The Giant Desert Hairy Scorpion

Giant Hairy ScorpionThe giant desert hairy scorpion is an iconic denizen of the Mojave Desert. Known to biologists as the hadrurus arizonensis, it is also called the desert giant hairy scorpion or Arizona Desert hairy scorpion, It is the largest scorpion in North America.
Its large size allows it to feed easily on other scorpions and a variety of other prey, including lizards and snakes, large insects, spiders, and small vertebrates. They will lie in wait to ambush their prey, grabbing their prey using pinchers and inflicting a debilitating sting with their tails. After the prey is immobilized, the scorpion tears the carcass apart with its pinchers and begins feeding.
One of the nine species of Hadrurus in the United States, the giant hairy scorpion attains a length of six inches, is usually light brown to yellow with a dark top and has yellow lobster-like pincers called pedipalps. Its common names derive from the brown hairs that cover its body. They have a long tail (telson) that is tipped with a bulb-like poison gland and stinger and four pairs of legs. Commonly thought to be insects, scorpions are actually in the same family as spiders, ticks and mites. Like all scorpions, they fluoresce a greenish blue under black (UV) lights.
As is common in scorpions, the hadrurus arizonensis has poor eyesight, good hearing and an extremely refined sense of touch. Its body hairs are used to detect air and soil vibrations.
Hadrurus arizonensis is distributed throughout the Sonoran and Mojave deserts. In Mexico, the species’ range flanks the Gulf of California in Sonora and Baja California Norte. In the United States, it is found in the western two thirds of Arizona, the Colorado Desert and Mojave Desert regions of southern California, southern Nevada, and extreme southwestern Utah. A warm-desert species specially adapted to hot and dry conditions, they are typically found in and around washes or low-elevation valleys where they dig elaborate burrows up to eight feet deep or dwell beneath rocks and emerge at night to forage for prey and mates.
An aggressive and active scorpion, the giant hairy scorpion is nocturnal and gives birth to live young, which remain on the mother’s back for a week or more before leaving. Because they are nocturnal, they are able to withstand extremely hot regions and use rocks as means of protecting themselves from the heat of the day.
Despite its size, this scorpion’s venom is not very potent, and its sting is commonly perceived to be about as painful as a honeybee’s sting. Nevertheless, an allergic reaction to its venom can be fatal, and the symptoms can include difficulty breathing, excessive swelling, and prolonged pain.
They are able to withstand extremely hot regions because they are active primarily at night. Rocks are frequently utilized as retreats from the heat of the day.
They are preyed upon by birds, bats, small mammals, large spiders, centipedes and lizards. Moreover, female scorpions, which are larger than the males generally, will frequently feed upon their mates. Scorpions engage in an elaborate dance where the male grasps the female’s pinchers and moves around, attempting to find a suitable location to deposit his sperm sack. Once the sperm is deposited, the male will maneuver the female over the spot, where she will receive the sperm. After mating, the male will attempt a quick retreat, but is often caught and consumed by his wife.

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