Alice Springs Desert Park

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The Desert Scorpion (Urodacus yaschenkoi), also known as the Inland Robust Scorpion are nocturnal carnivorous hunters. As well as actively hunting for food, they are known to lie in wait in the entrance of their burrow for suitable prey to pass by.

Their prey include a variety of smaller invertebrates including beetles and spiders. They use their pedipalps (their pincer-like frontal appendages) to capture their prey and injecting venom from their stinging tail.

Like all arachnids, scorpions are liquid feeders, in that solid food prey has to be pre-digested externally. This involves pieces of prey being passed to a pre-oral cavity where they are covered in digestive juices that breaks down the tissues, enabling the scorpion to ingest the prey. Any tough exoskeleton of the prey is discarded after the flesh is consumed.

Images © Greg Sully

Scorpions create burrows, living in underground chambers, enabling them to escape from the heat and cold. The entrances to their chambers are similar to certain lizards species that also live in underground burrows. The entrances to both the scorpions and lizards are similar in that they have a half moon shape. The main difference between the entrances is that the lizards burrow entrance have their corners up-turned (like a smile), whilst the scorpion entrance have their corners down-turned (like a frown).

One of the amazing ways to spotlight scorpions is by using a ultraviolet light source. The scorpion exoskeleton are fluoresce, making them quite easy to see at night.

Footage of the Desert Scorpion (Urodacus yaschenkoi) by Greg Sully for Ausemade Pty Ltd (location Alice Springs Desert Park).

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  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Arachnida
  • Order: Scorpiones
  • Family: Scorpionidae
  • Subfamily: Urodacinae
  • Genus: Urodacus
  • Species: U. yaschenkoi
  • Binomial name: Urodacus yaschenkoi