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Female scorpion basking

Monday, January 16, 2006 | 0 comments

Today I was again intrigued by the female Florida bark scorpion (Centruroides gracilis) that I keep as a pet. When the sun is low, around 4-5pm, and shines in her enclosure, she seems to prefer to sit in the spot that receives the most light and hence warmth. Since scorpions are nocturnal animals, I considered this behavior quite odd.

Female Centruroides gracilis basking
Female Centruroides gracilis basking

Esme described the scorpion once as a happy cat. And that is how it looks. The scorpion turns, and moves until it has found a nice spot. It snuggles into a position with it's behind toward the sun. When one of us casts a shadow she starts to move again, looking for a better spot.

I posted this behavior in the Scorpions section of Arachnoboards, and one reply suggested that she might be gravid, since gravid scorpions seem to prefer to heat up their abdomen which probably stimulates the development of the embryos. I already had the impression that the scorpion is gravid, so maybe I can expect a lot (40-50 is common) of little scorpions in a few months...

Female Centruroides gracilis basking under a desktop lamp
Female Centruroides gracilis basking under a desktop lamp

Later in the evening, I tried a little experiment. I put a desktop (halogen) lamp near to the terrarium of the scorpion and let it shine on a small part of the inside of the terrarium. A few minutes later, the scorpion was resting on a branch, almost directly under the lamp. After 10 minutes, I moved the lamp so it heated a different part of the terrarium and again the scorpion moved to the best spot.

Female Centruroides gracilis basking under a desktop lamp
Female Centruroides gracilis basking under a desktop lamp

Somewhat later I moved the lamp back to the first position, and it took the scorpion about 7 minutes to realize the light had moved and finding the new hot spot.

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