Our opening image comes from the heady, halcyon days of slide film, 1999 to be precise, and depicts a southern unstriped scorpion (Vaejovis carolinianus.) I was in no danger when obtaining this photo, since scorpions in North America have relatively weak venom, little more than bee stings, and anyway this one was dead. The cool thing about scorpions is how they fluoresce under ultra-violet light, which I’ve mentioned a few times before. Once I heard about this (which was well after obtaining this photo and giving away the model,) I have been on a quest to photograph this on my own – literally for the past ten years or better. I have possessed, and travel with, a nice UV flashlight solely to see what the light will reveal at night, and while there are no scorpions of any kind near me (possibly some in the NC mountains,) I have used the flashlight to pop up the occasional other subject here and there.
So how has my scorpion photography progressed since that point 23 years ago?
It hasn’t. Despite many searches when in likely areas, I have not ever found a single specimen, dead or alive. The handful of slides from the one photo session above, all of the same pose because of rigor mortis (or whatever the arthropod equivalent is,) are the sum total that I have of the species. Which is slightly annoying, but I can’t say that I haven’t made the effort. I can say that I haven’t dedicated any special trips to the pursuit, because no one’s paying for that (not that I would turn this down if some well-heeled reader feels inclined, mind you,) but when I’ve been in the right areas, I’ve certainly done my part is searching under logs and through leaf litter in deep darkness, looking only with the UV light because scorpions hide from visible (to us) wavelengths. I’ve even done research into sightings throughout various areas in Georgia to see where they’re most likely to be found – it’s a casual yet serious quest of mine to obtain such photos. But as yet, I haven’t even come close.
[I’d like to think that writing this post was motivation to try harder and actually move forward on this goal, but a) it’s February, and so not the time to even consider the task, and b) it involves travel to a good location, the closest of which is north Georgia, and that’ll happen when I have further reasons to make such a trip. Though as I said, should funds suddenly drop into my lap…]