Scorpion fluorescence may help against parasites


This 2016 video from the USA says about itself:

Finding Glow-in-the-Dark Scorpions | United States of Animals

In Arizona’s Sonoran Desert, daring tourists can get up close and personal with giant hairy scorpions.

From the American Chemical Society in the USA:

Scorpions make a fluorescent compound that could help protect them from parasites

March 4, 2020

Most scorpions glow a blue-green color when illuminated by ultraviolet light or natural moonlight. Scientists aren’t sure how this fluorescence benefits the creatures, but some have speculated that it acts as a sunscreen, or helps them find mates in the dark. Now, researchers reporting in ACS’ Journal of Natural Products have identified a new fluorescent compound from scorpion exoskeletons. The team says that the compound could protect these arachnids from parasites.

More than 60 years ago, scientists first recognized scorpions‘ propensity to glow under UV light. Until now, only two fluorescent compounds, β-carboline and 7-hydroxy-4-methylcoumarin, had been identified in scorpions’ hard outer shell, or exoskeleton. Masahiro Miyashita and colleagues wondered if there might be other fluorescent molecules with different chemical properties that were missed in previous studies.

To find out, the researchers extracted compounds from molted exoskeletons of the scorpion Liocheles australasiae, using chemical conditions different from those used in prior experiments. They purified the compound showing the most intense fluorescence and identified its structure, which was a phthalate ester previously shown to have antifungal and anti-parasitic properties in other organisms. This finding suggests that the new molecule, which the researchers found in several additional scorpion species, could help guard against parasitic infections in these creatures. Compared with the two previously identified fluorescent compounds, the new molecule likely contributes more weakly to scorpion fluorescence, the scientists say.

Scientists have identified a tiny protein in scorpion venom that rapidly accumulates in joint cartilage. Then they linked these mini-proteins with steroids to reverse inflammation in rats with arthritis. The researchers found that the drugs concentrated in the joints, potentially avoiding the body-wide toxicities and infection risks caused by nontargeted steroid treatment: here.

2 thoughts on “Scorpion fluorescence may help against parasites

  1. Pingback: Brazilian toads can eat venomous scorpions | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Saving Mexican tequila bats | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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