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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
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ScienceShot: Some Scorpions Turn the Light Out
16 January 2013 1:35 pm
As if their venom-injecting tails and crushing pincers weren't frightening enough, scorpions have long been known to glow blue-green under ultraviolet (UV) light. But just as the arachnids' claw size and venom potency vary from species to species, so does their ability to fluoresce, with some species lacking the ability altogether, new research shows. Arachnologist Wilson Lourenço of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris initially sought to test the fluorescing capabilities of four recently discovered, cave-dwelling scorpion species (one of which is shown above, left). To his surprise, his test subjects didn't prove to be noteworthy, but the species he compared them with—the soil-loving Chaerilus telnovi—apparently doesn't glow under UV light (seen above, right). Further tests showed that other species from the Chaerilidae family also don't fluoresce, no matter their habitat, suggesting their inability to glow isn't an ecological adaptation, Lourenço reports in the current issue of the journal Comptes Rendus Biologies . Nobody knows for sure why scorpions glow; the new discovery may help scientists finally illuminate this eerie phenomenon.
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