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 What makes scorpions glow under a black light?

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burtaandurny101
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PostSubject: What makes scorpions glow under a black light?   2/12/2009, 3:26 am

i was wondering if anybody knew what about them makes them glow?
Went to the store and got a black light bulb today and it is waay cool. it gave me the urge to feed my lust for knowledge.


Last edited by Mr. Mordax on 2/12/2009, 11:36 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : The title typo makes me twitch)
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Bayss
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PostSubject: Re: What makes scorpions glow under a black light?   2/12/2009, 4:38 am

It is a part of the exoskeleton...phosphorous I believe, but don't hold me to that. One of the experts can definitely tell you. All scorpions have it...looks cool eh?
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RyoKenzaki
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PostSubject: Re: What makes scorpions glow under a black light?   2/12/2009, 6:29 am

From what i know, a freshly molted scorpion wont glow until their exo harden up
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PostSubject: Re: What makes scorpions glow under a black light?   2/12/2009, 6:36 am

Bayss wrote:
It is a part of the exoskeleton...phosphorous I believe, but don't hold me to that. One of the experts can definitely tell you. All scorpions have it...looks cool eh?

Well there is alot of theories about this, and alot of experts have all they own appenion about this i dont belive anything have been proven yet.. so stick with the theory you like Very Happy

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Mr. Mordax
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PostSubject: Re: What makes scorpions glow under a black light?   2/12/2009, 11:42 am

There's some chemical in the exoskeleton that fluoresces, and that chemical is only present after scleritolization (hardening) -- this is why a freshly molted scorpion does not glow, but its old exo does.

As to what this particular chemical is, I don't know if anyone has bothered trying to isolate it.

As to how it forms, I don't know if anyone's done any research on that, either.

As to why it forms . . . no one really knows.

My personal opinion is it's just some byproduct of the hardening process unique to scorpions, and that since it hasn't had any particular advantage or detriment (no predators running around with UV lamps), it hasn't been bred out through natural selection. A foible of evolution, if you will.

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AshMashMash
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PostSubject: Re: What makes scorpions glow under a black light?   2/12/2009, 12:31 pm

Mr. Mordax wrote:
My personal opinion is it's just some byproduct of the hardening process unique to scorpions, and that since it hasn't had any particular advantage or detriment (no predators running around with UV lamps), it hasn't been bred out through natural selection. A foible of evolution, if you will.

I agree entirely with that.

I previously thought it was the chitin which glowed (or "glew"?). But, thats just a polysaccharide, so clearly not. Though, google says that its possible to add things to the chitin to make it glow... but I suppose it is for alsorts?
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Mr. Mordax
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PostSubject: Re: What makes scorpions glow under a black light?   2/12/2009, 12:38 pm

AshMashMash wrote:
its possible to add things to the chitin to make it glow

I'm surprised I never thought of this . . . there's a chemical used a lot in biochemistry (ethydium bromide, I believe) that fluoresces bright orange when interlaced with DNA. On its own it only fluoresces faintly, if at all.

For those who are interested, it's how they get pictures like this. It's mixed into the gel before DNA is added via electrophoresis, and where the two meet you get fluorescence.

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AshMashMash
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PostSubject: Re: What makes scorpions glow under a black light?   2/12/2009, 12:45 pm

Mr. Mordax wrote:
I'm surprised I never thought of this . . . there's a chemical used a lot in biochemistry (ethydium bromide, I believe) that fluoresces bright orange when interlaced with DNA. On its own it only fluoresces faintly, if at all.

For those who are interested, it's how they get pictures like this. It's mixed into the gel before DNA is added via electrophoresis, and where the two meet you get fluorescence.

Aye yeh. They break the DNA into seperate strands, and use a fluorescent dye attached to bases, with polymerase, which bind with the exposed bases and therefore the DNA will fluoresce, I believe?

So... I guess there's just something flurescent in the chitin? All sorts binds with polysaccharides, it wouldn't be too far fetched would it? Surely someone, somewhere, knows? Google didn't seem to tell me Sad
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PostSubject: Re: What makes scorpions glow under a black light?   2/12/2009, 1:15 pm

EDIT: Hmm, I think it is because of this? A fluorescent protein (aptly named Green Fluorescent Protein: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Fluorescent_Protein ) in their hyaline layer of the cuticle?

http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/artnov06macro/mm-macro.html

EDIT2: no, its not:

"The cross-links themselves defy analysis because they are generally embedded in a covalent matrix. Arthropods rely upon oxidative cross-linking in the hardening of the cuticle a process known as sclerotization. Among arthropods, scorpions are noteworthy in that the process of sclerotization is accompanied by the buildup of strong visible fluorescence. To date, the nature of the fluorescent species has remained a mystery."

"We have identified one of the soluble fluorescent components of the scorpions Centuroides vittatus and Pandinus Imperator as β-carboline a tryptophan derivative that has previously been identified by hydrolysis and oxidation of lens protein. We have also shown that β-carboline-3-carboxylic acid is released from both scorpion exuvia (the shed cuticle) and human cataracts upon hydrolysis, suggesting that the protein-bound β-carboline and free β-carboline have common chemical origins."

http://actx.chembiol.com/content/article/abstract?uid=PIIS1074552199800854


Last edited by AshMashMash on 2/12/2009, 1:26 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: What makes scorpions glow under a black light?   2/12/2009, 1:19 pm

Scorps contain GFP? I thought that was from a species of jellyfish? scratch

It's a pretty commonly used protein in biochemistry, mainly for tagging cells so they can be tracked (or cell structures so they can be more easily seen).

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PostSubject: Re: What makes scorpions glow under a black light?   2/12/2009, 7:57 pm

I read that they glow because of the presence of beta-Carboline in their cuticle.
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Bayss
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PostSubject: Re: What makes scorpions glow under a black light?   2/13/2009, 4:05 am

I think they glow because of the black light... cheers
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*Connie*
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PostSubject: Re: What makes scorpions glow under a black light?   2/13/2009, 3:48 pm

they glow therefore they are Smile
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ManicDan
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PostSubject: Re: What makes scorpions glow under a black light?   2/14/2009, 2:16 pm

Could it make sense that when they were aquatic animals that in the shallows it might act as a sort of camo? Maybe glowing in just a variation so that other animals without good vision would see a blur instead of a dark shape?

I've also heard that this extra metal(?) might be a form of UV/radiation armor. Its true they glow less when exposed to more UV, but maybe in short term it acts as light repellent. Maybe?
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Venom
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PostSubject: Re: What makes scorpions glow under a black light?   2/14/2009, 2:55 pm

Let's just all agree it's magic.
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PostSubject: Re: What makes scorpions glow under a black light?   2/14/2009, 5:16 pm

agreed
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