Opistophthalmus

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Opistophthalmus
Opistophthalmus glabrifrons.jpg
Tri-colored burrowing scorpion, O. glabifrons
Scientific classification
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Opistophthalmus

Koch, 1837

Opistophthalmus is a genus of scorpions known commonly as burrowing scorpions, tri-colored scorpions, serkets, or hissing scorpions. They are found predominantly in southern Africa. They are known for making deep and elaborate burrows.

Description[edit]

Opistophthalmus scorpions are typically heavily built for scorpions, and have broad, powerful claws (chelae). They vary in color from yellow through brown to black usually with darker or lighter areas. The leg color is typically much lighter than the rest of the body.

O. pallipes female(left) and male(right)

Species[edit]

Sources disagree on how many species within the genus there are, but it is generally accepted that there are approximately 60:

In captivity[edit]

O. glabrifrons, O. wahlbergii and O. boehmi are readily available in the exotic pet trade. They are generally hardy captives, but tend to have a nervous disposition and if set up properly with deep substrate, they are rarely seen as they will burrow and hide most of the time.

Toxicity[edit]

In southern Africa, thick clawed scorpions belonging to the families Scorpionidae, Bothriuridae and Ischnuridae, and are generally assumed to be harmless. However, Opistophthalmus glabrifrons is an exception to the rule. Opistophthalmus species are burrowing scorpions, and probably never leave their burrows except when coming out to mate. This probably accounts for the timing and relative rarity of their stings.

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