Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New mum

We have had an event within our animal collection this week - one of our scorpions (Lychas sp.) has given birth to around 30 tiny babies. Scorpions are viviparous – they give birth to live young. They are born individually via a genital operculum on the underside of the mother. She forms a cradle for the youngsters with her legs, and catches them as they emerge. The babies then crawl up onto their mother's back. They hitch a ride for a around 4 weeks until they undergo their first moult. At that stage they will begin to disperse and fend for themselves. We will watch for this to occur and separate them when it does, as once they disperse mum begins to lose the maternal instinct and may eat them.

Baby scorpions being caught by the mother as they are being born.

The young make their way up to their mother's back soon after they emerge.

The female resting with around 30 offspring on her back.

This species is from the dry country about 100km west of Kuranda. It appears to be a specialist spider hunter. This individual is featured in the bug series we have just finished working on for Discovery Science in the US.

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