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Leiurus quinquestriatus (Deathstalker, Omdurman scorpion / Filistin Sarı Akrebi, Omdurman Akrebi)

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Leiurus quinquestriatus (Deathstalker, Omdurman scorpion / Filistin Sarı Akrebi, Omdurman Akrebi)

Leiurus quinquestriatus (Deathstalker, Omdurman scorpion / Filistin Sarı Akrebi, Omdurman Akrebi) from Al Qastal Desert, Hims, Syria/Suriye - 09.07.2010.

The deathstalker is a species of scorpion, a member of the Buthidae family. It is also known as Palestine yellow scorpion, Omdurman scorpion, Israeli desert scorpion and numerous other colloquial names, which generally originate from the commercial captive trade of the animal. To eliminate confusion, especially with potentially dangerous species, the scientific name is normally used to refer to them. The name Leiurus quinquestriatus roughly translates into English as "five-striped smooth-tail". Other species of the genus Leiurus are often referred to as "deathstalkers" as well.

Adult s are 80–110 mm total length. Coloration typically yellow to orangishyellow. Metasomal segment V typically with dark coloration restricted to the posterior 2/3 of the segment. Amount and intensity of dark coloration can vary among specimens. Older specimens may be darker in overall coloration and the dark coloration of metasomal segment V faded, reduced or indistinct. Tergites I & II pentacarinate; tergites III–VII, tricarinate. Chelae elongate and gracile; base of closed fingers approximate in width to the manus. Pectines generally greater in length, with longer, more numerous teeth in males. Basal piece in males narrow allowing the basal pectinal teeth to touch or overlap. Basal piece wider in females, with shorter, less numerous pectinal teeth; basal pectinal teeth do not touch or overlap. Males are typically smaller, thinner and less robust than females.

It venom is primarily neurotoxic with abundant cardiotoxins; fatalities primarily the result of cardiovascular and respiratory dysfunction and failure. Reported LD50 toxicity levels of 0.16–0.50 mg/kg indicate that this species possesses one of the most toxic venoms described in scorpions. Despite the toxicity of the venom of this species, the majority of envenomations produce only localized effects in up to 97% of victims. Non-systemic reactions are probably due to the average quantity of venom injected (0.225 mg) being rather small. However, the venom of this species may be fatal in infants and children due to the effects being weight-dependent.  Despite anecdotal reports to the contrary, actual fatalities among envenomed adults are uncommon.

It is found upon a wide variety of substrates in arid, semi-arid and mesic regions; primarily in deserts exclusive of sand dune systems, ranging from North Africa through to the Middle East.  Countries where it lives include Algeria, Bahrain, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya, Mali, Niger, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Iran, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Turkey. However Turkish populations beleong to the genus are described as a separate species, L. abdullahbayrami recently.

References: 1. Ros, L. K. (2008). Leiurus quinquestriatus (Ehrenberg, 1828). The Scorpion Files: 1-4. 2. WiKiPeDiA (Eng), 3. WiKiPeDiA (TR).

Author Bayram GÖÇMEN
Created on Friday 09 July 2010
Posted on Monday 18 July 2011
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