Some Scorpions Glow Under the Light of the Full Moon | Scorpion Control Tucson

Some Scorpions Glow Under the Light of the Full Moon | Scorpion Control Tucson

Perhaps you have to be from an area in the southwest United States to appreciate them, but scorpions are often regarded as being among the most majestic looking of arachnids. In fact, some scorpions even glow in the dark. When scorpions are illuminated by ultraviolet rays from a black light they glow in the dark, turning into a neon blue color. Although you many never have heard of this phenomenon, it is indeed true.

It is the proteins that are present in a scorpion's exoskeleton that turn the backlight into a neon blue light. This glow is clearly visible to the human eye. Since scorpions are already decked out with a lot of cool evolutionary gifts, such as a hard exoskeleton, super strong pincers, and dangerous venom, you may wonder why glowing in the dark is necessary.

Many entomologists have puzzled themselves over this question, but some remain dissatisfied with the answers so far. Some scientists think that scorpions glow so that they can find one another. This makes sense to some scientists because scorpions blend in very well with their desert environment. While other experts think that the glowing might have evolved to intimidate prey. Perhaps the strangest explanation is that the glowing acts as a type of sunscreen. However, after several experiments, none of these hypotheses bore fruit.

Many believe that the glowing does not have any real function at all, and it is just a random evolutionary trait. Since the glowing resulted from a mutation that did not die out over the generations, however, it is likely good for something. Only recently have researchers become curious about this question again, and more experiments are currently underway. One current experiment aims to show how scorpions use their glow to assist them in finding prey during the nighttime hours.

What advantages do you think the glowing gives to scorpions, if any?

 

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