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"Ar-RACK-nids" are a subgroup or class of arthropods. You can examine various animals from this class to determine similarities among them. You might observe spiders.

So far it appears as though arachnids are mostly yucky, crawly things that nobody really likes. Except me, perhaps. I do truly like spiders. They perform a genuine beneficial service for us. They trap, kill, and eat those horrible little bugs that are too small to see, which we all have in our houses. This wonderful, brilliant writer once saw a film that showed all the little creatures that crawl around our houses and in our mattresses and upholstered furniture. Oh, Yuck! Buck! Pucker! Sluck! Fortunately, Mother Nature made lovely spiders to rid us of the other crawlies. Of course, it would probably take an entire army of spiders to slay the smaller beings in one person's house.

Most arachnids live on land, have no antennae, have four pairs of legs for locomotion, and hatch from eggs laid on land. Scorpions, black widows, and mites are also arachnids. Scorpions and black widows are not very nice.

Scorpions belong to the order Scorpionida. They are "invertebrate animals, with a pair of powerful, pincerlike claws and a hollow, poisonous stinger at the tip of the tail.... Most are 1 - 3 inches long, but some measure as long as 6 inches. They seize and crush prey with their large claws, immobilizing it by stinging if necessary. With the exception of the fatal stings of Androctonus Australis (an-DROCK-tone-us oss-TRAIL-us) of the Sahara, and several Mexican species, scorpion stings, although painful, are not usually dangerous to humans." (Concise Columbia Encyclopedia.)

Well, that makes it just fine, doesn't it! So long as we stay out of the Sahara desert and Mexico, we'll probably not have any serious problems with scorpions. How are ordinary people supposed to be able to tell (instantly) whether the scorpion crawling toward our toes is from the Sahara or Mexico? Do they have little passports? Or wear little sombreros? We do have scorpions in California, and whether they are illegal immigrants or natives, they are not to be handled. They are fun to watch, though. They cruise around like toy remote-control cars that are being controlled by somebody who doesn't know how to drive.

I think it is not "chicken" to stay away from scorpions and black widows. It is prudent, smart, wise, sensible, and okay.


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