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Centruroides orizaba at last

Saturday, April 26, 2008 | 0 comments

Read the previous part of this blog entry in Hiking near Acultzingo (South).

On our way back out of the hollow, I looked under some stones to the side of the dirt track, not actually expecting to find a scorpion. On the other hand, we often encounter more scorpions at the end of the day, so I hadn't lost all hope. And then I was rewarded. When I carefully turned a stone upside down I spotted a beautiful male scorpion, as far as I could see an adult, and clearly beloning to the genus Centruroides. So I grabbed my camera and started to take photos.

Adult male Centruroides orizaba.
Adult male Centruroides orizaba.

While I was taking photos Esme, carrying Alice, had come closer, and suddenly remarked that there was another scorpion on the stone I had just turned over. So I looked at the stone, and indeed, this one was clearly a female. Based on her position, it looked like the two scorpions had been almost on top of each other before I turned over the stone; the male on the soil, the female hanging upside down above the male, holding on to the surface of the stone. The latter is why one always has to be very careful when looking under stones for scorpions.

Uncovered microhabitat of Centruroides orizaba.
Uncovered microhabitat of Centruroides orizaba.

The only thing I could remember from the Spanish article I had read on Centruroides orizaba was that the scorpion was pale yellow colored with brown stains. To me, the male did fit my vague recollection perfectly: the tail was clearly pale yellow. Moreover, I was very impressed with the beautiful orange color of the telson.

Adult female Centruroides orizaba.
Adult female Centruroides orizaba.

But when I looked at the female I was doubting if I had found Centruroides orizaba. The same Spanish article, by Luis F. de Armas and Eliézer Martín-Frías mentioned that Centruroides infamatus had been reported from the same area. Could it be that two species were hiding under the same stone? I considered it unlikely. Moreover, I knew that coloration of scorpions could vary a lot within the same species, and also depended on age. So I decided to take both species with me for further study, hoping that both would be Centruroides orizaba.

Centruroides orizaba habitat: stones near a dirt road.
Centruroides orizaba habitat: stones near a dirt road.

Since it was getting late I took a few more photos of the environment, after I had carefully put the stone back in its place, and we continued on our way back. Out of curiosity I looked under a few more stones, but no more scorpions. Shortly after a man came in our direction leading two bulls. Alice reacted very enthousiastically with "mooh" sounds, she is really into cows nowadays.

Landscape near Acultzingo, looking south.
Landscape near Acultzingo, looking south.

We climbed the slope, back to the road. I took some photos of the landscape, looking to to the south. One day I want to come back, and explore that part a bit more. Of course I also took a photo of the part we had found our scorpion couple, see the photo below. In the center you can see the dirt track, and to the left of the track the two bulls and the man are somewhat visible.

Landscape near Acultzingo, looking east.
Landscape near Acultzingo, looking east.

When we arrived at the road, we walked back to the train track, and decided to follow the train track a little to the left. More maize fields were visible, and more houses. But I was not really interested to look for more scorpions. After a bit more walking we started to follow a road back to the main road. Not for long we were back on our way to Orizaba, in an AU bus this time.

Alice and Katia having fun.
Alice and Katia having fun.

In the evening we visited Esme's cousin. Of her three children only her youngest daughter was at home, to great pleasure of Alice who had a lot of fun playing with Katia. Around ten Esme's cousin took us and her daughter for a long ride before she dropped us at hotel "Mediterráneo". All in all we had had a great but very tiring day, and shortly after we had reached our room we all slept.

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