A baby scorpion who traveled to Massachusetts from Italy in family's suitcase finds a new home in a Wellesley College Science Lab

June 28, 2012

A stowaway baby scorpion who found his way from Italy to Wellesley after crawling into a family's suitcase has a new home at Wellesley College in the lab of David Ellerby, associate professor of biological sciences. The family called The Wellesley Fire Department after one person was stung. After capture, Wellesley Fire called the College to come take the animal.

The Boston Globe visited the scorpion yesterday at his new home.

Arbor Quist '13Karin Darakananda '14 and Amanda Hitchcock, an employee in Professor Ellerby's lab, have given the scorpion the name Piccolo (meaning "small" in Italian). Piccolo is just a baby and is about half-an-inch long, he may grow to be one or two inches. He will live in Professor Ellerby's lab for the foreseeable future and will be fed mealworms and insects as the team investigates his dietary preferences.

Ellerby, who studies animal physiology and movement, said he thinks Piccolo is a Euscorpius Italicus, which is a species common to Southern Europe but is not found in the United States. He likens getting stung by one - especially one as small as Piccolo - as something akin to a bee sting.

Ellerby has used scorpions in his Animal Bio-mechanics class in the past (where his students studied and analyzed scorpion strikes) but his current research interest is in studying the sunfish population in Wellesley's Lake Waban.