Friday, December 30, 2011

Why do scorpions glow in the dark?

If you’re the type of person who looks for scorpions, rather than runs screaming at the thought of them, then you’re in luck. Scorpions are easy to find. Just go into the desert in the middle of the night, and switch on an ultraviolet (UV) light. Under the beam, scorpions glow a vibrant blue-green, lighting up like beacons against the darkness.

No one knows why scorpions glow. Some have suggested that it’s accidental – the two chemicals responsible for the glow could be by-products of normal chemical reactions. Others proposed that scorpions could glow to lure their prey, although it seems that insects actually avoid fluorescent scorpions. The glow could warn predators or help scorpions to recognise each other, although neither possibility has been tested.