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Innate Behavior of Animals

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Glowing Scorpions
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Glowing Scorpions

Why It Matters

Like A Moth To A...Scorpion?

Many of you may have heard the phrase "Like a moth to a flame" or even seen kamikaze moths fly into a flame and straight to their demise. Certainly, the phenomena of insects being attracted to light is well known, but did you know there is light we can't see? Yes, it's true we can't see it, but insects can. Some organisms have made use of both insects' attraction to light and their ability to see light which escapes larger animals. Find out more in this video.

So you see organisms which are not known for their "intelligence" can still display some pretty sophisticated behaviors. Find out more about scorpions and their old body plan in this video.

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Use the resources below to answer the following questions:

  1. What is one theory to explain why some scorpions glow under ultraviolet (UV) light? What do you thing of this theory? Can you think of an alternative theory?
  2. What sensory system do scorpions use to detect approaching prey? What kind of predatory behavior do they display? (i.e. active vs. passive, seeking vs. waiting)
  3. How must the moth's vision be different than human vision for them to be attracted to the scorpion?
  4. How would natural selection favor a mechanism that allows organisms to attract prey without alerting potential predators to their presence?
  5. Did scorpions really outlast the dinosaurs? Think carefully and explain your reasoning fully.
  6. Out of all the scorpion species, how many have venom potentially dangerous to Homo sapiens? Does this percentage surprise you? Why or why not?
  7. How many walking legs do scorpions have? How does this compare to their arthropod cousins insects? How does this compare to spiders?

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