Fluorescence in Scorpions

tivol at tethys.ph.albany.edu tivol at tethys.ph.albany.edu
Fri Aug 26 11:40:25 EST 1994

Keith Clark asks about fluorescence in scorpions and says that since fl. 
shifts UV to longer wavelengths, "surely" they must appear black in the UV
part of the spectrum.
	Well, not quite.  They would appear gray (at a particular wavelength)
if only a fraction ov the UV were absorbed.  Furthermore, if only a set of
incident wavelengths is responsible for exciting the fl., the other w.l.'s
could be reflected efficiently, giving scorpions an apparent color in the UV
by the same mechanism as objects have apparent colors to us.  Also, maybe
they are more interested in the UV color of, say, lunch.  As to why they fl.,
I need much more info before I'll speculate.  The short answer to what in the
skin causes this is "some chemical"; someone has to find out what constitutes
the outer few layers of scorpion and then find out (experimentally if no one
has done it before) which components could do the job.  I wouldn't know where
to begin to look.  BTW, my fingernails fl. bluish, so perhaps this is a com-
mon phenomenon.  Scorpions do live in an environment with a lot of ambient UV
so they may, indeed, have a use for it.  Good luck.  If you find out the ans-
wers, please post them.
					Bill Tivol

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