Scorpions and Shedding

Written by bailey richert
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Scorpions and Shedding
Scorpions shed their exoskeleton during growth. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

The word scorpion refers to nearly 2,000 various species of arthropod that inhabit various habitats on earth including both deserts and forests. Scorpions are characterised by their 8 legs, 2 front pinching claws and hard outer skeleton. During growth into adulthood, a scorpion will shed its exoskeleton multiple times in a process known as moulting.

Overview of the Scorpion

There are nearly 2,000 species of the genus Scorpiones in existence today. These creatures all have in common key features which allows scientists to classify their origins. These features include their eight legs, distinctive front claws, exoskeleton, carnivorous diet and poisonous tail. Three inches is an expected length of most scorpions at adulthood. Scorpions eat primarily insects which they can catch using the powerful force of their pincers and tail. They are also known to burrow underground for protection and shade. Under ultraviolet lighting, scorpions also become florescent.

Purpose of Exoskeleton

The exoskeleton of the scorpion serves multiple purposes. Like a human's skin, it's primary function is to act as a material which holds the body together. Exoskeletons are also very hard, so another purpose is to protect the scorpion from predators like shrews and tarantulas as well as harsh environmental conditions like desert wind storms. The exoskeleton also protects the scorpion during its burrowing activities underground.

Why Scorpions Shed Their Exoskeleton

Scorpions will live anywhere from 4 to 8 years. During the first few years of its life, it is growing into adulthood. After the exoskeleton is produced by the scorpion, it cannot grow with the rest of the body. Therefore, it must be discarded, and a new exoskeleton must be formed in order for the scorpion to grow to adult size.

Shedding Process

Scorpions will burrow for several days before it decides to shed its exoskeleton. At this time it may not eat, and it will not want to interact with other scorpions. The moulting process takes approximately 12 hours. During moulting, the scorpion will be experiencing high stress volumes. The scorpion will crawl out of its exoskeleton and leave it to decompose. The new scorpion will have a white appearance before it is able to produce a new exoskeleton to replace the old. Scorpions will shed its exoskeleton around six times before it is fully grown.

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