Fattail scorpion

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Fattail scorpion
Black scorpion.jpg
Arabian fat-tailed scorpion, Androctonus crassicauda.
Scientific classification

Ehrenberg, 1828
About 18 species

Fattail scorpion or fat-tailed scorpion is the common name given to scorpions of the genus Androctonus, one of the most dangerous groups of scorpions species in the world.[1] They are found throughout the semi-arid and arid regions of the Middle East and Africa.[1] They are a moderate sized scorpion, attaining lengths of 10 cm (just under 4 in).[2] Their common name is derived from their distinctly fat metasoma, or tail, while the Latin name originates from Greek and means "man killer".[3] Their venom contains powerful neurotoxins and is especially potent.[1] Stings from Androctonus species are known to cause several human deaths each year.[1] Several pharmaceutical companies manufacture an antivenom for treatment of Androctonus envenomations.[4]

Geographic range[edit]

Androctonus is widespread in North and West Africa, the Middle East and eastwards to the Hindukush region. Countries where Androctonus species live include: Armenia, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Togo, Palestine, Israel, India, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Bahrain and Pakistan.


A rough English translation of the name Androctonus is "man-killer", from the Ancient Greek anḗr, andrós (ἀνήρ, ἀνδρός), meaning "man" and kteínein (κτείνειν), meaning "to kill". Crassicauda means fat-tailed, from the Latin crassus meaning "thick" or "fat" and cauda, meaning "tail". Androctonus crassicauda is widespread throughout the Middle East and its name means "fat-tailed man-killer". Similarly, the Latin word for South is australis, from which Androctonus australis, "southern man-killer", derives.


Androctonus bicolor: The Black fat-tail; note the very slim pedipalps compared to Androctonus crassicauda

Taxonomic reclassification is ongoing, sources tend to disagree on the number of species.

Androctonus Ehrenberg, 1828 (29 species):

In captivity[edit]

Androctonus australis in a terrarium with Saharan sand

Despite the risks of keeping such a dangerously venomous species in captivity, Androctonus scorpions are frequently found in the exotic animal trade, A. amoreuxi and A. australis being the most commonly available. The fat-tailed scorpion's main diet when in captivity consists of cockroaches, grasshoppers, and crickets. Scorpions will generally try to kill and eat anything which moves and is smaller than themselves[citation needed]. To simulate the desert environment, the enclosure used to keep the scorpion in must be kept at a temperature of between 26 and 30 degrees Celsius (79–86 °F)[citation needed].


  1. ^ a b c d Hendrixson, B. E. 2006. Buthid scorpions of Saudi Arabia, with notes on other families (Scorpiones: Buthidae, Liochelidae, Scorpionidae). In W. Büttiker, F. Krupp, I. Nader & W. Schneider (eds.), Fauna of Arabia (pp. in press, ~100 pages). Basel, Switzerland: Karger Libri.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-09-12. Retrieved 2017-09-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Dictionary of Scientific Scorpion Names" (PDF).
  4. ^ "Antidotes In Depth, Jeffrey N. Bernstein" (PDF).

External links[edit]