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Scorpion Mating Ritual Scottsdale AZ


Fascinating courtship and mating ritual

One of the most fascinating characteristics of scorpions is their courtship and mating ritual. Normally this occurs on moonless nights in an area of open ground, and typically begins with a prolonged period of on-off contact movement for up to 20 minutes. Then, suddenly, the male confronts the female face to face, seizes her pincers in his own, and begins a dance like movement. Back and forth they dance and shuffle, for maybe another 10 minutes, stings raised high in the air and sometimes intertwined, gradually clearing away debris from a small area of ground. Meanwhile the male, who has no means of directly inseminating the female, lowers to the ground a sperm package. He then jerks and pulls her until she's over it, and in a quick 30-second movement she takes it up into her body. A few minutes later the male releases the female, and they go their separate ways. It all sounds quite romantic, but a more sanguine possibility behind the male's grip on the female's pincers may be that she could otherwise grab and devour him (as do female spiders and praying mantises).

Behavior towards their young

Perhaps the most endearing quality of scorpions is their behavior towards their young, which they bring forth alive. Unlike most arthropods, the scorpion females, who normally have just one litter of 6 to 30 (depending on species) a year, show genuine maternal association. When the mother is ready to deliver, she stands high above the ground on her 2 pairs of hind legs; forms a basket-like cradle with her 2 pairs of front legs; and catches the young as they emerge. The young then climb onto the mother's back, adopt random positions (except in one species, where they all line up nose to tail like railway wagons), and remain there for the next week or two until their first molt, after which - now able to sting - they dismount and go off alone. Except in one rare observed case the mothers don't directly feed the young, though occasionally the latter will descend from the mother's back while she's eating, take a quick snack, and re-mount!

Life span of 3 to 5 years

The young go through anything several molts before reaching maturity, usually within a year, though some species can take up to 3 years. They may increase in size by anything from 20 to 40% at a molt. Once mature, no further molts occur. Life span is usually around 3 to 4 years, but in one observed species was 10 years.

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