Rainforest Scorpion

The Rainforest Scorpion [Liocheles waigiensis] is a predatory arachnid whose ancestry can be traced back over 400 million years using the fossil record. The QLD variety, [pictured] is small and extremely shy so stumbling across one is always a treat.

Like all scorpions, this one is venomous however the sting is probably no worse than that of a wasp and there have been no reports of people dying from scorpion envenomation in Au that I am aware of.

A fairly reliable guide to judging the potential toxicity of scorpion stings is to note the relative size of the pincers [chelate pedipalps] to the size of the tail and sting. In general, if the pincers are large and robust and the tail/sting slender or proportionally small, it is usually of little threat to people. This is because that species of scorpion relies principally on it's strong pincers to overwhelm it's prey and for defence, reducing the need for having highly toxic venom.

Conversely, should the animal have delicate pincers and a large or fat tail/sting - some prudence would be wise as the sting and venom are by necessity the scorpions primary weapons for defence and may be extremely dangerous to humans.

There are however, always exceptions to this rule and the best advice when dealing with venomous animals is to be mindful of your own and the animals welfare by looking but not touching.

By far the simplest method of finding scorpions is to get hold of a U.V torch and go for a wander in likely scorpion habitat.

If you're lucky you will see your quarry glowing luminescent green (no-one knows why they glow this way but it could be to attract mates or, and this is my theory, to lure prey insects that can see the U.V spectrum and are in turn attracted by the light source).

Be aware though that the human eye is not designed to stare into U.V light so use your scone and don't shine it directly into peoples faces or use for extended periods. Once you've found your scorpion use a soft red light to continue to observe them as this wont bother the animal and it won't damage your eyes.

Liocheles waigiensis

Bottle top indicates scale

Globally scorpions have become a hit in the pet trade and Australia is no exception, there may be laws and restrictions re: their collection/husbandry here so check out your relevant state or territories guidelines before you dash out and snaffle one to put in a jam jar next to your bed ...

Yes, I know it's ridiculous that you need to purchase a permit to keep a scorpion when anyone can freely own a cat ... but what can ya do?.

If you're interested in Scorpions and would like to find out more about them, head over to Mark Newtons site here: The Spiral Burrow - loads of info and even tips on scorpion husbandry.

Till next time, take care :)

Courting scorpions dance, in fact there is even a name for it; the 'promenade à deux' [A Walk For Two], - look it up on u tube. This complex behaviour is no doubt a reflection of the fact that both males and females are heavily armed and armoured - scorpions are also quite willing to eat each other, so some form of sexual communication regarding intent is a must. In some species the male will actually sting the female rendering her immobile while he has his wicked way via the transfer of a spermatophore after which he abandons the recovering female leaving her in sole charge of the offspring.


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