The chilly November nights here in Tucson drive our desert arachnids to seek shelter in nice warm houses, and I have recently been finding all sorts of eight-legged creepy-crawlers inside my house here, including two scorpions (shudder). I have been hoping to find a scorpion to photograph in UV light, so I decided to use these two home-invading scorpions for my photographic experiments.
Here is one of these scorpions (Superstitionia donensis) posing motionless in natural light (the camera's flash).
And here is this same scorpion fluorescing bright green when illuminated by long-wave ultraviolet light.
Scorpions fluoresce because they contain a fluorescent protein in the hyaline layer of their exoskeleton. The ultraviolet light in the above photo appears dark blue-purple in color, and it colors anything that does not fluoresce this same color.
My dad helped me with these scorpion photos because this sort of ultraviolet creature photography works best as a two-person job, one person to handle the lights and the other person to take the photos. Besides, as an arachnophobe, I just don't do scorpion wrangling, so I left it up to my dad to get the scorpions into nice poses for the camera.
Because these scorpions posed so nicely for my photos, I'll carefully let them go unharmed, but I won't share my house with them, so they'll just have to find a warm, snug spot in the desert somewhere.
Update: Kari J McWest, scorpion biologist and Senior Editor, American Tarantula Society, kindly identified this scorpion for me.