John Bokma MexIT
freelance Perl programmer

Second instar Centruroides gracilis feeding

Monday, August 18, 2008 | 0 comments

In the early evening I decided to feed the second instar Centruroides gracilis scorpions, about 20, still sharing the enclosure with their mother a pre-killed superworm; a larva of the darkling beetle (Zophobas morio). Viewers of Fear Factor might recognize this "worm" since it has been used several times in the second round.

Several 2nd instar scorpions diving in...
Several 2nd instar scorpions diving in...

Mind, I don't like pre-killing animals, but I am convinced that with superworms it's a requirement. Not only to prevent them from hiding in the substrate or pieces of wood, but also because I am convinced that superworms are able to eat scorpions, most likely when the scorpions are molting.

In the past I have fed small larvae to small scorpions (juvenile, or a small species). And on several occassions I couldn't find the small scorpion back. Not a single piece. Since several of the enclosures I use have no top cover, at first I suspected a house gecko; we often have at least one living in our house. But when I found a much larger beetle larva in the substrate on each occassion I started to suspect those. Especially since they seem to each almost everything, including other larva, and probably beetles if they get the chance as well.

One juvenile scorpion (right) using its tail to scare away a sibling.
One juvenile scorpion (right) using its tail to scare away a sibling.

For killing the superworm I use a small pair of scissors to cut off the head part. In this case I also made a few cuts in the chitin so the small scorpions could easier access their meal. Shortly after I had introduced the larva in the enclosure it was surrounded by several tiny scorpions. Now and then a fight broke out, scorpions pushing each other away with their tiny tails.

Later I decided to add another superworm, this time cut in small pieces. I spread the pieces on the substrate for the other small scorpions, since the first superworm had already attracted a small group, and small fights broke out often. I also sprayed a little water on a piece of wood, which attracted some juveniles as well. Soon little ones were eating and drinking.

Next week I want to move the small ones out of the enclosure as well; each in its own container, otherwise I might start losing scorpions, they have no problem eating a sibling now and then, after all.


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