Scorpion Belly

Yesterday morning Bev and I were making batches of a couple of Greek pastries to take to a party that afternoon. I had never made either of them, but now I know how! One was baclava, a sweet pastry with nuts and honey flavored with cinnamon and cardamom, while the other was spanakopita, a savory spinach and feta cheese pastry. Both pastries are made with multiple layers of diaphanous sheets of thin dough which I suspect is about one molecule thick. a dough which I cannot imagine rolling out by hand. A perfect job for a machine! The sheets of dough can be purchased in grocery stores; it’s called phyllo.

Once the pastries were out of the oven I looked through the cabinets for a suitable cover for one of the pans. Bev said, “Look way in the back — there’s a plastic cake container which ought to work.”

I pulled out the plastic container and we saw something in the bottom of it. Bev exclaimed, “It’s a scorpion!”

The scorpion looked flat and dry; as I tilted the clear plastic container it slid back and forth. I really thought it was dead and reached out to touch the seemingly lifeless creature.

Bev exclaimed, “Don’t touch it! Any scorpion you can see is alive.”

The scorpion must have heard that, as it quickly got to its feet and began to madly scuttle around the container. I said, “I’ll take it outside and shoot a couple of photos.”. Here’s one of the shots:

This scorpion species is small, about two inches long, but it can deliver a very painful sting. It is known as the Arizona Bark Scorpion. Bev got stung twice by that species last year.

I cropped two details from one of Bev’s scorpion photos. The first one is of the wickedly
effective tail and stinger. This is deployed in a unique way, arching over the arachnid’s head and discouraging the overly curious.

The second detail you might want to skip, as ii is rather disgusting, but in a creepy way it fascinates me, at least! The bars across a scorpion’s belly look provisional and improvised to me:

I can imagine a scene in a mythical Organism R&D Workshop. A demiurge is designing a prototype which will be used for the various scorpion species. The deity muses under its breath:

“They wanted a hardy little predator for the desert regions, one that needed little water. So far so good, but I wish we’d spent more time on it! That problem with the guts spilling out has been a bear to solve, and frankly I’m tired of looking at the vile beastie! To hell with it — I’ll just stick a few chitinous bars across the disgusting abdominal opening and call it a day!”




Filed under Arizona, Natural History, Photos

4 responses to “Scorpion Belly

  1. Joan

    Baklava? Balaclava? Which of these is the right name?
    One describes a knitted face mask, evidently quite the thing
    Which the British used in battle of Crimea, South Ukraine.
    The other? Mid East member of high calorie food chain.
    Is it ski mask or a pastry? Well, to me it sounds the same
    And to try to tell the difference out of context is a pain.
    So I’m grateful for this anecdote. There’s no one left to blame.
    If I still can’t tell the difference now, I’ve only half a brain.



  2. Bev also commented on the misspelling. The spelling is a phonetic transliteration of a Cyrillic word, so I’ll leave it as is.

    Thanks for the poem, Joan!

  3. Joan

    What misspelling? I didn’t even notice that I had spelled it differently than the post until you mentioned it. . I just looked up the definition..using my usual ‘creative’ spelling, letting Google decipher what the heck I was aiming for and that is what came up. Soo if it is also spell it with a c , then that’s even MORE reason for me to not know whether they are talking about a hood or a pastry. Yay! My poem, as most all of my poems, was about my own density. The only reason ‘balalaika’ didn’t make the cut was I was running out of steam and also end rhymes.

  4. Leslie

    Great poem, Joan. I love the greek spanakopita, but I’ve never tried to make it. As for the Scorpion, ewwww! Glad it didn’t sting you. So why is it that any scorpion you see is alive? They burrow to die?

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