gonopore.
Sternite 2 forms the basal plate bearing the pectines ,  which function as sensory organs. The next four somites, 3 to 6, all bear pairs of spiracles.
They serve as openings for the scorpion's respiratory organs, known as book lungs. The spiracle openings may be slits, circular, elliptical or oval according to the species.
Bristles hold the lamellae apart. A muscle opens the spiracle and widens the atrial chamber; dorsoventral muscles contract to compress the pulmonary chamber, forcing air out, and relax to allow the chamber to refill.
The mesosoma contains the heart or "dorsal vessel" which is the center of the scorpion's open circulatory system. The heart is continuous with a deep arterial system which spreads throughout the body.
Sinuses return deoxygenated blood or hemolymph to the heart; the hemolymph is re-oxygenated by cardiac pores.
The mesosoma also contains the reproductive system. The female gonads are made of three or four tubes that run parallel to each other and are connected by two to four transverse anastomoses.
These tubes are the sites for both oocyte formation and embryonic development. They connect to two oviducts which connect to a single atrium leading to the genital orifice.
Both tubes end in a spermiduct , one on each side of the mesosoma. They connect to glandular symmetrical structures called paraxial organs, which end at the genital orifice.
These secrete chitin -based structures which come together to form the spermatophore. The "tail" or metasoma consists of five segments and the telson , not strictly a segment.
The five segments are merely body rings; they lack apparent sterna or terga, and become larger distally. These segments have keels, setae and bristles which may be used for taxonomic classification.
The anus is at the distal and ventral end of the last segment, and is encircled by four anal papillae and the anal arch. The telson includes the vesicle , which contains a symmetrical pair of venom glands.
Externally it bears the curved stinger, the hypodermic aculeus, equipped with sensory hairs. Each of the venom glands has its own duct to convey its secretion along the aculeus from the bulb of the gland to immediately subterminal of the point of the aculeus, where each of the paired ducts has its own venom pore.
Most scorpion species are nocturnal or crepuscular , finding shelter during the day in burrows, cracks in rocks and tree bark.
Some may use burrows made by other animals including spiders, reptiles and small mammals. Other species dig their own burrows which vary in complexity and depth.
Digging is done using the mouth parts, claws and legs. In several species, particularly of the family Buthidae, individuals may gather in the same shelter; bark scorpions may aggregate up to 30 individuals.
In some species, families of females and young sometimes aggregate. Scorpions that live outside deserts prefer lower temperatures. The ability to resist cold may be related to the increase in the sugar trehalose when the temperature drops.
Some species hibernate. This was discovered in the early s when scorpions were found to be among the few animals to survive nuclear tests at Reggane , Algeria.
Desert scorpions have several adaptations for water conservation. They excrete insoluble compounds such as xanthine , guanine , and uric acid , not requiring water for their removal from the body.
Guanine is the main component and maximizes the amount of nitrogen excreted. A scorpion's cuticle holds in moisture via lipids and waxes from epidermal glands, and protects against ultraviolet radiation.
Even when dehydrated, a scorpion can tolerate high osmotic pressure in its blood. Species that live in denser vegetation and in more moderate temperatures will drink water on plants and in puddles.
A scorpion uses its stinger both for killing prey and defense. Some species make direct, quick strikes with their tails while others make slower, more circular strikes which can more easily return the stinger to a position where it can strike again.
Scorpions may be attacked by other arthropods like ants, spiders, solifugids and centipedes. Major predators include frogs, lizards, snakes, birds, and mammals.
The immune system of scorpions gives them resistance to infection by many types of bacteria. When threatened, a scorpion raises its claws and tail in a defensive posture.
Some species stridulate to warn off predators by rubbing certain hairs, the stinger or the claws.
The parts do not grow back, leaving them unable to sting and defecate, but they can still catch small prey and reproduce for at least eight months afterward.
Scorpions generally prey on insects, particularly grasshoppers , crickets , termites , beetles and wasps.
Other prey include spiders, solifugids , woodlice and even small vertebrates including lizards, snakes and mammals. Species with large claws may prey on earthworms and mollusks.
The majority of species are opportunistic and consume a variety of prey though some may be highly specialized; Isometroides vescus specializes on burrowing spiders.
Prey size depends on the size of the species. Several scorpion species are sit-and-wait predators , which involves them waiting for prey at or near the entrance to their burrow.
Others actively seek them out. Scorpions detect their prey with mechanoreceptive and chemoreceptive hairs on their bodies and capture them with their claws.
Small animals are merely killed with the claws, particularly by large-clawed species. Larger and more aggressive prey is given a sting. Scorpions, like other arachnids, digest their food externally.
The chelicerae, which are very sharp, are used to pull small amounts of food off the prey item into a pre-oral cavity below the chelicerae and carapace.
The digestive juices from the gut are egested onto the food, and the digested food is then sucked into the gut in liquid form. Any solid indigestible matter such as exoskeleton fragments is trapped by setae in the pre-oral cavity and ejected.
The sucked-in food is pumped into the midgut by the pharynx , where it is further digested. The waste passes through the hindgut and out of the anus.
Scorpions can consume large amounts of food at one sitting. They have an efficient food storage organ and a very low metabolic rate , and a relatively inactive lifestyle.
This enables them to survive long periods without food. Some are able to survive 6 to 12 months of starvation.
Most scorpions reproduce sexually, with male and female individuals; species in some genera, such as Hottentotta and Tityus , and the species Centruroides gracilis , Liocheles australasiae , and Ananteris coineaui have been reported, not necessarily reliably, to reproduce through parthenogenesis , in which unfertilized eggs develop into living embryos.
Males begin courtship by moving their bodies back and forth, without moving the legs, a behavior known as juddering.
This appears to produce ground vibrations that are picked up by the female. In this dance, the male and female move backwards and forwards while facing each other, as the male searches for a suitable place to deposit his spermatophore.
The courtship ritual can involve several other behaviors such as a cheliceral kiss, in which the male and female grasp each other's mouth-parts, arbre droit "upright tree" where the partners elevate their posteriors and rub their tails together, and sexual stinging, in which the male stings the female in the chelae or mesosoma to subdue her.
The dance can last from a few minutes to several hours. When the male has located a suitably stable substrate, such as hard ground, agglomerated sand, rock, or tree bark, he deposits the spermatophore and guides the female over it.
This allows the spermatophore to enter her genital opercula, which triggers release of the sperm, thus fertilizing the female.
A mating plug then forms in the female to prevent her from mating again before the young are born. The male and female then abruptly separate.
Gestation in scorpions can last for over a year in some species. In the apoikogenic system, which is mainly found in the Buthidae, embryos develop in yolk-rich eggs inside follicles.
The katoikogenic system is documented in Hemiscorpiidae, Scorpionidae and Diplocentridae, and involves the embryos developing in a diverticulum which has a teat-like structure for them to feed though.
Before giving birth, the female elevates the front of her body and positions her pedipalps and front legs under her to catch the young "birth basket".
The young emerge one by one from the genital opercula, expel the embryonic membrane, if any, and are placed on the mother's back where they remain until they have gone though at least one molt.
The period before the first molt is called the pro-juvenile stage; the young are unable to feed or sting, but have suckers on their tarsi, used to hold on to their mother.
This period lasts 5 to 25 days, depending on the species. The brood molt for the first time simultaneously in a process that lasts 6 to 8 hours, marking the beginning of the juvenile stage.
Juvenile stages or instars generally resemble smaller versions of adults, with fully developed pincers, hairs and stingers. They are still soft and lack pigments, and thus continue to ride on their mother's back for protection.
They became harder and more pigmented over the next couple of days. They may leave their mother temporarily, returning when they sense potential danger.
Once the exoskeleton is fully hardened, the young can hunt prey on their own and may soon leave their mother.
Some species may live up to 25 years. Scorpions glow a vibrant blue-green when exposed to certain wavelengths ranges of ultraviolet light such as that produced by a black light , due to the presence of fluorescent chemicals in the cuticle.
One fluorescent component is beta-carboline. Accordingly, a hand-held ultraviolet lamp has long been a standard tool for nocturnal field surveys of these animals.
Fluorescence occurs as a result of sclerotisation and increases in intensity with each successive instar. Scorpion venom serves to kill or paralyze prey rapidly.
The stings of many species are uncomfortable, but only 25 species have venom that is deadly to humans. Those species belong to the family Buthidae, including Leiurus quinquestriatus , Hottentotta spp.
Cases of very high blood pressure are treated with medications that relieve anxiety and relax the blood vessels. Antivenom is the specific treatment for scorpion envenomation combined with supportive measures including vasodilators in patients with cardiovascular toxic effects, and benzodiazepines when there is neuromuscular involvement.
Although rare, severe hypersensitivity reactions including anaphylaxis to scorpion antivenin are possible. Scorpion stings are a public health problem, particularly in the tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas, North Africa, the Middle East and India.
Around 1. Efforts are made to prevent envenomation and to control scorpion populations. Prevention encompasses personal activities such as checking shoes and clothes before putting them on, not walking in bare feet or sandals, and filling in holes and cracks where scorpions might nest.
Street lighting reduces scorpion activity. Control may involve the use of insecticides such as pyrethroids , or gathering scorpions manually with the help of ultraviolet lights.
Domestic predators of scorpions, such as chickens and turkeys, can help to reduce the risk to a household. Scorpion venom is a mixture of neurotoxins; most of these are peptides , chains of amino acids.
These channels are essential for nerve conduction , muscle contraction and many other biological processes. Some of these molecules may be useful in medical research and might lead to the development of new disease treatments.
Among their potential therapeutic uses are as analgesic, anti-cancer , antibacterial , antifungal , antiviral , antiparasitic , bradykinin -potentiating, and immunosuppressive drugs.
As of , no scorpion toxin-based drug is on sale, though chlorotoxin is being trialled for use against glioma , a brain cancer. Scorpions are consumed in West Africa, Myanmar  and East Asia.
Fried scorpion is traditionally eaten in Shandong , China. The stingers are typically not removed, since direct and sustained heat negates the harmful effects of the venom.
Scorpions are often kept as pets. They are relatively simple to keep, the main requirements being a secure enclosure such as a glass aquarium with a lockable lid, and the appropriate temperature and humidity for the chosen species, which typically means installing a heating mat and spraying regularly with a little water.
The substrate needs to resemble that of the species' natural environment, such as peat for forest species, or lateritic sand for burrowing desert species.
Scorpions in the genera Pandinus and Heterometrus are docile enough to handle. A large Pandinus may consume up to three crickets each week.
Cannibalism is more common in captivity than in the wild, and can be minimized by providing many small shelters within the enclosure, and ensuring there is plenty of prey.
The constellation Scorpius , depicted in Urania's Mirror as "Scorpio", London, c. A scorpion motif two types shown was often woven into Turkish kilim flatweave carpets, for protection from their sting.
The scorpion is a culturally significant animal, appearing as a motif in art, especially in Islamic art in the Middle East. One of the earliest occurrences of the scorpion in culture is its inclusion, as Scorpio , in the 12 signs of the Zodiac by Babylonian astronomers during the Chaldean period.
This was then taken up by western astrology ; in astronomy the corresponding constellation is named Scorpius.
Orion and the scorpion both became constellations; as enemies they were placed on opposite sides of the world, so when one rises in the sky, the other sets.
The fable of The Scorpion and the Frog has been interpreted as showing that vicious people cannot resist hurting others, even when it is not in their interests.
Since classical times , the scorpion with its powerful stinger has been used to provide a name for weapons.
In the Roman army , the scorpio was a torsion siege engine used to shoot a projectile. The scorpion has served as the name or symbol of products and brands including Italy's Abarth racing cars  and a Montesa scrambler motorcycle.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the arthropod. For the band, see Scorpions band. For other uses, see Scorpion disambiguation.
Order of arachnids. Main article: Taxonomy of scorpions. Koch , Family Buthidae C. Koch , spp. New World scorpions, membership under revision Family Euscorpiidae Laurie , spp.
New World scorpions Superfamily Iuroidea Thorell , Family Caraboctonidae Kraepelin , 23 spp. Southern hemisphere tropical and temperate scorpions Family Hemiscorpiidae Pocock , 16 spp.
This black emperor scorpion fluoresces light blue. Further information: Human uses of scorpions. Main article: Scorpionism. Late period bronze figure of Isis- Serket.
Similarly, arguments can be formed against use of the term abdomen, as the opisthosoma of all scorpions contains a heart and book lungs, organs atypical of an abdomen.
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language , 5th Edition. Retrieved 7 December A Greek-English Lexicon — via Perseus.
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