Fluorescence in Scorpions

Keith Clark K.CLARK at ee.surrey.ac.uk
Thu Aug 25 19:01:29 EST 1994


I have a pair of adult Imperial Scorpions (Pandinus Imperator) which, when 
exposed to ultra-violet light strongly fluoresce with a vivid green colour. 
Reading some 1950's literature I have found out that the lateral eyes are 
sensitive to 370 nanometres light i.e. ultraviolet.

However, fluorescence is the translation of light to longer wavelengths, so 
surely this means that scorpions would appear black in the ultraviolet part of 
the spectrum. My questions therefore are:-

- Why do scorpions fluoresce (is it so they can identify one another)?

- What is it within the skin that causes fluorescence?

If these are dunb questions please bear with me as I am an electronics 
engineer not a biologist. The questions arise from my experience with various 
arachnids that I keep for a hobby and have been bothering me for sometime. I 
look forward to hearing from someone who can shed some light on this subject.


                                                   Keith Clark.

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