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Scorpion caught in freight warehouse

A scorpion was caught after it stowed away in cargo for Bermuda, it was revealed yesterday.

The arachnid was spotted by staff in a warehouse run by Fast Forward Freight, who contacted environmental officers. A check by professionals found no more scorpions since the find earlier this month. But the public was warned to be vigilant to stop the spread of alien species.

Mark Outerbridge, a wildlife ecologist at the Government's environment and natural resources department, said: “The staff of Fast Forward Freight are to be commended on their swift actions in preventing the escape of this scorpion and bringing it to the attention of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

“Vigilance at the point-of-entry, good communication, early detection and rapid response are critical components of invasive species management and are essential in preventing the establishment of exotic invasive alien species.”

The species of scorpion has still to be established, but it is thought the creature, found on October 12, was a striped bark scorpion — Centruroides vittatus.

It was 1.25 inches long, although adults can grow to more than double that. The species can inflict a painful sting, which causes swelling and nausea but is rarely lethal. The striped bark scorpion is native to North America and is commonly found throughout the south-central United States and northern Mexico and its diet is made up of insects.

They hunt and feed at night but rest during the day in cracks and crevices, under rocks and surface debris, in vegetation, and inside buildings. The striped bark scorpion is said to be an adaptive species that can tolerate a range of climates — which means it could adapt to Bermuda if given the chance.

Invasive species are defined as non-native with the ability to become established in a new environment and breed. They are likely to cause damage to the environment, economic harm and can even threaten the health of humans. The impact of invasive species is considered to be the biggest risk to the biodiversity of islands because local species have evolved largely without mainland predators, heavy competition or diseases.

Island species can fall victim to invasive alien species and become easy prey. They can also be killed off by diseases invaders carry and may be unable to compete with incomers for resources like food and shelter.

But invaders can have better resources, fewer natural enemies and a better living environment.

This means they not only displace native species but can also alter the natural world by disrupting the environment and soil chemistry.

Invasive species can also impose an economic cost on agriculture, fisheries and infrastructure.

Unwelcome visitor: the scorpion caught at an island freight warehouse (Photograph supplied)

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Published October 27, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated October 27, 2018 at 9:02 am)

Scorpion caught in freight warehouse

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