Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Two Times the Telson

I found this image in a research note published in the Journal of Arachnology (1995 23:199-201).

Something weird must have happened developmentally to cause these individuals to have two tails/stingers (metasoma/telson). Vachon believes the anomaly to be a case of incomplete twinning. Apparently this mutation was known in ancient times, because Pliny, citing Aelian (alien?), placed the two-tailed scorpions in their own class(Vachon 1953).  Modern literature does not describe these beasts until Pavesi in 1881. Since then two-tailed specimens have been described in at least 9 species of scorpion. I've heard at one point the two-tailed specimens were considered a completely different species, though this could be a misinterpretation of the point made earlier. Certainly a curiosity I'd rather not be stung/stung by.

1 comment:

  1. Very cool! I've heard about two-tailed scorpions popping up in broods every now and then. Apparently they have a very difficult time molting, so hardly any make it to adulthood. That's a shame, I think, because it would be great if someone could breed these two-tailed guys to see how genetic the condition actually is.

    The anus of a scorpion is right before the telson... so you also have to wonder, do they have two endings to their digestive system? And if so, are both functional and used? So many questions.