meet max.  he’s an emperor scorpion, Pandinus imperator, which is, of course, not a true spider (order Araneae), but rather a member of the order Scorpiones – but still in the class Arachnida, so we’ll let it slide, as we occasionally have in the past.  max lives at the santa barbara museum of natural history, and was making lunch of a hapless cricket when i met him.  having never seen a large scorpion quite this close before, i was fascinated by the chelicerae in particular, which are fringed with brilliant yellow-green setae.  (i confess, i did not envy the cricket its view of them.)

i didn’t actually know much about scorpions, other than that they bear live young, which they carry on their backs, and that the constellations scorpius and orion chase each other across the sky, and other than the rumor that you can gauge a scorpion’s toxicity by comparing the thickness of its tail to that  of its legs, or alternately by looking at the size of the claws (allegedly, larger claws = less toxic).  i wasn’t able to confirm or refute either of these though – anyone know?  i did find out that many scorpions glow under a blacklight, that they are found almost everywhere in the southern hemisphere except antarctica and new zealand, and that they have many anatomical features in common with spiders (common sense i guess, being in the same class), but also many unique ones – for more anatomy, see diagrams here and here.

i also discovered that i now have three cameras that all have separate roles, each being good at one thing in particular but none being great at all functions.  the large SLR digital takes great still shots but isn’t so good up close; the small sea & sea (my dive camera) takes the best macro and close-up shots, but relatively crap videos; and the new video camera takes nice wee films but doesn’t focus terribly close.  le sigh.  i have visions of myself carrying around an increasingly bulky and diverse bag of photographic stuff and gradually becoming more and more hunchbacked and igoresque.  on the bright side, that will put my eyes closer to bug-level.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend