Scorplings!?!

May 18, 2011 | Sherry Samuels

We did have births at the Museum in April, although not wolf pups. Rachael Knight, the Museum’s entomology specialist, spends her time in the Insectarium. Read her report below about the birth of some Pandinus Imperator scorpions.  Please let us know in the comment section if you’d like Rachael to share more stories from the world of invertebrates!

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As far as we know there were three of them [scorplings].  When we (Butterfly House staff) noticed the little white chubby nymphs clinging to one of our Pandinus Imperator scorpions, we deduced that one of our new females must have arrived pregnant.  Since then I’ve read varying statistics on the internet concerning Emperor breeding and care of “scorplings.”  (A word I’d not encountered before and find quite delightful.)

Scorplings and Mama

Gestation, apparently, can last anywhere from seven to eighteen months, the number of young ranges from just one, all the way up to twenty, and by all accounts, a myriad of conditions need to be met, humidity being the most crucial.  Considering that our enclosure is designed for viewing instead of rearing, and that so many variables were at play, I thought it best to remove mother and riders to a new location.

By the time I’d decided to do this, one of the scorplings was missing, eaten as far as we know.  For, as I have learned, obligate burrower mothers, such as ours, are cannibalistic.  She may eat her young, other scorpions may try to eat them, the food insects may eat them, and if they manage to survive through their first molt, they may eat each other.  In spite of, or perhaps because of all this cannibalism, scorpion mothers are very protective of their young.  They in turn, are reliant on her, even after they’ve begun to venture out on their own they will scurry back when frightened.  I hope the little scorplings make it, because I’d really enjoying watching them grow.  However, the guides and care sheets I’ve read so far have put my expectations fairly low.  I’ll try not to feel too bad if they don’t, and keep in mind the dubious, yet reassuring stat:  “As few as 1% survive to adulthood in the wild.”

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