Transvaal Thick-tailed Scorpion Parabuthus transvaalicus
Kruger National Park, Balule campDescription
The genus Parabuthus
includes some of the largest scorpions, which are between 40 mm and 140 mm in length. They can be recognised by their small pincers and thick tails.Parabuthus transvaalicus
is one of the biggest scorpions in the family Buthidae, growing up to 140 mm in length. Parabuthus transvaalicus
is able to produce a sound by scraping the sting across the ridges on the dorsal surface, an act known as stridulation and which is normally used as a warning sign to intruders.
It is dark brown to black in colour and has hair on some parts of its body. Its pincers are thin and red-brown, but its tail is thickened, with the sting segment being as wide as the rest of the tail. Pedipals and legs are lighter in color. A powerful cauda with numerous redish hairs. Small, slender pincers. No subacular tooth on telson.
Younglings resemble the adults at birth but are pale and under-developed. They have no exoskeleton, which only develops after the first moult, when the young scorpions attain an adult-like shape with a better and stronger exoskeleton. At this stage the young leave their mother and disperse.Distribution
It is known to occur in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Mozambique and Botswana. In South Africa, it is found in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo Province.HabitatParabuthus transvaalicus
is ground dwelling and burrows in sand, shrubs, under rocks and logs. It is nocturnal, resting in a shallow burrow under rocks during the day.Diet
Scorpions, including P. transvaalicus
, are predators that generally eat anything they can overpower. This includes insects, spiders, other scorpions, earthworms, gastropods, as well as small reptiles, mammals and amphibians.Venom
Thick-tailed or fat-tailed scorpions generally have potent venom and P. transvaalicus
is considered to be one of the most poisonous scorpions in southern Africa. It can also spray venom at a short distance. Its venom is neurotoxic and can be fatal to humans if left untreated. Children are more susceptible to the venom than adults. The venom can cause an allergic reaction, which, if extreme enough, might cause the victim to go into anaphylactic shock that can be fatal if not treated immediately.
Links: Biodiversity Explorer