Violent Love

It made me wonder: “How do scorpions fuck without killing each other?”

The answer of course, is- often, they don’t.

Males and females find each other by vibration, scent and touch. During mating, the sensory pectines under the body are used to find a suitable place for the male to deposit his sperm parcel – the spermatophore. The male and female then perform a mating dance above the spermatophore, with the female being wrestled into position over it in order to draw it up into her genital pore. The fertilised eggs develop inside her body, and she then gives birth to live young. She carries the pale young scorpions on her back for the first few days or weeks, until they are strong enough to become independent. The young then disperse to find food and shelter. Scorpions take a long time to reach maturity, moulting frequently (up to five or six times over two to six years) in order to grow, and may live for two to ten years. Some have been recorded as living up to 25 years.

Violent love: scorpion mating is dangerous for both parties. Most scorpions are loners because of their cannibalistic tendencies. When two scorpions meet, they usually fight until one is killed and eaten by the winner. After mating, the smaller scorpion is often in danger of being eaten. As females are usually bigger, it is the male which usually gets eaten.

The male and female find each other through pheromones, using their pectines. The male usually makes the first move, although some females do so. He usually has a complex courtship display to ensure the female knows he is one of her kind and not lunch. Some males “judder” (rapid rocking, shaking movements) to advertise his species (Vejovoides, Nebo). Some sting the female, possibly with pheromones, sedatives or other species identificators. Others club the female with their tails. Some males (Hadogenes) have ridiculously longer tails than females, suggesting that the length is important more for mating than hunting.

We would look into one another’s eyes, not without dread; we were bound together, but we no longer felt the slightest hope.”

– Bataille


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