The most feared animal in Arizona ran away from me

Centruroides sculpturatus - Arizona Bark Scorpion

I have a hard time getting worked up over stuff that happened 25 years ago. But here's something that still angers me every time I think of it.

One of those educational safety movies we were shown back in grade school- you know, the "Stop-Drop-and-Roll" variety- presented the dangers of the Bark Scorpion. The film featured dark tones and a dramatic reenactment of a deadly encounter, complete with screams and fainting.

This was shown in Rochester, New York, mind you. We don't have scorpions anywhere near Rochester. The climate is is far too cold. And the one potentially dangerous American species, our friend the bark scorpion, is found in Arizona. As far as anyone knows, the Bark Scorpion has only killed two people since 1968. Did I mention that Rochester consistently sports one of the highest homicide rates in the country? No? Well. At least the kids in Rochester know to check their shoes for the dreaded bark scorpion.

There was absolutely no reason to show that horrible movie, other than to instill in children the idea that arthropods are scary, icky, dangerous animals that should be killed. No reason. It still ticks me off that someone's bug phobia got turned into a state-endorsed lesson plan.

While out photographing harvester ants this weekend, I happened upon one of these dreaded animals when I disturbed a rock. The scorpion, which as you can see is a very pretty orange animal, cowered. It tried to make itself look as small as possible. This made for a boring picture so I poked at its legs with a twig, hoping that it might brandish a claw or wave its tail about photogenically. Instead it ran for cover. I let it go.

photo details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon 20D

f/13, 1/250 sec, ISO 100, twin flash diffused through tracing paper

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If the most feared animal in Arizona ran away from you, then logic dictates that you are the most feared animal in Arizona! No wonder the Feds are giving you a hard time. :)

Long ago I used to catch these cute scorpions while at summer camp. After taking them for a ride in a canoe we would deposit them in the middle of the girls camp. Juvenile I know, but hey I was 11 at the time.

How do you like the MP-E?

Eric. Ah, you're probably the reason they made those stupid movies in the first place.

The MP-E is fantastic! It's the lens that sits on my camera 95% of the time.