There are twelve known species of scorpions in Costa Rica, and, of them, only one or two have a sting that can cause a great deal of pain to its victim.
Scorpions are found in many locations throughout the world. There are 70 known species in the United States, 12 in Costa Rica and 1,500 worldwide. They inhabit a variety of ecosystems from desert to shady sections of human domiciles. In Costa Rica, they are most often found in wet and shady areas of the forest floor, and some inhabit caves like at Barra Honda National Park.
Mating & Reproduction
Most scorpions produce offspring via sexual reproduction, but some species of scorpions are asexual. The young of scorpions are born ovoviviparous meaning that they do not hatch from eggs placed outside of their parents’ bodies, but rather form from an egg that is inside the parent. Scorpions generally produce a clutch of 24-35 babies that take about one year to develop into adults. In the time before they have fully developed, scorpions hitch rides on their mothers backs.
If the scorpions produce by sexual reproduction, they go through a courtship ritual. The male takes the female by the pedipalps (pincers), and then leads her in a sort of dance. When the courtship ritual has been completed, the male looks for a suitable place to place his sperm, and then leads the female to the location. The female then positions herself over the sperm, and the sperm then enters her genital opercula.
The young stay with their mother for a period after birth from up to one year or longer. Even after the young scorpions have fully developed, they may continue to stay with their mother. The scorpions develop by either five or seven instars (development stages) in which they shed their exoskeletons.
Scorpions are carnivorous, and often eat small arthropods. They are also nocturnal, and spend their daytime hours in hiding. Most stings that humans encounter happen in the daytime when disturbing a resting scorpion.
When they catch prey, they will kill it in one of two ways. First, they will use their pincers to crush the prey if they can. Second, they will use their stinger to inject their prey with a neurotoxic venom. After they have killed their prey, they will take it apart with their pincers and eat it in pieces.
Scorpions survive can survive in extreme environments. Some Scorpions that live in high mountain regions of Patagonia, Europe and Asia live in frigid temperatures of minus 25°C. In the desert of Turkmenistan there are seven species of scorpion that live in temperatures from minus 31°C to 50°C.
In popular culture, scorpions are represented in the Babylonian zodiac, and they also make a tasty snack in China. Various countries in Asia produce scorpion whiskey which is believed to be medicinal and an aphrodisiac. In Islamic and Egyptian cultures the scorpion is both feared and revered as being both an evil creature, and one that protects people from evil.
Locations in Costa Rica: La Amistad International Park, Cahuita National Park, Juan Castro Blanco National Park, Cocos Island, Tortuguero National Park
Diet: small arthropods
Migration Pattern: non-migratory
Species: Centruroides limbatus, Centruroides bicolor etc.