Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Courtship- Insect Style

Okay, I'll admit right now that I had no clue the royal wedding was taking place today. I didn't find out about it until flipping on the television this morning and coverage was on every channel. I know, I must be living under a rock somewhere, right? To help celebrate the nuptials that I missed (but I'm sure I will be able to catch as they replay it over and over again), I am providing you with courtship behavior of scorpions.

After males locate a female, they engage in a "courtship dance". The male and female will grasp each other's pedipalps (claws/ pincers) and maneuver around in a manner that may look as if they are dancing (or grappling in an MMA match, depending on your tastes).  The male selects a location to place his spermatophore- a packet of sperm- and maneuvers the female towards the location for her to pick it up.

Gestation can be a few months to over a year.  Female scorpions do not lay eggs but give birth to live young.  The baby scorpions will climb on their mother's back and stay there until they molt for the first time.  Some young will climb back onto their mother's back after the first molt and remain and additional 4-5 days.

Update on the boy:

The boy is more fun and more challenging each day.   While he's fantastic, he can really be exhausting.  We're still reading a ton of books to him; I've now switched to reading to him from my kindle before naps and bedtime.  We've been going through a ton of books, so I decided to get a bunch of the free classics to read- Gulliver's Travels, Treasure Island, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.

We recently went to Galveston for the Imported Fire Ant Conference and got to go the aquarium at Moody Gardens.  

It was wonderful and the boy had a great time watching all of the marine life.  The octopus freaked him out, so he wasn't willing to stand and watch the beauty and gracefulness of it moving about, but the rays and turtle in the large aquarium were a never ending source of fun for him.  We probably stood in front of that aquarium for 45 minutes.

Other big happenings in our household are that the boy is going to start school much earlier than we thought.  We recently got a call from the school where he starts in August saying they have an opening for their summer program, so instead of August it's the end of May!  I'm still trying to get my brain around it.  It will be a huge change for our family, but I think that it will be great!


katina said...

I went backpacking last night and it was so hot I decided to not sleep in my sleeping bag. I kept waking up because of insects biting me and in my sleep delirious state, I kept thinking of this post with the scorpions and hoping that they weren't around because I definitely did not want to get stung by one. I know, weird thing to think in the middle of the night, but there you go.

Ted said...

I don't think that I've ever seen anything talk about how the young scorpions feed while they are living on their mother's back. Do they come down when she has killed prey? Or do they have enough fat reserves to live through an entire molt without feeding?

Wizzie Brown said...

Katina- Sorry for the sleepless night.
Ted- I've read that first instars scorpions feed on reserves from the yolk. After the first instar they can feed on small insects.