Scientists Invent Scorpion Milking Machine

Posted on July 16, 2017

Extracting venom from scorpions is a complex and time intensive procedure. It can also be dangerous. Mouad Mkamel and researchers from Morocco's Ben M'sik Hassan II University have developed a device or robot that can milk up to four scorpions at a time.

Mkamel says in the announcement, "This robot makes venom recovery fast and safe. The extraction of scorpion venom is a very difficult task and usually takes at least two experimenters. There are numerous risks including potentially deadly scorpion stings and electric shocks from the stimulators used to extract the venom. It is designed to extract scorpion venom without harming the animal and to provide more safety for the experimenters."

Current scorpion milking methods that don't harm the scorpion include electrical stimulation by hand and mechanical stimulation. There are also methods that harm the scorpion including puncturing of its venom gland and abdominal removal.

The portable device is called the VES-4. It milks the scorpions by clamping the tail and electrically stimulating the animal to express droplets of venom. The venom is collected and safely stored. The robot has been tested on multiple species of scorpions. Mkamel says, "VES-4 could be used by one person using a remote control to safely recover scorpion venom remotely."

This video shows the electrical stimulation method of milking scorpions to get venom. It requires the scientists to hold the scorpion. Take a look:

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