Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Friday, April 04, 2014

Scorpion in Robertson

I have heard of Scorpions being in Robertson, but I have not seen one before.
This specimen was captured by a friend, and I asked to take its photo. It was already deceased when I was told about it.
It had walked into my friend's house, near Fountaindale Road.
It was trying to crawl under a sofa. This is reported widely as common behaviour of Scorpions in Australia.
A small Scorpion, probably a "Southern or Wood Scorpion",
Genus Cercophonius (most likely)
The general advice from Australian websites is that our Scorpions inflict painful stings, but are not fatal for humans. Good news for us in Australia. It is different in other countries.

"The Australian species can inflict a painful sting that results in swelling and pain for several hours, but there have not been any confirmed deaths of people from stings from Australian scorpions. Medical advice should be sought if you are stung by a scorpion." Museum Victoria

This Scorpion appears similar in size and general form to the Victorian species (plural) known as Southern or Wood Scorpions.  Apparently there are at least six species in the genus 

Most likely this is a
Southern or Wood Scorpion
Cercophonius squama, it is a very small species (~25mm). It tends to spend most of its life buried down under rotting logs where it consumes many small insects, incuding termites. It rarely faces predators head on (in open battle). As such is one of our least toxic scorpions.

Head on view of the Scorpion
I thought that the "pincers" (pedipalps)
were single only, but of course they are dual parts
just very finely matched, so that they appear as a single unit
when not opened to clasp prey.

Close-up shot of the pedipalp
Only in close-up can one see both sides to these pincers.

I have never had any close contact with Scorpions previously.
When we turned it over, we were surprised to see these brush-like structures
underneath the second body section of the Scorpion.
"a pair of featherlike sensory organs known as the pectines"
Source: Wikipedia

The comb-like "pectines" are visible underneath
the "mesosomal section" of the Scorpion.
Sorry about some extraneous fibres visible in this photo.
"The second segment has the pectines, sensory organs that are unique to scorpions.  The pectines are paired, comblike structures attached to a small plate called the basal piece; evidence suggests that the pectines function in evaluating textures of surfaces the scorpion is walking on and in detecting chemical substances (pheromones) used in sexual attraction." 

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