What is a scorpion?
Scorpions are members of the class arachnida, which also includes spiders (Aranea), mites (Acari), harvestmen (Opiliones), camelspiders (Solifugae), whip scorpions (Uropygi), whip spiders (Amblypygi), Peudoscorpions (Pseudoscorpiones) and a few more smaller orders. Scorpions are easy recognizable by their characteristic pincers and the tail with a stinger. Another uniqe characteristics for scorpions is the comb-like structure on the underside known as pectines.
Where can I find scorpions?
Scorpions are distributed in tropical and some temperate areas on all continents except Antarctica and New Zealand. In Europe, northern distributied is south of the Alps (but an introduced population of Euscorpius flavicaudis exists in southern England). In North America, scorpions can be found as north as southwestern Canada. Scorpions are occationally found outside their natural areas, but these are introductions resulting from scorpions traveling as stowaways in luggage, transports of merchandises etc.
Scorpions can be found in all kinds of habitats, ranging from dry deserts to rainforests, beaches to mountaintops, isolated, rural areas to utban populations in major cities living in cracks and crevices of the walls of houses.
Medical Uses for Venom
Scorpion venom is a substance that has recently gone through testing to determine its possible benefits for human medicine. It seems that scorpion venom is more than a potentially dangerous defense mechanism for a funny looking arachnid. Current research on scorpion venom is slow going, but there are a number of medical possibilities. Some people believe scorpion venom can one day be used to cure Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis. It has already been explored to help with some cases of multiple sclerosis and cancer, and to help with heart transplants.
Pain Management with Scorpion Venom
Some people hope scorpion venom will be used as a painkiller one day. Pain is so debilitating to patients that doctors are always hoping for some better way to manage it. Early research has found that painkillers derived from a chemical in scorpion venom are very effective for certain types of pain. The key will be to determine what side effects it causes. Most new medications that have emerged for pain management have been extremely addicting, causing the huge prescription drug epidemic in our world today. Therefore, researchers are being very cautious about possible addiction to scorpion venom.
Medical benefits of venom
Out of 13 known scorpion families, only one – the Buthidae family – has been extensively studied for medical benefits. The researchers collected the venom of almost 1500 Australian scorpions, gathering data from this unique and previously untapped resource.
“Some scorpion stings cause numbness, other cause tremendous pain. The compounds which cause numbness can be directly useful in treating pain, and the ones that cause pain can teach us a lot about how pain works and how we can reduce it. We have a remarkably poor understanding of how pain is caused.”