Motherly care

This post is also available in: Dutch.

A mother protectively carrying her young, much like the Island of Curacao carrying its inhabitants ...

These animals never fail to fascinate me. Most people rather see them going than coming, but a closer look will reveal part of their wonderful way of life. In general you will not experience an encounter with a yellow scorpion (Centruroides hasethi) during daylight hours, only if you would turn over stones in humid locations, like in gully valleys (locally called ‘rooien’). During the hours of darkness they will hunt for insects. Sometimes they are encountered in the same living space that humans occupy, which generally results into screaming and frantic aerosol spraying. The feared sting at the end of the tail is their means of protection, but will be used only sparingly because making toxins is energetically ‘expensive’. That said, the yellow scorpion is far from lethal. If stung by one of these, most people will not experience anything more discomforting than what a bee sting would inflict. Of the 1750 or so species worldwide, only about 25 are the real baddies, and not to be found on Curacao. Instead of squashing such a neat example of natural engineering, just consider sweeping it up gently with a broom and dustpan for transferral to the garden.

These eight legged nocturnal arthropods exhibit a level of maternal care that revels the level expressed by most humans. After mating, which is an artful process which will even include some complex courtship dancing, the female lays eggs and attaches them to her abdomen. After hatching, the youngsters will climb on her back where they will remain for quite some time. They need her protection, and she will regulate their moisture levels until at least their first mold. Super mums!

About Leon Pors