Bug of the Week: Scorpion Under Glass

A few days ago I needed a glass vase for a project. When I pulled it down from the shelf, look who I found inside:

scorpion-clear-stingerFortunately scorpions can’t climb glass, so it was definitely trapped in there.

scorpion-close-upAlthough the lighting was less than ideal, it was a good opportunity to see the scorpion parts close up.

scorpion-anatomyIf you are interested in learning more about scorpion anatomy, try our previous post about scorpions.

Scorpions are most active during the summer in Arizona. They hunt for insects at night and hide during the day. People usually don’t like them very much because they can deliver a painful – and potentially health-threatening if it is a bark scorpion – dose of venom when they sting.

Scorpions have an intriguing side, however. One really cool thing about scorpions is that they have a natural fluorescence. They glow at night under ultraviolet lights. See, for example, in this video:

Still not convinced scorpions can be interesting? Wired Magazine recently had an article about a doctor who is researching the use of a component of scorpion venom to mark brain tumors. Fascinating!

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Mystery Seed of the Week 213

Once again, the pods may help you identify the seeds.

mystery-seed-213-seed-podsThe pods are pretty tough.

mystery-seed-213-pod-1They are often opened by birds who are trying to get at the seeds inside.

mystery-seed-213-11Inside the pods are numerous small seeds.

mystery-seeds-213-manyDo you recognize what plant these seeds are from? If you choose to, please leave a comment with your ideas.

Thanks to the volunteers at the Desert Botanical Garden who donated these for the photograph.

New mystery seeds and Seed of the Week answers are posted on Tuesdays.

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Seed of the Week: Blue Hibiscus

Last time our seeds were from a plant from Africa, the natal plum. This week our mystery seeds are from an Australian native:  the blue hibiscus, Alyogyne huegelii.

blue-hibiscus-shrubBlue hibiscus is a large, perennial evergreen shrub that can definitely turn heads when it is flowering.

blue-hibicus-in-landscape

Here is Arizona it adds some bright contrast to the spring pageant of wildflowers.

blue-hibiscus-leaf

The leaves are delicate, deeply lobed and covered with fine hairs.

blue hibiscus flowersAlthough called blue hibiscus, the flowers actually range in color from pink to deep purple.

blue-hibiscus-close-up

nice-blue-hibiscus-side

What more can you say?

Blue hibiscus is easy to grow and drought tolerant. The only problem is that it can be very sensitive to some of the soil-borne fungal diseases (common in Arizona), such as Texas root rot.

Have you ever grown blue hibiscus?

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