Fluorescence in Scorpions

Frank Heasley fheasley at gate.net
Sat Aug 27 09:04:12 EST 1994

tivol at tethys.ph.albany.edu wrote:
Fluroescence in scorpions

I've observed the same phenomena in the common black scorpions found here 
in Florida, and have demonstrated same many times to folks at the Museum 
of Discovery and Science.  The original speculation was that it was a 
hunting mechanism, as many insects are attracted by light and scorpions 
are hunters.  Unfortunately, there's very little U.V. around at night, 
when insects would be attracted, and when scorpions generally are out and 
hunting.  The best data I've found so far is that as many insects mature 
they generate fluorescent pigments from the natural breakdown and 
interconversion of biomolecules: proteins, nucleic acids, 
polysaccharides, etc.  These tend to accumulate in the exoskeleton, and 
so they fluoresce.  In fact, I've noticed that large, older specimens do 
appear to be more fluorescent than younger, smaller ones, and I don't 
think that it's just the size that gives the appearance of a brighter 
emission.  This is a fascinating subject, and I'd like to hear anyone 
else's comments about it.

Frank Heasley, PhD
fheasley at gate.net

More information about the Bioforum mailing list