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Huntsman of the Night (Smeringurus mesaensis)

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Smeringurus mesaensis (the Dune Scorpion) is a sizeable arachnid that ranges throughout the Southwestern United States and Mexico. They get their common name from the habitats in which they call home - open deserts/dunes. Individuals spend the scorching daytime hours hunkered down in burrows and only emerge to go about life once darkness has fallen. Females generally outgrow males and measure up to approximately 3 inches in length at adulthood, making them one of North America's largest scorpions! If threatened, these animals will raise the tail end of their bodies high into the air, sending a clear message to potential predators - "Back off." Those that choose not to heed this warning may be subjected to a mildly toxic, yet unpleasant sting. Reproduction takes place in late summer/early fall every year. During this time, the male scorpion will scour the land on the scent of mates. The female is able to recognize any prospective suitors by the unique vibrations that they create. Once one has gotten within range, she will meet them and initiate a courtship ritual. Should everything go well, she'll be pregnant by the end of the night. Roughly a year later, each tiny scorpling emerges from the mother's genital operculum and crawls onto her back. They will rest here until they shed their soft, newborn exoskeletons and are ready to fend for themselves.

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