MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: Why do scorpions shine flourecently under UV light?

Date: Wed Feb 17 18:02:53 1999
Posted By: David Richman, Staff, Entomology, New Mexico State University
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 919162968.Zo

Scorpions are not the only arthropods to fluoresce - some sowbugs and moth pupae do so as well. When scorpions molt, the shed skin retains the ability to fluoresce, but the scorpion has to wait for about 48 hours to regain its fluorescence. Apparently the material that is fluorescent is only in the cuticle. It appears that this may actually be caused by calcium salts that are stored as waste in the outer integument and may have little to do with any real function. In other words, it may be accidentally fluorescent. Some researchers, however, think that scorpions may be able to perceive UV light, in which case it might have some function. We just do not know enough yet.

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