Fluorescent Scorpions and Their 'Green' Venom
First things first… Scorpions are flourescent under UV light. I never knew that. They look pretty amazing. (You can even build your own scorpion detection device using UV rays.) And here’s another amazing fact – the venomous critter you try to avoid when you’re traveling could help us save lives and make the planet more green.
Let me explain…
Scorpion venom, which we all know can paralyze or even kill its victims, has the potential to fight disease. Venom contains potential immunosuppressants that could be used for the treatment of autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.
According to a recent news story, it could also keep insects from destroying crops. Synthetic venom-inspired pesticides are being studied by scientists at Tel Aviv University, in the hopes they can be used as an alternative to toxic chemicals. Venom compounds would make ideal pesticides as they take effect on certain types of insects but leave humans and other beneficial animals and insects unscathed. They’re also biodegradable and won’t stick around on vegetable skins.
Other creatures like spiders, sea anemones and cone snails have also been studied for their potential as pesticide-producers. The only problem confounding scientists is how to get the venom into (as opposed to onto) the insects. To be effective venom has to enter a creature’s blood stream. An intriguing story to follow. RM
Images by Mark A. Norton