Centruroides gracilis on Garden Key, Dry Tortugas

Another fascinating part of field herping, along with all the other natural wonders we encounter, is the invertebrates! This forum is dedicated to both field and captive invertebrates.

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Centruroides gracilis on Garden Key, Dry Tortugas

Post by RCampbell »

Juan Ponce de León happened upon the end of the coconut archipelago and named them the Tortugas because of the amount of sea turtles. Being they had no fresh water, they were eventually renamed the Dry Tortugas. Since 1513 the Spanish had visited this grouping of small keys to hunt turtles, to aid in navigating treacherous waters for galleons. There are still unaccounted for lost ships and treasures stolen from the "New World" as the plunderers headed back to Spain.
Among the things taken from Central America and spread throughout Spanish shipping lanes and ports was Centruroides gracilis. A large scorpion that is adept at hiding unseen in daylight hours. Though not a native of Florida, unfortunately it is often commonly called a Florida Bark Scorpion...a moniker it shares with a native Florida species, Centruroides hentzi. The hentzi are a diminutive species compared to the gracilis.
I was able to spend several nights on Garden Key, home of Ft. Jefferson searching for and counting Centruroides gracilis. I was not disappointed. The small spit of land is home to a very seriously robust population of them.
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