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Photos: Modeling Scorpions' Lairs in 3D

Burrow builder

(Image credit: © Stuart Summerfield)

A scorpion, Scorpio palmatus, photographed in the Negev desert in Israel. Researchers examined burrow architecture of three scorpion species in Israel and Namibia, to understand how they use their underground hideaways to help them survive harsh desert conditions.

Read the full story on these tiny architects and their underground lairs

Burrow entrance

(Image credit: © Amanda Adams)

The entrance to a burrow dug by a scorpion, Scorpio palmatus, in the Negev desert in Israel.

Dwelling deep

(Image credit: © Amanda Adams)

A closer view of a burrow entrance, dug by the S. palmatus scorpion. An international team of researchers investigated how scorpions design their burrows to provide refuge from the desert heat.

Burrow cast before digging

(Image credit: © Amanda Adams)

To cast scorpion burrows, the researchers heated aluminum to more than 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit (649 degrees Celsius), poured it down the burrow entrance (after first catching the scorpion), and allowed it to solidify for about 20 minutes.

Casting setup

(Image credit: © Amanda Adams)

The kiln setup that the researchers used in the field to heat aluminum to more than 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit (649 degrees Celsius) so it could be used to cast scorpion burrows.

Digging burrow cast

(Image credit: © Amanda Adams)

The researchers dig out a metal cast of a burrow made by a scorpion, Scorpio palmatus, in the Negev desert in Israel.

S. palmatus 3D burrow

(Image credit: © Amanda Adams)

A 3D scan of a cast of a burrow dug by a scorpion, Scorpio palmatus, in Israel.

O. wahlbergii 3D burrow

(Image credit: © Amanda Adams)

A 3D scan of a cast of a burrow dug by a scorpion, Opistophthalmus wahlbergii, from the sand dunes of the Kalahari desert in Namibia.

S. palmatus resin cast

(Image credit: © Berry Pinshow)

A resin cast of a Scorpio palmatus burrow and the scorpion located in the terminal chamber.

S. palmatus UV

(Image credit: @ Stuart Summerfield)

A scorpion, Scorpio palmatus, under ultraviolet light.

Read the full story on these tiny architects and their underground lairs