Scorpions once roamed Illinois

A group from UIC on a field trip has discovered an ancient cave outside Chicago that has, among other things, fossilized scorpions.scorpion-illinois-monroe-county.jpg

Scorpions are common in the U.S. in the southwestern states–California and Arizona alone have 60 species. Illinois has scorpions only in the far southwest corner, in Monroe County, where they live under rocks along the bluffs. Here is the modern-day Illinois scorpion, complete with stripes, on the left.

A quick google of scorpions reveals the information that they are nocturnal and not aggressive. Ha! Then how was I stung in my sleep by a Tafila scorpion? If you read The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, you will find that T.E. Lawrence (“of Arabia”) was also bit by a scorpion in his sleep, also on the hand.

scorpion-tafila.jpgMore scorpion details:

  • Baby scorpions shed their outer layers when they grow.
  • Jordanian scorpions are either black or yellow, but my scorpion was both.
  • Black scorpions are considered dangerous.
  • Jordanian hospitals provide free anti-venom.
  • Directly opposite Tafila (on the south end of the Dead Sea) on a Biblical map you will find something labeled either “Ascent of Akrabbim” or “Scorpion Pass”.
  • In Arabic, scorpion is عقرب, pronounced “aqarab”.

On the right is the Tafila scorpion, deceased, and an outer shell shed by a growing scorpion.

Posted in Curiosities, Jordan, الأردن. Comments Off on Scorpions once roamed Illinois