Mesobuthus martensii

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Mesobuthus martensii
Mesobuthus martensii (283).jpg
Scientific classification
M. martensii
Binomial name
Mesobuthus martensii
(Karsch, 1879)
Synonyms [1][2][3]
  • Buthus martensi
  • Buthus martensii Karsch
  • Mesobuthus martensi
  • Mesobuthus martensis
  • Mesobuthus martensii martensii
  • Buthus confucius

Mesobuthus martensii is a species of scorpion in the family Buthidae. Its common names include Chinese scorpion,[1][2] Manchurian scorpion,[1][2] Chinese armor-tail scorpion and Chinese golden scorpion. Despite its common name, this scorpion is not only found in Manchuria or China, but also in Mongolia and Japan.[3] Its preferred habitat is warm, dry areas with little vegetation. M. martensii can grow to about 6 centimetres (2.4 in) long, with females usually slightly larger, and has a life-span of about 4 to 6 years.

Taxonomic history[edit]

This species of scorpion was first described as Buthus martensii by German arachnologist Ferdinand Karsch in 1879.[1][3] Independently, Simon in 1880 described specimens he found in the gardens of the summer palace at Peking (present-day Beijing) as Buthus confucius, which Karsch synonymized as Buthus martensii in 1881.[3] Subsequently, in 1950, it was transferred to Mesobuthus, a new genus established by French arachnologist Max Vachon.[1][3]


M. martensii, especially its tail, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for many centuries to treat various neuronal problems, such as chronic pain, paralysis, apoplexy and epilepsy.[4][5][6] Over the past few decades, dozens of novel proteins in this scorpion's venom have been identified, cloned and investigated for clinical applications. For instance, at least 51 long-chain peptides related to the sodium channel toxins and 18 peptides related to the potassium channel toxins have been described, along with two peptides, BmK AS and AS1, that act on ryanodine receptors.[4] Apart from having analgesic properties,[6] BmK AS is also the first long-chain scorpion peptide reported to have antimicrobial activity.[7] Amongst the sodium channel-specific neurotoxins, there are a number of muscle relaxants, such as makatoxin I[8] and bukatoxin,[9] while BmKAEP[10][11] and BmK IT2[12] have shown anticonvulsant activity in experimental conditions, inhibiting epileptic seizures induced in rats. BmK AGAP has both analgesic and antitumor properties and recombinant proteins could potentially be used in anticancer treatments.[13][14]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Mesobuthus martensii". National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).
  2. ^ a b c Mesobuthus martensii (Manchurian scorpion) (Buthus martensii), UniProt Taxonomy database
  3. ^ a b c d e Qi, Jian-Xin; Zhu, Ming-Sheng; Lourenço, Wilson R. (2004). "Redescription of Mesobuthus martensii martensii (Karsch, 1879) (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from China" (PDF). Revista Ibérica de Aracnología. 10, 31-XII-2004: 137–144. ISSN 1576-9518.
  4. ^ a b Goudet, C.; Chi, C. W.; Tytgat, J. (2002). "An overview of toxins and genes from the venom of the Asian scorpion Buthus martensi Karsch". Toxicon. 40 (9): 1239–1258. doi:10.1016/S0041-0101(02)00142-3. ISSN 0041-0101. PMID 12220709.
  5. ^ Shao, Jianhua; Zhang, Rong; Ge, Xin; Yang, Bin; Zhang, Jinghai (2007). "Analgesic Peptides in Buthus martensii Karsch: A Traditional Chinese Animal Medicine" (PDF). Asian Journal of Traditional Medicines. 2 (2): 45–50. ISSN 1817-4337. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-07.
  6. ^ a b Shao, Jianhua; Kang, Ning; Liu, Yanfeng; Song, Shuang; Wu, Chunfu; Zhang, Jinghai. (2007). "Purification and characterization of an analgesic peptide from Buthus martensii Karsch". Biomedical Chromatography. 21 (12): 1266–1271. doi:10.1002/bmc.882. ISSN 0269-3879. PMID 17604360.
  7. ^ Shao, Jian-Hua; Yue-Qiu Wang; Xiao-Yan Wu; Rui Jiang; Rong Zhang; Chun-Fu Wu; Jing-Hai Zhang (2007). "Cloning, expression, and pharmacological activity of BmK AS, an active peptide from scorpion Buthus martensii Karsch". Biotechnology Letters. 30 (1): 23–29. doi:10.1007/s10529-007-9499-y. ISSN 0141-5492. PMID 17701272.
  8. ^ Gong, J.; Kini R. M.; Gwee M. C.; Gopalakrishnakone P.; Chung M. C. (1997). "Makatoxin I, a novel toxin isolated from the venom of the Scorpion Buthus martensi Karsch, exhibits nitrergic actions". Journal of Biological Chemistry. 272 (13): 8320–8324. doi:10.1074/jbc.272.13.8320. ISSN 0021-9258. PMID 9079654.
  9. ^ Srinivasan, K. N.; S. Nirthanan; T. Sasaki; K. Sato; B. Cheng; M.C.E. Gwee; R. M. Kini; P. Gopalakrishnakone (2001). "Functional site of bukatoxin, an α-type sodium channel neurotoxin from the Chinese scorpion (Buthus martensi Karsch) venom: probable role of the 52PDKVP56 loop". FEBS Letters. 494 (3): 145–149. doi:10.1016/S0014-5793(01)02342-0. ISSN 0014-5793. PMID 11311230.
  10. ^ Wang, Chun-Guang; He, Xiao-Lin; Shao, Feng; Liu, Wei; Ling, Min-Hua; Wang, Da-Cheng; Chi, Cheng-Wu (2001). "Molecular characterization of an anti-epilepsy peptide from the scorpion Buthus martensi Karsch". European Journal of Biochemistry. 268 (8): 2480–5. doi:10.1046/j.1432-1327.2001.02132.x. PMID 11298767.
  11. ^ Zhou, X. H.; Yang, D.; Zhang, J. H.; Liu, C. M.; Lei, K. J. (1989). "Purification and N-terminal partial sequence of anti-epilepsy peptide from venom of the scorpion Buthus martensii Karsch". The Biochemical Journal. 257 (2): 509–17. doi:10.1042/bj2570509. PMC 1135608. PMID 2930463.
  12. ^ Zhao, R.; X.-Y. Zhang; J. Yang; C.-C. Weng; L.-L. Jiang; J.-W. Zhang; X.-Q. Shu; Y.-H. Ji (2008). "Anticonvulsant effect of BmK IT2, a sodium channel-specific neurotoxin, in rat models of epilepsy". British Journal of Pharmacology. 154 (5): 1116–1124. doi:10.1038/bjp.2008.156. ISSN 0007-1188. PMC 2451059. PMID 18587450.
  13. ^ Liu, Y; Ma R. L.; Wang S. L.; Duan Z. Y.; Zhang J. H.; Wu L. J.; Wu C. F. (2003). "Expression of an antitumor–analgesic peptide from the venom of Chinese scorpion Buthus martensii karsch in Escherichia coli". Protein Expression and Purification. 27 (2): 253–258. doi:10.1016/S1046-5928(02)00609-5. ISSN 1046-5928. PMID 12597884.
  14. ^ Liu, Yanfeng; Zhang, Zaiguo; Mao, Yingzi; Cui, Yong; Hu, Nan; Wang, Ying; Zhang, Jinghai. (2009). "Production and antitumor efficacy of recombinant Buthus martensii Karsch AGAP" (PDF). Asian Journal of Traditional Medicines. 4 (6): 228–233. ISSN 1817-4337.