Thursday, February 17, 2011

Emperor Scorpion

  1. Introduction

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Arachnida

Order: Scorpiones

Family: Scorpionidae

Genus: Pandinus

Species: P. imperator

The Emperor Scorpion is a species of scorpion native to Africa. The emperor is one of the largest species of scorpion in the world, with adults averaging about 8 inches in length.Their life span usually ranges from 5–8 years when held in captivity, but it is shorter in the wild. The emperor's size, relatively low toxicity, and life span make it the most popular scorpion in the pet trade. This has led to such over-collecting in the wild that it is now a CITES listed animal which means that it is threatened with extinction.

  1. Anatomy

Their anatomy consists of a Cephalothorax, Mesosoma, and Metasoma.

The cephalothorax is theprosoma, which is the scorpion's "head", containing the carapace, eyes, chelirae, which are the mouth parts, pedipalps, which are the claws or pinchers, and four pairs of walking legs. Scorpions have two eyes on the top of their heads, and usually two to five pairs of eyes along the front corners of their heads.The pedipalp is a segmented, clawed appendage used for prey immobilization, defense, and sensory purposes.

The abdomen, also called the opisthoma, consists of seven segments.The first abdominal segment bears a pair of genital parts which cover the gonopore. The second segment consists of the basal plate with the pectines. Segments from three to seven have a pair of spiracles which are openings for the scorpions respiratory organs.

The metasoma, the scorpion's tail, comprises six segments. The last containing the scorpion's anus and bearing the telson which is the sting. The telson consists of the vesicles which holds a pair of venom glands, and the hypodermic aculeus which is the venom-injecting barb.

  1. Form and Function

In the wild, emperor scorpions feed mostly on termites. In captivity they usually feed on crickets, cockroaches, and mealworms. Emperor scorpions are also known to eat small mice and lizards. Emperor scorpions are burrowing scorpions, digging with the first two pairs of legs. A burrow may be little more than a hollow under a rock or may twist and turn more than six feet into the earth. In the wild, emperors burrow into Termite mounds and make their homes there.

They are preyed on by reptiles, mammals and amphibians.

Like most scorpions, Emperors are very timid. They spend most of their time hiding only coming out when they need to hunt. If the emperor feel threatened it will run but if it feels cornered it will enter its threat posture. When threat posturing, the scorpion turns to face its enemy while holding their claws up and open, and arching their tail and stinger over their back. If it continues to feel threatened it will either pinch or sting. Their sting feels like a bee sting and doesn’t really have that big of an effect on humans.


Emperors give live birth to their young. Fertilization can last 9 to 18 months depending on temperature and food availability, when an average of 12 young are born. Scorplings are born very vulnerable and unable to fend for themselves. The mother emperor cares for her babies by fiercely defending them and killing prey for them. The young emperors ride on the mother's back when very small. As they molt and grow, they will leave their mother's back, explore the world and attempt to hunt. If they stay too long, she will start to kill her young. For a few months the scorplings will return to their mother's back when frightened, until eventually they make burrows of their own and become independent.

IV. Impact on Humanity

Scorpions are feared for being venomous and deadly. Because of this, some people have avoided interaction with them all together. Scorpions are venomous, but the sting of most scorpions only causes swelling and pain. There are documented cases of deaths caused by scorpions, and in these cases the victims are often children and the elderly.

  1. Journal Article Review

In the Journal article I read, scorpions had invaded the Eagle Trace Apartments in Las Vegas. One woman said that she had captured 15 to 20 scorpions crawling around her apartment. She said she spotted at least another 30 in the apartment she used to live in upstairs. For a lot of people scorpions are a big pest and they are having problems getting them to leave.

Works Cited

Scorpions plague las vegas apartment complex . (n.d.). Retrieved from

Scorpion human interaction. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Scorpion. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Emperor scorpion. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Basic anatomy of a scorpion. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Emperor scorpion. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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