Evolution of the Scorpion, from ocean to land

Fossils in Scotland revealed information about the evolution of the Scorpion, an invertebrate arthropod arachnid – and how it left the ocean to live on land.

Most arthropods (insects, centipedes, and crustaceans, such as crabs) currently living on land are small. From the Scorpion fossils found in a rock quarry near Edinburgh in Scotland in 1984, scientists (palaeontologists) found large specimens, said Ian Rolfe from the Royal Museum of Scotland. 

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African Whip Spider

The African Whip Spider (Damon variegatus) is an arachnid in the Phrynichidae family. It is not a true spider because it does not produce silk or venom. It is also known as the Giant Tailless Whipscorpion but it is not a scorpion.

The African Whip Spider has a large, flattened abdomen and cephalothorax, with eight legs. It has six ambulatory (walking) legs and two tactile legs that are longer than the others and act like feelers. It also has two pedipalps which are pincer-like appendages that helps to catch and hold its prey. It is mottled dark-grey to black carapace.

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RESEARCH: Social spiders help each other to catch their prey

There are many animal species that hunt in packs to kills their prey, especially when the prey is large. Examples of animals that hunt in packs include wolves, lions, dogs, hyenas, and ants.

Pack hunting is also called cooperative hunting because each individual animal in the pack cooperates with the rest of the pack for the same purpose. 

A new 2021 research study shows that some spider species also practice cooperative hunting to help each other to catch their prey. Researchers at the University of Toulouse in France observed two colonies of a social spider species called Anelosimus eximius. The researchers copied the actions of prey entering a spider web – they created vibrations in different parts of the webs – and filmed the responses of the spiders.

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East African Dwarf Spider

The East African Dwarf Spider (Microlinyphia aethiopia) is an arachnid in the Linyphiidae family of dwarf spiders. 

The East African Dwarf Spider has a dark-brown abdomen with a light-brown carapace (shell). The male has a more pointed abdomen than the female. It has eight brown legs covered with hairs. It has tooth-like pedipalps near its mouth. It has two rows of four eyes to total eight eyes. The back row of eyes is straight and the front row of eyes is slightly curved.

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Dwarf Spider

The Dwarf Spider (Erigone atra) is an arachnid in the Linyphiidae family of dwarf spiders. 

The Dwarf Spider is black or dark-brown. Its carapace (shell) is dark and its abdomen usually has a black marking. The male has a more pointed abdomen than the female. It has eight brown legs covered with hairs. It has tooth-like pedipalps near its mouth. It has two rows of four eyes to total eight eyes. The back row of eyes is straight and the front row of eyes is slightly curved.

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Buzzing Spider

The Buzzing Spider (Anyphaena accentuata) is an arachnid (eight-legged invertebrate) in the Anyphaenidae family of spiders.

The Buzzing Spider is light-brown to greyish-brown with darker markings on its abdomen. Its thorax is darker than its abdomen. It legs are darker near is body and become paler toward the tips. It has a pair of antennae. 

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Flat Badge Huntsman Spider

The Flat Badge Huntsman Spider (Neosparassus patellatus) is a large arachnid in the Sparassidae family of badge huntsman spiders. Sparassids are eight-eyed spiders.

The Flat Badge Huntsman Spider has a grey, thick, flat body with smooth furry hair. The female is lighter, often orange to pinkish brown. It has a distinctive shield, called a badge, with white spots on its underbelly. Its abdomen, called a carapace, is oval with a square front near its eyes. On its abdomen, it has a series of black dots. It has eight long legs. The first two pairs of legs are longer than the other legs.

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Vietnamese Cane Spider

The Vietnamese Cane Spider (Heteropoda venatoria) is an arachnid in the Sparassidae family of tropical huntsman spiders. It is also called the Vietnamese Giant Crab Spider. Sparassids are eight-eyed spiders.

The Vietnamese Cane Spider has a flat, brown body. Its body is very hairy, but its 8 legs only have hairy tips. The clypeus, the area in front of its eyes, is yellowish. The carapace, behind its eyes, has a wide tan-coloured band on the female and a cream-coloured band on the male. It has eight long, banded legs. 

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