(animals) > Bilateria > Ecdysozoa > Panarthropoda > Tritocerebra >
Arthropoda > Arachnomorpha > Cheliceriformes > Chelicerata > Euchelicerata
> Arachnida > Scorpiones
> Superfamily: Scorpionoidea
The scorpionids, with the
Liochelidae and Bothriuridae, is one of the thin-tail
scorpion families, falling in the superfamily
Scorpionoidea. Scorpionidae includes various common names such as the burrowing scorpions,
carinated burrowing scorpions and pale-legged scorpions.
While the sting can be painful and some species, for example Opistophthalmus
glabrifrons, are reported to have some unpleasant systemic symptoms, the venom
of this group is of little medical importance.
This family includes some of the
largest and most impressive scorpions. The west African Pandinus imperator,
The Emperor scorpion, reaches a length of 180 to 200 mm (the Guiness Book of
Records cites a record of 229mm). The Asian Heterometrus swammerdami
grows to 168 mm (Guiness Book of Records cites 247 and 292 mm), while our local Opistophthalmus
gigas from the northern Cape and Namibia attains a length of 160 mm and
probably outweighs the liochelid, Hadogenes troglodytes, the world
longest scorpion at 210 mm, that weighs 32grams.
Genera indigenous to southern Africa
The Scorpionidae originated in
eastern Gondwanaland with 4 genera occurring in Africa and Asia. Opistophthalmus
is the only southern African genus and includes 59 described species with 17 new
species in preparation for publication.
There are 59 described species in southern Africa
with 17 new
species in preparation for publication. This genus is aptly referred to
as the burrowing scorpions as most species do in fact burrow.
to scorpion home
Text and images by
Norman Larsen ©