Monday, February 2, 2015

Scorpion sans sting

What is this, you ask? It is the south end of a scorpion going north, a scorpion that has ditched its tail. Biologist Camilo Mattoni of the National University of Cordoba in Argentina has found that a group of rare South American scorpions practice autotomy, that is they can voluntarily self-amputate their tails to escape danger. Mattoni has observed that up to 8% of wild Ananteris scorpions are wandering about with stumps instead of stings. They survive for about 8 months. They can get by without their main defense mechanism, but not without their anus. It is located in one of the segments which breaks off, consequently they can never defecate again and their abdomens swell up with poop. The females, with young to care for, avoid this sordid fate, but males still have the better part of year to sow their seed before they succumb.

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