Monday, February 8, 2010

Guanajuato, Mexico -- ALACRAN

Alacran is the Spanish word for scorpion. And last night, we saw our first alacarn--scorpion--in our new house.

Scorpions are in abundance in Mexico. If you stay here for any time at all you will likely see one of these devilish bugs crawling across your ceiling, hiding in your closet, embedded in your shoes or clothes, or sitting on the couch with you while you watch television.

They sit patiently seeming like they are not doing what they are suppose to do like hunt bugs. I am sure they are plotting my demise. They sit as though ready to spring on me to do me in. But, as they sit there on some surface in your house and are relatively easy to kill.

This scorpion was on the ceiling of our bedroom no doubt contemplating just how to land on our bed so it could lie in await for us. I had already taken off my glasses getting ready to crawl underneath the covers when my wife spotted it.

This one was NOT the usual brown ones that are so common in the state of Guanajuato. Whenever we've seen one and mentioned it to our Mexican neighbors, they always ask what color it was. There is a reason why they do this.

The brown ones are not particularly deadly. They can hurt you, I know from personal experience, but you usually just get a nasty sting. The reason for Mexicans wanting to know the color of the alacrans is that there is a very deadly species usually found in Durango, Mexico that has made its way from the northern states into central Mexico.

Durango state is the second lowest population density in Mexico but making up for that in having one of the most deadliest scorpions in the world. Durango is famous for their scorpions and is often called La tierra de los Alacranes” (the scorpions land).

The Durango scorpion is:

Yellow to tan with two broad, dark longitudinal stripes on the upper side of the abdomen. Slender pincers and a long, slender tail are characteristic. The pigment on the carapace is similar to that of Centruroides vittatus, but is suffuse (hence the name) toward the lateral margins. (Source)

This nasty critters are responsible for up to 1000 death each year in Mexico. Some sources will say up to 2000 deaths. For everyone who dies in Mexico from a snake bite, ten die from the sting of the Durango Devil.

The Leon, Guanajuato leather industry has been largely responsible for the importing of this creature in leather goods from Durango to be sold in the leather district. The scorpions ride along in the the products and now are responsible for deaths in the state of Guanajuato. Now, they are here in the city of Guanajuato.

You can't miss these as being the deadly species. They are strikingly different from the run-of-the-mill thick bodied brown ones more common here and can possibly kill you.

The sting can cause severe local and systemic symptoms. The sting of this species is one of the few that can actually cause death even in healthy, adult humans. --Source

I caught the deadly bug and flushed its scorpion hide down the toilet.

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