|Photo: Three-color burrowing scorpion|
Latin name: Ophistothalmus walberghi
The three-color burrowing scorpion reaches a very impressive size. From time to time, a scorpion can be quite aggressive, so we do not recommend beginners to keep this species at home.
Habitat: South Africa. Young scorpions eat small crickets and other small insects. Adults feed on adult crickets and other large insects. Size: 10-15 cm. Adult scorpions can drink from a small, wide saucer.
Emperor scorpions are arthropod arachnids from the scorpion squad. The Latin name of the species is Pandinus imperator. This is one of the largest representatives of the squad on Earth. The size of the imperial scorpion can exceed 20 cm. It is believed that only giant individuals of the species Pandinus cavimanus are believed to be larger. An adult male weighs about 30 g. Females are larger, their weight is almost 50 g.
The body of the arthropod has a dark color. It can be black, casting green or blue in the sun. In many individuals, the color of claws and telson is reddish brown. Under ultraviolet light, imperial scorpions glow greenish-blue. This is one of the reasons for the popularity of the species as a pet.
The body of the scorpion has a small cephalothorax (millet) and a long abdomen (opistosome). The abdomen itself is divided into 2 departments:
- Front wide section, closely docked with the cephalothorax. Together they are called the preabdomain.
- Behind the narrowed five-membered department, which is called postabdomain. This part of the body is like a tail.
An additional pear-shaped segment adjoins the fifth segment of the narrow abdomen. Its name is Telson. This is a tail spike with a needle bent upwards, on top of which there are poisonous glands. As you know, this creature does not bite, but stings its prey. The question immediately arises: “Is the imperial scorpion poisonous or not?” You should not worry. The poison of this species does not affect humans. Although it can cause a severe allergic reaction.
The body of the scorpion is "packed" in a chitinous shell, consisting of several shields and closed rings. The front pair of limbs, chelicerae, are horizontal claws resembling mandibles. They are located above the mouth opening. The next pair of limbs is called pedipalps. They also have claws, but much larger ones, designed to hold and tear food. Scorpions have 8 walking legs.
The imperial scorpion is breathing in lung bags. The animal has a good sense of touch, but low vision. The eyes are located on the cephalothorax: a pair of large ones in the middle and 5 pairs of small ones on the lateral surfaces.
History of the origin of acantophthalmus
Akantophthalmus is an exotic fish that has recently appeared in our area
The name, which is translated from Latin as “torn eyes”, acantophthalmus received due to the presence of spikes, creating the impression of a lack of contour between the eyes.
The birthplace of acantophthalmus is India and Southeast Asia. The habitat of these fish are small ponds with a soft bottom and slow flow. They prefer shaded places under tropical foliage or snags. On the territory of Russia, these fish first appeared in the first half of the 70s of the last century, and in 1973 their active breeding began.
Appearance and lifestyle
Acantophthalmus - night inhabitants with a calm character
Acantophthalmus has a serpentine trunk, which is slightly flattened on the sides. The length of the fish reaches 12 cm. Her body, in addition to the head, is covered with small scales. The fish is painted in bright orange or pink color with dark transverse stripes (from chocolate to almost black), which pass through the entire body. The eyes are covered with a transparent protective film, under them there are thorns. Near the mouth are small antennae. With their help, the fish searches for food.
The head of acantophthalmus is small in comparison with the body. On the back of the body are small fins. Females are noticeably larger than males. Also, a female can be distinguished by a transparent abdomen, through which greenish eggs are visible.
The lifestyle of these fish is nocturnal, because it is at this time of day that they show the highest activity. In the afternoon, the fish burrow in the sand or hide in snags. In the aquarium, they behave quite peacefully. Acantophthalmuses feel good alone. They are not flocking, so that you can keep one individual in the aquarium. But it is better to place 5-6 inhabitants in the aquarium, since this allows them to be more active.
Features of acantophthalmus Kul, Myers and half-belted - table
|Acantophthalmus Kul||Acanthophthalmus Myers||Acanthophthalmus half-belted|
|Body||In appearance resembles an eel. The body is serpentine, noticeably compressed on the sides. The fins are small. The mouth is lower, near it are 4 pairs of antennae. The eyes are small, covered with a film, one thorn is placed under them.||Myers has 3 pairs of antennae. They, like Kul, have spikes under the eyes and a protective film.||The body is serpentine, near the tail a little thickened. The mouth is lower, there are three pairs of antennae.|
|Colors||The color of the fish can be pink or orange-yellow with dark stripes. Their number on the body reaches 6–20 pieces.||The color of the fish varies from red to yellow. On the body are from 10 to 14 dark brown wide stripes.||A feature of these fish is the color. The stripes, which also have a dark brown color, do not close on the abdomen. Their number is 12-16 pieces. Only three stripes are connected near the head and one more near the tail.|
|Dimensions||Acantophthalmus Kul grows in length to |
|Myers also has a larger size. Its length is 12 cm, but this fish is noticeably thicker than other varieties.||The Size of the Half Belted is relatively small - 8 cm.|
|Life span||Representatives of this species live up to 10 years.||The fish lives up to 5 years.||Life expectancy does not exceed 5 years.|
Acantophthalmus need a well-equipped aquarium with shelters
Fish need diffused and dim lighting. For 5–6 animals, an aquarium of 70–100 liters is required. It must be covered with a lid, since acanthophthalmus can creep out. In this case, leave a gap for air intake.
The water temperature in the aquarium should be in the range of 22–28 ° С, acidity - pH 5.5–7.4, hardness - 5–9 dGH. Also, the tank must be properly equipped:
- A layer of fine pebbles or sand is poured at the bottom. Its thickness should be such that the fish can dig into the ground.
- Vegetation is also placed in the aquarium: Javanese moss, Thai fern, tiger water lilies.
- As shelters for acanthophthalmus, flat stones, rhizomes or driftwood are suitable. In addition, you need to install a filter for cleaning the soil.
Important! It is not recommended to put gravel in the aquarium, as it has an abrasive surface that can cause injury to fish.
How to feed the inhabitants?
Better to buy fish food
Acanththalmus need to be fed in the evening 2-3 hours before the light goes out. In this case, it is necessary to ensure that the food sinks to the bottom.
Important! Pour such an amount of feed into the aquarium that the fish eat for five minutes.
Small snails, a tubule maker, bloodworm, cyclops, enchitrea, and caret are introduced into their diet. Acanthophthalmus also feeds on dry and frozen food. The first group includes bottom feeding tablets, which are composed of plant fibers and spirulina, for example Wardley Spirulina Discs. For acanthophthalmus, one can recommend such feeds: TetraRubin or TetraPro Color Crips. They include carotenoids of natural origin, which enhance the color of fish.
Together with live food, fish receive a large amount of easily digestible protein and vitamins. But it has a drawback. Living organisms can be carriers of infectious diseases, as well as contain toxic substances. Therefore, such food is recommended to be disinfected. To do this, use a solution of the drug Ichthifor (50 drops per 100 ml of water). The food is soaked for 20-30 minutes.
An alternative food option is a frozen product, which is available in the form of cubes. It is completely ready for use.
Important! The advantage of frozen food is the absence of infections, but due to processing it loses some of its beneficial properties.
Compatible with other animals
Akantophthalmus is a peaceful inhabitant that should not be kept with too active fish
As neighbors for acanthophthalmus, small fish with a calm temperament should be selected. These include tetras, shrimps, gurus, zebrafish, apistograms, Asian loaches, sklyarii. And large individuals or fish prone to territorial behavior should be avoided. It is undesirable to combine acanthophthalmus with akars, astronotuses, crucian carp, carps, cichlids, as well as with bots, which are highly mobile. Such activity may disturb calm acanthophalmuses.
- The thorns that are located under the acanthophthalmus under the eyes help them crawl into narrow crevices. The fish first turns its head, then clings to a specific object and is pulled forward.
- Acanthophthalmus have intestinal respiration. They also absorb oxygen through the skin.
- The behavior of the fish is regulated by the air bubble, which is located in the bone membrane. With a decrease in atmospheric pressure due to the activity of this organ, acantophthalmus becomes very active and begins to swim at high speed. At the same time, it often rises to the upper layers of the water, although the bottom is the habitat of the fish. But such behavior can indicate not only changes in atmospheric pressure, but also water pollution, in which acanthophalmus becomes uncomfortable.
The nuances of breeding fish
Acantophthalmus in captivity spawn only with hormonal drugs
Offspring from acanthophthalmus in an aquarium are obtained using hormonal injections. Spawning without the use of stimulants is also possible, but today only isolated cases have been recorded. Fish reach puberty at 10-12 months.
For spawning, prepare a separate aquarium with a volume of 50–70 liters. At the bottom you need to place a separator grid, which will prevent the fish from eating eggs. The water temperature is maintained at 27 ° C, the acidity is pH 6.5. Lighting should be dim. For breeding, one female and 4–5 males will be required.
Important! It is imperative to put a net in the spawning, otherwise the fish will eat caviar.
The process has the following features:
- First, manufacturers should receive hormonal injections of chorionic gonadotropin. Regarding the exact dosage, it is better to consult with practicing ichthyologists. In order not to injure the fish during the injection, they should first be placed in a special 3-liter jig and add two drops of novocaine there. After 10 minutes, acanthophthalmus ceases to move, after which you can begin to work.
- The fish is transferred to a plate with moistened cotton wool, the head is also pressed with a piece of wet cotton wool.
- Next, an injection is made into the abdominal region near the fin. The needle should be directed to the head.
- After the process is completed, the fish is placed in the aquarium. Spawning begins in 6–8 hours. The productivity of one female reaches 700 eggs.
- After spawning is complete, producers are moved to a common aquarium. Larvae will form in 2-3 days.
After 24 hours after spawning, the eggs already form ponytails. On day 4-5, the fry begin to eat. Acanththalmus starter feed is live dust and rotifers. After two weeks, the fry will be covered with small age spots, and after a month they will grow up to 2–2.5 cm. After that, they will add large fodder to their diet: daphnia, artemia, bloodworm, tubule, and also crushed tablets. At the age of 5-6 weeks, fry can be moved to the aquarium.
Diseases and treatments
Acanthophthalmus is predisposed to obesity. In this regard, in order to maintain the health of the fish, you must follow the rules of feeding and not give them food for more than five minutes. In addition, one day a week should be unloading. That is, the fish do not need to give food at this time.
Acantophthalmus also has ichthyophthyroidism. This is a disease of an infectious nature, which manifests itself in the form of small white tubercles on the body of a fish. If untreated, acanthophthalmus dies. The most easy to eliminate the disease in the presence of one or two points. At an advanced stage, ichthyophthyroidism is very difficult to treat. Your actions in detecting symptoms of the disease:
- First you need to increase the water temperature by 2-3 degrees. This will accelerate the life cycle of ichthyophthiruses (parasites that provoke the development of this disease), as a result of which they will quickly come out and die. Also, an increase in temperature enhances the immune system of the fish.
- Next, malachite greens should be added to the aquarium. The drug should be used daily until the tubercles disappear and for another two days.
- After the sixth application, it is necessary to replace half the volume of water. Strengthen the effect of malachite greens will help 5% alcohol tincture of iodine. The water temperature should correspond to 27–28 ° С.
Acantophthalmus can cause amoebiasis, the cause of which is parasitic amoeba. The disease can be detected by the rapid breathing of the fish. Amoebiasis is treated with tinizadol. From this preparation a bath is prepared in which a sick fish is placed for 4 hours.
The aquarium is disinfected with a 3% formalin solution and then thoroughly washed. For prophylaxis, it is recommended to place acanthophthalmus for 10–20 minutes after purchasing an FMS drug in a solution, after which the fish should be transplanted for half an hour in a container with clean water and good aeration. Then they can be planted in the aquarium.
When keeping acanthophthalmus, it is necessary to adhere to certain standards of temperature, acidity and water hardness. And also follow the rules of nutrition. This will prevent the development of fish diseases. Breeding acanthophthalmus is a rather time-consuming process. But with the right approach, getting offspring is quite possible.
Description and Features
Adult scorpion fish - insects in the stage called the imago - are similar in morphology and size to other flies. The length of the body does not exceed 1.5 cm, the wingspan is limited to 3 cm. A black-yellow body is crowned with a head with a rastrum, an elongated front part, on which there is a mouth apparatus equipped with gnawing jaws. Only they can reproduce scorpion bite.
Two antennae come out from the top of the head. Each antenna consists of separate segments. There can be from 16 to 60 pieces, depending on the type of scorpion. The sectional design provides flexibility and, at the same time, durability.
The purpose of the antennas is sensorics, recognition of chemical signals coming from food or from a potential sexual partner. The scorpion has three faceted eyes on her head. These motionless, with bulging capsules, organs of vision occupy almost the entire surface of the head.
The fly has a color perception of the world, but sees small details poorly. She manages to catch flashes of light with a frequency of 200-300 Hz, that is, the fly has low inertia vision. A person can feel flickering up to a frequency of 40-50 Hz. Further, everything merges into a continuous light.
The scorpion is modest in size, approximately like a mosquito
An important organ of flies is the thoracic region. It freely articulates with the head and abdomen. On the chest, wings and limbs are fixed. Translucent wings with black spots are well developed, but scorpion girls do not like to fly. Short flights of several meters - for a larger fly is not solved.
A fly possesses 2 pairs of wings. The front wing is larger in size than the rear. Wings are folding in one plane. Penetrated by an irregular mesh of reinforcing threads (veins). In the front of the wing there are cuticular thickenings (non-cellular formations).
The legs of the insect are attached to the chest of the scorpion. These are running limbs with a foot consisting of 5 segments and 2 claws. In addition to the function of movement, in males the legs perform another important function. With their help, the female is retained, fixed at the time of the marriage.
The stomach of the flies is cylindrical, consists of 11 segments. The end of the tail in males is more pronouncedly divided into sections and bent up. Which gives a complete resemblance to the tail of the scorpion. At the end of the tail of the male is a genital thickening in shape similar to a claw. That is, the completion of the tail of scorpion women carries only reproductive functions.
People, having seen the male fly of a scorpion, immediately remember the poisonous scorpion. There is a natural fear of being stung. Moreover, it is believed that scorpion venom is fatal to humans. But the tail of a fly, so like a sting, is completely safe.
Only a male has a weapon simulator. The sting of a female scorpion or its semblance is missing. Larvae of scorpion flies are practically indistinguishable from butterfly caterpillars. On the black head are 2 antennae and a pair of convex eyes.
The most significant part of the head is the mouth, equipped with jaws. The elongated body is highly segmented. The first three segments are very short chest legs. On the subsequent parts of the body are 8 pairs of abdominal legs.
A thickening at the end, so reminiscent of the tail of a scorpion, is only in male scorpion
Scorpion squad (Mecoptera) is a large system group (taxon) that includes the real scorpion family (system name Panorpidae). Only 4 genera are assigned to this family, but the species diversity is very large. About 420 species are considered to be true scorpion women.
Species of scorpion flies on the continents are distributed very unevenly. In total, less than 3 dozen varieties live in European and Russian territory. In the European part of Russia and beyond the Urals, 8 species of flies live and breed:
- Panorpa communis. Known as common scorpion. The scientific description of this fly was made in 1758. It is widespread in Europe and throughout Russia, except for the northern latitudes.
- Panorpa horni. Introduced into the biological classifier in 1928. Distributed over most of Russia.
- Panorpa hybr>
Some species of scorpion are found in Russia.
Of the several hundred species of scorpion flies, an ordinary scorpion is always isolated. It is better studied than others, widely distributed in Europe, including Russia. Scorpioness in the photo - Most often it is an ordinary scorpion. This insect is implied when talking about a scorpion fly without specifying the scientific name of the species.
Lifestyle & Habitat
Scorpion flies are found in large numbers in bushes, tall grass, and small forests. They are attracted by shady, moist places in which other insects huddle. Scorpionesses experience dry or frosty times, being in the stage of an egg or pupa.
Wanting to have a piece of wildlife at home, some enthusiasts began to build insectariums. These insect vivariums often contain tropical butterflies. The experience of dealing with them has accumulated sufficient. Next in line are other arthropods.
Successful attempts to keep scorpionesses have been implemented. They get along well among fellow tribesmen. Providing them with food is not difficult. Skorpionnitsy do not need room for long flights. Watching them is no less interesting than looking at fish in an aquarium. Entomologists, professionals and amateurs, are still deciding on the home maintenance of scorpion women.
For a man, a scorpion is not a danger, contrary to popular belief, she can’t sting
Any death among invertebrates is an opportunity for scorpion women to eat. In addition to dead flesh, adult flies are attracted by decaying remains of vegetation. Having noticed an insect entangled in a web, the scorpion girl tries to get ahead of the spider and eat it. Carried away by an insect, the scorpion can herself become a spider victim.
Scorpion fly, a photo which is often fixed by hanging her head upside down, not only a scavenger, but also a hunter. From this position, she catches mosquitoes and other flies with her long clawed legs. Some species, besides the flesh, consume pollen and nectar. There are flies that suck the contents of berries. For example, the South Siberian population of scorpion flies causes significant damage to the harvest of white currants.
Moving in the upper layer of the substrate, the larvae of the fly absorb the food that is most accessible in this vital layer — plant residues that are in the last stage before becoming dust. This, it would seem, not particularly nutritious substance is good in that a minimum of effort is spent on its digestion.
A scorpion can herself go to a predatory insect or bird for lunch. In addition to spiders, predatory bugs and mantises hunt them. Birds, especially during the nesting period, become number one enemies. The tail part, similar to a scorpion organ, could be a good deterrent. But the females are deprived of it. One thing remains - to multiply intensely.
Reproduction and longevity
Flying out of the chrysalis scorpion insect It is occupied with two problems: to find food and continue the genus. To find partners scorpion women give chemical signals - emit pheromones. When living in thickets and not very good eyesight, chemical communication is the most reliable way to create a pair.
Male common scorpion women use a tried and tested technique. They keep the female around them, secreting a salivary secret. The female, absorbing droplets of liquid, becomes more docile and inferior to the claims of the male. Insects connect for a while while the male feeds his partner with saliva.
Men of other species of scorpion in the arsenal have a similar trick. They offer an edible slice or a whole euthanized insect. The duration of the copulation process depends on the size of the food offered. When food runs out, insects lose interest in each other.
After meeting with the male, the female begins to look for a place with waterlogged soil. 2-3 dozens of eggs are laid in the upper layers of the substrate. The process of existence in the egg phase does not last long, only 7-8 days. The appeared larva immediately begins to actively eat.
Larvae need to gain size and mass sufficient for pupation. Having increased by about 10 times, the larva creeps into the thickness of the substrate and pupates. In the pupal phase, the insect spends about 2 weeks. After which there is a metamorphosis - the pupa becomes a fly.
The timing of the transformation of an egg into a larva and pupae into a fly can be significantly shifted. It all depends on the time of year in which you have to stay in this state. The task is simple - to shift cold or dry times in the ground. Nature successfully copes with this.
Larvae appear when the ground has not frozen and dried, when there are a lot of decaying residues in the soil. Flies appear after the release of other insects - a potential food for scorpion. In the middle lane during the summer season there are at least 3 generations of scorpion women. In the adult state, flies exist from one month to three.
In the photo the scorpion larva
Origin of view and description
Photo: Emperor Scorpion
The imperial scorpion (Pandinus imperator) is the largest scorpion species in the world. Its length on average is about 20-21 cm, and weight - 30 g. Pregnant women are much larger and heavier than their relatives. However, some species of forest scorpions are quite similar in size, and the Heterometrus swammerdami scorpion is the world record holder among the brethren in length (23 cm). Animals grow fast. Their life cycle is a maximum of 8 years. They reach full maturity in 5-6 years (adult size).
Historical reference! The genus was first described by K. L. Koch in 1842. Later, in 1876, Tamerlan Torell described and recognized him as a family of his own.
Then the genus was divided into five subgenera, but the division into subgenera is now in question. Other common names by which an animal is known are the Black Imperial Scorpion and the African Imperial Scorpion.
Video: Imperial Scorpion
The common ancestor of all arachnids probably resembled the extinct now eurypterids or sea scorpions, formidable aquatic predators that lived about 350-550 million years ago. Using their example, it is easy to trace the evolutionary movement from water existence to a land way of life. Euripterids living in the water element and having a gill had many similarities with current scorpions. Land varieties similar to modern scorpions existed in the Carboniferous period.
In the history of mankind, scorpions have occupied a special place. They are part of the mythology of many peoples. Representatives of the genus are mentioned in the Book of the Dead in Egypt, the Qur'an, and the Bible. The animal was considered sacred by the goddess Selket, one of the daughters of Ra, the patroness of the world of the dead.
Appearance and features
Photo: Tropical Photo: Emperor Scorpion
Imperial scorpion has a dark blue or bright black color with a splash in some areas of brown color and grainy texture. The lateral parts of the body have a whitish streak that extends from head to tail. The tip of which is known as telson and has an intense red color, contrasting with the entire anatomy of the animal.
After molting, these scorpions acquire a golden color from the tail to the head, which gradually darkens, up to an intense black color, the usual coloring of adults.
Fun fact! Emperor scorpions fluorescent in ultraviolet light. They look bluish-green, which allows people and other animals to detect them and take precautions.
Adult scorpions are difficult to distinguish, since males and females look the same. Their exoskeleton is very sclerotic. The front of the body, or millet, consists of four parts, each with a pair of legs. Behind the fourth pair of legs are comb-like structures known as pectins, which are usually longer in males than in females. The tail, known as the metasoma, is long and bends back throughout the body. It ends with a large vessel with poisonous glands and a pointed curved sting.
The imperial scorpion can travel very quickly over short distances. Moving long distances, he takes many rest breaks. Like many scorpions, he has very little stamina at the stages of activity. He is prone to a nocturnal lifestyle and does not leave his shelters during the day.
Where does the imperial scorpion live?
Photo: Black Emperor Scorpion
The imperial scorpion is an African species that lives in tropical rainforests, but is also present in the savannah, in the immediate vicinity of termite mounds.
Its location is recorded in a number of African countries, including:
- Benin (a small population in the western part of the country),
- Burkana Faso (very common, almost everywhere),
- Cote D’Ivoire (quite common, especially in hard-to-reach places)
- Gambia (is far from the first among scorpion representatives of this country),
- Ghana (most individuals are located in the western part of the country),
- Guinea (ubiquitous)
- Guinea-Bissau (found in small quantities),
- Togo (revered by the locals as a deity)
- Liberia (found in the wet shrouds of the western and central parts),
- Mali (the imperial scorpion population is spread over most of the country)
- Nigeria (a frequently occurring species among representatives of the local fauna)
- Senegal (a small number of individuals are present)
- Sierra Lyon (large colonies are observed in the eastern rainforests)
- Cameroon (quite common among representatives of the fauna).
The imperial scorpion lives in deep underground tunnels, under stones, fragments of branches and other forest debris, as well as in mounds of termites. Pectins are sensory organs that help determine the area where they are located. The species prefers a relative humidity of 70-80%. For them, the most comfortable day temperature is 26-28 ° C, at night from 20 to 25 ° C.
What does the imperial scorpion eat?
Photo: Emperor Scorpion
In the wild, imperial scorpions mainly consume insects, such as crickets, as well as other terrestrial invertebrates, however, it is termites that make up most of their diet. Less commonly eat larger vertebrates such as rodents and lizards.
Emperor scorpions hide near termite mounds to a depth of 180 cm to hunt prey. Their large claws are adapted to tear prey, and the tail sting introduces poison, which helps thin the food. Teenagers rely on their poisonous sting to paralyze prey, while adult scorpions use their larger claws more.
Curious! Sensitive hair covering the mites and tail allows the imperial scorpion to detect prey through vibration in the air and on the ground.
Preferred for walking at night, the imperial scorpion can be active during the day, if the light level is low. Imperial scorpion champion champion. He can live without food for up to a year. One single moth will saturate him for a whole month.
Despite the fact that it is a huge scorpion with a formidable appearance, its poison is not deadly to humans. The venom of the African emperor scorpion is mild and has moderate toxicity. It contains toxins such as emtoxin and pandinotoxin.
Scorpion bites can be classified as light, but painful (similar to bee stings). Most people do not suffer from the bite of an imperial scorpion, although some may be allergic. Various ion channel toxins, including Pi1, Pi2, Pi3, Pi4 and Pi7, have been isolated from the venom of the imperial scorpion.
Features of character and lifestyle
Photo: Animal imperial scorpion
This species is one of the few representatives of scorpions that can communicate in groups. In animals, sub-sociality is noted: females and offspring often live together. The imperial scorpion is not aggressive and does not attack relatives. However, food shortages sometimes lead to cannibalism.
The vision of the imperial scorpions is very poor, and other feelings are well developed. The imperial scorpion is known for its obedient behavior and an almost harmless bite. Adults do not use their sting to protect themselves. However, they can use sting bites for protection in adolescence. The amount of poison introduced is dosed.
Interesting fact! Some of the molecules that make up the poison are currently being investigated, as scientists believe that they may have properties against malaria and other bacteria harmful to human health.
It is a sturdy animal that can withstand temperature extremes up to 50 ° C. Afraid of the sun and hiding all day to eat only in the evening. In addition, it demonstrates a low need for climbing, which is rare in other scorpions. It rises along the roots and adheres to vegetation to a height of about 30 cm. Caves are torn up to a depth of 90 cm.
Curious! Freezing is not particularly harmful to scorpions. They gradually thaw out under the sun and live on. Also, these ancient animals can be under water for about two days without breathing.
Social structure and reproduction
Photo: Tropical Imperial Scorpion
Imperial scorpions reach puberty by four years. They participate in a complex dance, where the male moves, trying to find a suitable place to store sperm. After sperm donation, the male maneuvers with the female over the place where she will receive sperm. Animals are viviparous. When a woman becomes pregnant, the body of the female expands, exposing the whitish membranes connecting the segments.
The pregnancy period lasts about 12-15 months, as a result, up to fifty whitish spiders (usually 15-25) are born, which before this hatch from the eggs directly in the uterus. Babies gradually leave the uterus, the birth process can last up to 4 days. Emperor scorpions are born defenseless and rely heavily on their mother for food and protection.
Curious fact! Females carry cubs on their body for up to 20 days. Numerous offspring clings to the back, stomach and legs of the female, and they descend to the ground only after the first molt. While on the mother’s body, they feed on her cuticular epithelium.
Mothers sometimes continue to feed their cubs, even if they are advanced enough to live independently. Young scorpions are born white and for another 4 to 6 weeks contain proteins and nutrients in their squat bodies. They solidify 14 days after their tanks turn black.
First, slightly grown scorpions eat the food of animals that their mother hunted. As they grow up, they part with their mother and look for their own food areas. Sometimes they form small groups in which they live peacefully together.
Natural enemies of imperial scorpions
Photo: Black Emperor Scorpion
The imperial scorpions have a sufficient number of enemies. Birds, bats, small mammals, large spiders, centipedes and lizards constantly hunt them. When attacking, the scorpion occupies an area of 50 by 50 centimeters, actively defends itself and quickly retreats.
His enemies include:
He reacts to aggression against himself from the perspective of a threat, but he is not aggressive and avoids conflicts with any vertebrates starting from adult mice. Emperor scorpions can see and recognize other animals at a distance of about a meter, while they move, so they often become the object of attack. When protecting with a scorpion, strong pedipalps (tentacles) are used. However, in heavy fights or when attacked by rodents, they use venom bites to immobilize the attacker. The imperial scorpion is immune to its poison.
However, the main enemy of the imperial scorpion is people. Unauthorized collection drastically reduced their number in Africa. In the nineties, 100,000 animals were exported from Africa, which led to fears and a wary reaction from animal defenders. Now it is believed that the population in captivity is large enough, which significantly reduces the hunt for wild animals.
Population and species status
Photo: Emperor Scorpion
Imperial scorpion is a popular sight among pet lovers. This has affected the excessive removal of representatives of the species from the wild fauna. The animal attracts exotic lovers in that it is easy to maintain and reproduces well in captivity.
On a note! Together with Pandinus dictator and Pandinus gambiensis, the imperial scorpion is currently under protection. He is listed on CITES. Any purchase or gift must be accompanied by an invoice or letter of appointment; a special CITES number is required for import.
Now imperial scorpions can still be imported from African countries, but this can change if the amount of exports drops sharply. This will indicate a possible adverse effect on the animal population from excessive collection in its habitats. This species is the most common scorpion in captivity and is readily available in the pet trade, but CITES has established quotas for export.
P. diactator and P. gambiensis are rare in the pet trade. The species Pandinus africanus is on the list of some commercial dealers. This name is invalid and may only be used to cover up the export of species imperial scorpion from the CITES list.
How to distinguish a male from a female
Not being a specialist, distinguishing a male imperial scorpion from a female is rather difficult. The main difference is size. The female is larger. You can also try to distinguish by claws - in the male they are more massive and elongated. To distinguish between young individuals, it is necessary to observe the activity. Females are calmer.
Specialists distinguish imperial scorpions by the caps covering the sexual opening. Its place is the gap between the bases of the comb-like organs. The males have two caps, one of which covers the other. In females, they fused at the seam. With a careful attempt to move the females, the lid is lifted up entirely, for males only the upper half. Beginners can consider this element on the linear skins of imperial scorpions. In this case, there is no risk of injuring the arthropod or experiencing aggression on the pet.
Where are found in nature
Unfortunately, this species of scorpions in nature is now on the verge of survival. Previously, its range extended to the western part of Africa. The black imperial scorpion was found in the territory of the Congo, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Nigeria, Togo and so on.
Pandinus imperator is adapted to terrestrial life. He digs holes in the loose soil of rain forests or shrouds. Sometimes it can live in natural shelters, settles under large pieces of bark or in piles of leaves.
To make an unusual pet feel comfortable, it is necessary for him to equip a horizontal ventilated terrarium with a lid. One or two individuals feel good in a tank whose height is about 15 cm, width - 30 cm, length - 50 cm. If arthropods are larger, then the terrarium is selected more spacious.
The bottom of the tank is sprinkled with a mixture of soil and peat, which is well moistened. First, the wet mixture is compacted, forming a layer of 10-12 cm. Then, a layer of loose substrate with a height of 5-7 cm is added to the top. Thus, the pet will be able to dig holes, as in the natural environment.
Do you remember where the imperial scorpion lives in nature? Equatorial rainforests and savannas warm in the afternoon above +30 ° C, which means that in the terrarium you need to maintain a similar temperature. At night, the scorpion is comfortable at +20 ° C. Lowering the temperature below is not recommended.
The terrarium should have a high level of humidity (about 80%). For this, the substrate is sprayed daily. Twice a week, pets should be cleaned of food debris and waste products.
A transparent container filled with a soil mixture does not look very presentable. As a decoration, you can place stones, pieces of bark, branches or thick driftwood in it. The pet will use this decor as a shelter. To maintain moisture levels, live plants can be placed in containers. However, they should not be planted in the soil-mixture, as the imperial scorpions dig minks and can damage the roots. Plants are exposed in pots attached to the bottom. By the way, the drinker is also fixed to the wall or bottom. The drinker should be large and flat. A pet will sometimes crawl into it completely. For convenience and safety, lay a flat stone at the bottom so that the imperial scorpion can fit on it without risking drowning.
Diet in captivity
Pandinus imperator is not picky in food. The appetite of these arachnids is very good. They eat crickets with pleasure, do not refuse locusts, flour worms and other large insects. Live food should be sprinkled with mineral additives. Once a month, you can feed newborn mice.
Imperial scorpion captive puberty occurs in 2-2.5 years, after 6-7 links. In the wild, this happens earlier. The pregnancy of the female can last from 6 months to 1.5 years (depending on the conditions of detention). Up to 25 cubs of white color are born. Toddlers move to the mother’s back and stay there for a long time (up to two weeks). Scorpions become independent after the first molt. With each new molt, their color becomes darker, and the chitin cover is harder.
Emperor scorpions are one of the most convenient species for home maintenance. They are unpretentious, not dangerous and very effective.