The emperor scorpion, Pandinus imperator, is a species of scorpion native to rainforests and savannas in West Africa. It is one of the largest scorpions in the world and lives for 6–8 years. Its body is black, but like other scorpions it glows pastel green or blue under ultraviolet light. It is a popular species in the pet trade, and is protected by CITES.
The emperor scorpion (Pandinus imperator) is one of the largest species of scorpion in the world, with adults averaging about 20 centimetres (7.9 in) in length and a weight of 30 g. However, some species of forest scorpions are fairly similar to the emperor scorpion in size, and one scorpion, Heterometrus swammerdami, holds the record for being the world's largest scorpion at 9 inches (23 cm) in length. The large pincers are blackish-red and have a granular texture. The front part of the body, or prosoma, is made up of four sections, each with a pair of legs. Behind the fourth pair of legs are comb-like structures known as pectines, which tend to be longer in males than in females. The tail, known as the metasoma, is long and curves back over the body. It ends in the large receptacle containing the venom glands and is tipped with a sharp, curved stinger. Their sting is categorized as mild (similar to a bee sting) to severe on humans depending on the species. Sensory hairs cover the pincers and tail, enabling the emperor scorpion to detect prey through vibrations in the air and ground.
Habitat and distribution
The emperor scorpion is an African rainforest species, but also present in savanna. It is found in a number of African countries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Togo, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone.
Conservation and human impact
- UNEP-WCMC. "Pandinus imperator (Koch, 1841)". UNEP-WCMC Species Database: CITES-Listed Species. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
- Manny Rubio (2000). "Commonly Available Scorpions". Scorpions: Everything About Purchase, Care, Feeding, and Housing. Barron's Educational Series. pp. 26–27. ISBN 978-0-7641-1224-9. "The emperor scorpion can reach an overall length of more than 8 inches (20 cm). It is erroneously claimed to be the largest living scorpion in the world. However, some species of Forest Scorpions are its equal. [...] The Guinness Book of Records claims a Forest Scorpion native to rural India, Heterometrus swammerdami, to be the largest scorpion in the world (9 inches [23 cm])."
- "Scorpion Emperor Care Sheet". Petco. 2004. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
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- Emperor scorpion media at ARKive Accessed October 20, 2011.
- Rod Preston-Mafham & Ken Preston-Mafham (1993). The Encyclopedia of Land Invertebrate Behaviour. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-16137-4.
- "Scorpion Systematics Research Group". American Museum of Natural History. November, 2008. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
- Fernando Z. Zamudio, Renaud Conde, Carolina Arévalo, Baltazar Becerril, Brian M. Martin, Hector H. Valdivia & Lourival D. Possani (1997). "The mechanism of inhibition of ryanodine receptor channels by imperatoxin I, a heterodimeric protein from the scorpion Pandinus imperator". Journal of Biological Chemistry 272 (18): 11886–11894. doi:10.1074/jbc.272.18.11886. PMID 9115249.