THE SWIMMING SCORPION
Lychas mucronatus (Chinese swimming scorpion or Ornate Bark Scorpion)
Did you know that scorpions also exist in the wild here in the Philippines? While many Filipinos doubt this, local scorpions are actually quite common. Some local scorpions exist in or on the bark of trees, while some thrive in the humid forests of the Philippines. What may surprise you is that some scorpions can swim. Take the Chinese swimming scorpion or Lychas mucronatus. This scorpion is found in the Philippines as well as some other neighboring Asian countries.
At the moment Lychas mucronatus is still commonly found in the wild. However some agricultural practices and deforestation continuously puts some specimens at risk of habitat loss and some specimens are being pushed away from their natural habitat, and some individuals are finding their way in suburban areas where they come across people every now and then. Does the Lychas mucronatus really swim? Some accounts has been recorded in other countries in which the Lychas mucronatus has been observed to swim when trying to escape threats or hunt food. However, no successful attempts to duplicate this behavior in captivity have been made here in the Philippines so far. The Lychas mucronatus often lives near water, but it is also able to tolerate dryness in the habitat fairly well, so it depends on whether the individual specimen is well adapted to wet or dry surroundings in its natural habitat since some specimens are more adapted to dryness than wetness of their habitat. The specimens living near the bodies of water were the ones recorded to be able to swim in some countries. This species is very interesting since it can actually swim when necessary, though this is only on rare occasions. Its population is widespread along central and Southeast Asia, and it is even served as a delicacy in other countries.
WHAT ARE THE OTHER SCORPIONS THAT CAN BE FOUND IN THE PHILIPPINES?
Lychas mucronatus is a species that can be bred in captivity fairly easily. The sexual dimorphism (difference between male and female) of the Lychas mucronatus is very evident in their claws or chela, so human selection of the specimens for captive breeding can be done easily. The gestation period for this specimen is 3-4 months, depending on the temperature where they are. Warmer temperatures make their gestation periods shorter. Ideally, Lychas mucronatus should be housed in tall containers with just enough floor area for them to roam around and hunt for food. In their natural habitat, they usually stay on the bark of trees; thus, the height of their enclosure is necessary for them to live comfortably. This also mimics their natural habitat. The Lychas mucronatus can live in colonies or small groups, they are safe to be housed together, however sometimes cannibalism still takes place when there are weaker specimens in the colony or while an individual is in its molting or postmolt phase.
The Chaerilus celebensis, Heterometrus longimanus, Lychas mucronatus, Liocheles australasiae and several more species of scorpions can be found in the Philippines. All scorpions found in the Philippines are either forestdwelling or bark-dwelling scorpions since this is a tropical country.