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Department Of Scorpiology

In some historical cultures, scorpions have been revered and are believed to have special powers. In fact, in ancient societies such as those in Egypt, the scorpion image appears as religious symbols on seals, amulets, tombs, and monuments. Egyptians called their scorpion deity Serqet. Serqet was the goddess that protected the body and organs of the dead. She also accompanied them into the afterlife. In Babylonia, the scorpion plays an important role in stories as being “agents of the devil”. In Greek mythology, scorpions play a prominent role as being the creature that killed Orion, the son of Zeus. In many cultures, scorpions are one of the twelve signs of the Zodiac and are often depicted as tools used to exact revenge. Negative connotations of scorpions carry over to modern times where scorpions are still seen by many as fearsome creatures. This perception is valid, however, for a small proportion of scorpion species. Most scorpions are not aggressive and will only attack to defend themselves. Even when they do attack, most inflict minor pain and discomfort, and their sting is usually less painful than a honeybee’s sting. Scorpions have been on the planet since the middle Silurian period, approximately 425 to 450 million years ago, and their body plan has seen little change from when it first appeared in the fossil records. It is believed that they are descendants from Eurypterida, or the Sea Scorpion, and when predation became too intense in the open waters, Sea Scorpions moved closer to land and became the first arthropod to live on land. It remains unknown as to whether the first scorpions were aquatic, marine, or amphibious in origin. Marine and amphibious scorpions lived until about 250 to 300 million years ago, and the earliest known terrestrial scorpions appeared in the late Devonian or early Carboniferous period, around 325 to 350 million years ago. Movement from the sea to land enabled researchers to use fossil records and amber samples to determine that scorpions comprised one hundred and eleven different species. It is believed that the major differences between the ancient scorpions and the ones on earth today include changes in locomotion, size, and respiration Aside from the three major adaptations that allow scorpions to live on land, it appears that very little has changed structurally and biologically in scorpions since their origin. Since the Paleozoic era, the number of scorpion species has continued to grow, and the geographical location of the scorpions has continued to spread. Scorpions are found on all continents except for Antarctica, and are most abundant in tropical and subtropical regions. Although scorpions are found in great numbers in deserts and semi-desert habitats, they can also be found in savannas, grasslands, tropical forests, rain forests, temperate forests, caves, in the snow as high as 5500 meters in elevation, 800 meters below the Earth’s surface, and at the seashore.

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