Northern Scorpion

collected in 1980
Scientific Name:
Paruroctonus boreus

The only Canadian scorpion lives in the dry valleys of the Southern Interior and is common in parts of the Okanagan. The Northern Scorpion, Paruroctonus boreus is small, shy and mostly nocturnal. Efforts to find it in the wild involve looking under stones during the day or going out at night with a black light (because scorpions glow bluish-green in the ultraviolet).

The Northern Scorpion eats small insects and spiders, which are grabbed by the claws (pedipalps) and killed with a sting from the tip of the abdomen. The sting is described as immediately painful and like that of a wasp, but only lasting for a short time. It is not fatal to humans. Although there are approximately 1700 different species of scorpion known, only about 25 have venom capable of killing a person.

Courtship and mating for scorpions is a complex ritual involving the use of smell and sound – specifically pheromones and vibrations. Once the male and female are sure that they are opposite sexes of the same species, the male helps to position the female over a sperm packet he has deposited. Scorpions bear live young, which are carried for a time on the mother’s body.

This object selected by Claudia Copley.