Scorpion’s Babies

WHAT’S not to love about this photo? In one fell swoop it inverts the reputation of a much-feared invertebrate. For the defenceless newborns sitting under the vicious sting are the scorpion’s own offspring, tended by their mother until they are big enough to survive on their own.

It’s not just me who likes the shot- it has won German photographer Ingo Arndt the FritzPölking award for the second time.

There’s a good reason why scorpions are one of the few instantly recognisable invertebrates: that bulb at the end of the abdomen is full of deadly venom. What is less well known is that unlike most other arachnids they are viviparous: rather than laying eggs they give birth to live young. The juveniles are unable to feed or defend themselves, or regulate their moisture levels – they need their mother’s protection.