National Geographic

VOICES Voices Icon Ideas and Insight From Explorers

Menu

Mama Scorpion in Turkana, Kenya

Dear All – greetings from the Turkana Basin Institute in Northern Kenya.

This afternoon while I was working in my lab I heard a soft rustling noise coming from the waste-paper basket.

At first I thought that yet another careless gecko had gotten itself trapped, but on closer inspection found a small scorpion hiding within.

As I gently eased her out to release her, I noticed there was something odd about her appearance. On looking closer I discovered that she was carrying a precious cargo of babies on her back!

Mama Scorpion with her newborn babies!
Mama Scorpion with her newborn babies!

 

Scorpions are one of many animals, including invertebrates that provide tender, loving maternal care for their offspring. While many of the arthropods simply lay eggs and abandon them to their fate, a few engage in a different strategy of reproduction. Rather than ‘playing a lottery’ by producing umpteen offspring in the hope that a few survive, these creatures produce fewer offspring and protect and nurture them. This greatly increases their chances of survival, especially during the first few days of their lives when they are especially vulnerable…

Scorpion mother and her young
Scorpion mother and her young – how many baby scorpions can you see?

A lovely example of the tenderness among creatures that many might find a little scary.

More from the wonderful world of creepy crawlies soon!

 

Comments

  1. felicity claire c. ibrahim
    fiesta
    March 17, 6:03 am

    i like to be a very beutiful but it is not true?

  2. irene
    U.S.A
    March 14, 3:13 pm

    O.M.G..yes , there are mama scorpions in turkana.I came across exactly one like this a while back and we tried killing it and the baby scorpions were running allover…yeah..pretty scary and dangerous species…

  3. Jan Ove Rein
    March 12, 5:36 am

    An expert has seen the pictures and are having problem identifying the scorpion. This scorpions should have been examined by an expert as it may be a new taxa. It may be an Butheoloides species, and the species Butheoloides polisi is reported from Ethiopia. But direct examination by an expert is the only way to be sure. Anyway it is probably a new taxa for Kenya.

    Best wishes

    Jan Ove
    The Scorpion Files
    http://www.ntnu.no/ub/scorpion-files/index.php

  4. Jan Ove Rein
    Trondhein, Norway
    March 12, 3:41 am

    Very interesting scorpion that I’ve not seen from Kenya. Probably a species not yet “officially” listed for Kenya. It is a buthid /(family buthidae), but genus is unknown to me. Can you say something about it’s length (tail included)?

    Jan Ove
    The Scorpion Files
    http://www.ntnu.no/ub/scorpion-files/index.php

    • Dino Martins
      March 12, 10:24 am

      Dear Jan – thanks for your comment on the identification – I will try and get some measurements and send them to you…

  5. Ima Ryma
    March 12, 3:35 am

    Once our mating is complete,
    The mister takes off rather fast,
    Guess he does fear he I would eat.
    I focus – motherhood is cast.
    My young then are born one by one,
    Embryonic membrane expelled.
    After each hatching has been done,
    Upon my back all young are held.
    Could be a litter of from two
    To a hundred or even more.
    They all stay on my back, they do,
    Until at least one moult each score.

    Ovoviviparous I be.
    A mama scorpion is me.

  6. amun mercy
    loarengak
    March 11, 2:37 pm

    amazing!i hav neva known this.i lov it