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Offline Shutter_Eye

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SCORPIONS - Info and Identification Thread
« on: February 23, 2014, 04:44:50 pm »



This year seems to have an increased number of scorpion encounters.
While scorpions aren't plague animals, certain weather conditions can favour them and they move around more than usual.

There have been 2 fatalities that I'm aware of this season, and a number of stings across South Africa.

So I've started this thread for anyone who has found a scorpion in or around their house and would like to have it identified and get some info on the species and whether that one's dangerous or not. Here's a bit of background on scorpions for anyone interested.

Scorpions represent some of the oldest terrestrial animals on Earth, the fossil record indicates they emerged from aquatic ancestors around 430 million years ago, meaning that they've been around a whopping 2 150 times longer than anatomically modern humans!

Scorpions have conquered virtually every known land habitat except the Tundra and polar regions. Most species are restricted to arid environments though. They are masters of survival, capable of being submerged in water for 48 hours with no harm and some species can go for up to a year without food.

While they strike fear into hearts, only 25 of the +/-1800 species have venom capable of killing a human under normal circumstances. So while their sting is painful, 98% of all species are harmless.

A handy rule of thumb for seeing how much of a punch a scorpion packs is to look at the size relationship between the tail and the pincers.



The above image is of a Rough Thick-tail (Parabuthus granulatus), the deadliest species in southern Africa. It also illustrates some of the most common anatomy terms that you'll find in almost any article on scorpions - handy for understanding ID pointers.



The above pic here shows a Kalahari Burrowing Scorpion (Opistophthalmus wahlbergi), a harmless species that can deliver a painful sting, but isn't medically dangerous at all. Note the difference in tail/pedipalp size of the two species.

***************************

I'll try my best to ID any photos, but with more than 150 species in SA, it can easily go astray! The following guidelines will help though
 
1) Please add where the photo was taken.
2) Always try to get good quality pics, the better the quality the easier it is to ID.
3) A close-up photo of any feature that stands out such as the tail or pedipalp.

The photo of the Rough Thick-tail illustrates a good photo to use for an ID.


Here's a link to an article in the Volksblad around the increased scorpion encounters:
http://www.volksblad.com/nuus/2014-01-21-help-daars-n-skerpioen-in-my-bad

And here's a transcript of my tips to minimize human contact:
"I’ve noticed more than one person has asked about keeping scorpions out of their house and yard.

Firstly, I’d like to mention that scorpions are not like insects, so any of the commercially available “barrier sprays” won’t work. Another important thing to note is that no plants or chemicals will keep them out. Spraying Jeyes Fluid around your house won’t do anything except make your house smell funny and chase your visitors away.

The best solution would be to put up a strong flood light in far corner of your yard, that way insects will be attracted to the outside light and not to the light inside your house. Scorpions aren't attracted to light, but they’re attracted to insects, so all the moths flying around your bedside lamp look like a McDonalds to the scorpions. A strong outside light should make them hang around there and not in your house.

Another very important point is that animals of all sizes prefer a stable habitat. Scorpions will definitely prefer a habitat that stays unchanged for a long time. If you have a pile of building rubble, firewood or anything else in your yard that stands there for months on end you’re creating a stable habitat and that will definitely attract scorpions. By cleaning your yard and house on a regular basis you prevent that stable habitat from occurring. Keep your living space disturbed and scorpions won’t hang around. Note that “cleaning” refers to shifting things around and disturbing the habitat. That pile of firewood or those 3 sheets of corrugated iron that you got for a carport that never happened are perfect homes for scorpions. Shake up their habitat and they’ll look for somewhere else to call home.

Those 2 things are pretty much all you can really do to keep your home and yard relatively scorpion free. Unfortunately they are roaming animals, so there will always be a chance of them making a turn at your home. There really is no sure-fire way of permanently barring your home to scorpions – they've been around for 430 million years and have adapted for almost any environment, trying to get rid of them is a battle that you will certainly lose.

By the way, the same guidelines apply for keeping snakes out of your yard."
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Offline I&horse

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Re: SCORPIONS - Info and Identification Thread
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2014, 04:54:39 pm »
Cool post, i'm fascinated by them critters
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Offline G Steyn

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Re:
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2014, 06:52:14 pm »
Thanks for the post,  I have a very nice book by Johnathan Leming, Scorpions of South Africa, that I can recommend to anybody that wants to read more about them.
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Offline Shutter_Eye

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Re:
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2014, 09:15:12 am »
Thanks for the post,  I have a very nice book by Johnathan Leming, Scorpions of South Africa, that I can recommend to anybody that wants to read more about them.

Absolutely, it covers most of the commonly encountered species and is a great introduction, giving all the basic info on scorpions. I highly recommend it too.
2 Wheels and 1 Camera...
"UNDERSTEER" is when you hit the fence with your front wheel.
"OVERSTEER" is when you hit the fence with your rear wheel.
"HORSEPOWER" is how fast you hit the fence.
"TORQUE" is how far you take the fence with you.
 

Offline tok-tokkie

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Re: SCORPIONS - Info and Identification Thread
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2014, 10:13:09 am »
I live on the highest road along Signal Hill.  This scorpion moved into my office some years ago.  Eventually found their home was in the door frame which is a bit rotten. I was aware that big nippers means it is harmless.  Do they kill cockroaches - I assumed they did?
 

Offline Mev Vis Arend

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Re: SCORPIONS - Info and Identification Thread
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2014, 10:34:49 am »
Dankie vir die  interessante thread.  Dis baie handig vir ons "bos"mense. 
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Offline Shutter_Eye

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Re: SCORPIONS - Info and Identification Thread
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2014, 10:48:19 am »
I live on the highest road along Signal Hill.  This scorpion moved into my office some years ago.  Eventually found their home was in the door frame which is a bit rotten. I was aware that big nippers means it is harmless.  Do they kill cockroaches - I assumed they did?


Beautiful! Yeah it's a harmless Burrowing Scorpion (Opistophthalmus sp.). It's difficult to say because Burrowing Scorpions are the most diverse and often the most habitat-specific scorpions around. You'll find that different species inhabit different levels of hills under different substrates.

They play a vital role in every eco-system that they occur, both as insatiable predators (keeping your roaches in check :biggrin:) and also as food for a wide variety of birds and small mammals.
2 Wheels and 1 Camera...
"UNDERSTEER" is when you hit the fence with your front wheel.
"OVERSTEER" is when you hit the fence with your rear wheel.
"HORSEPOWER" is how fast you hit the fence.
"TORQUE" is how far you take the fence with you.
 

Offline Rodlau

Re: SCORPIONS - Info and Identification Thread
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2014, 11:58:27 pm »
Went on a fishing trip to the Orange river in the Richtersveld. Took a UV torch and at night when you shine the UV light on them they show up like road signs. Fascinating
 

Offline dookie

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Re: SCORPIONS - Info and Identification Thread
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2014, 07:29:18 am »
Nice thread.

Were we live, close to Cullinan, I have found these guys quite often.
Been stung a couple of times as well, and it does hurt like hell.
And yes, they do keep the other bugs in check.
 

Offline DikZol

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Re: SCORPIONS - Info and Identification Thread
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2014, 09:41:43 am »

Been stung a couple of times as well, and it does hurt like hell.


Jy wil nie hoor nie ne!  :)

Offline RobC

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Re: SCORPIONS - Info and Identification Thread
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2014, 09:59:10 am »
Never, ever blithely put your feet into boots or shoes in known scorpion country. Shake em out first! :deal:
 

Offline Sláinte Mhaith

Re: SCORPIONS - Info and Identification Thread
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2014, 10:09:07 am »
What is this one?

 

Offline RobC

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Re: SCORPIONS - Info and Identification Thread
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2014, 10:26:58 am »
What is this one?


Eina maar nie giftig nie... :lol8:
 

Offline Ratt

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Re: SCORPIONS - Info and Identification Thread
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2014, 10:43:59 am »
What is this one?



Dis die fokkers wat in my straatligte wegkruip, hy angel jou an jou jeans, dan wag hy tot jy hom try af haal. Dan try hy jou vinger afsny met sy bolt cutters. Moerse agro fokkers.
I'm not saying kill stupid people, I'm saying, remove the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.

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Offline RobC

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Re: SCORPIONS - Info and Identification Thread
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2014, 11:16:40 am »
 :laughing4: :laughing4: "Bolt cutters"  :imaposer: :imaposer:
 

Offline dookie

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Re: SCORPIONS - Info and Identification Thread
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2014, 11:23:00 am »

Been stung a couple of times as well, and it does hurt like hell.


Jy wil nie hoor nie ne!  :)
Moet darem se, die twee kere wat ek gepiets was, was deur my eie stoepidgeit.

1. Hand blindelings in 'n klomp hout ingedruk - lekker tussen die kneukels geslaan, en onmiddelik 'n gemoedsbekakking gehad.
  Was skoon lus en kap my hand af om van daai uiterste brand onstslae te raak.

2. Ek weet mens loop nie na donker kaalvoet buite rond op die plaas nie, maar "ek wil net gou iets buite kry"............toe trap ek bo-op die moeder van alle skerpioene. Die basterd het twee shots ingekry op my voet voordat ek hom kon uitsort.......nie doodgemaak nie, net mooi vertel wie en wat is sy ma.

So leer mens. Daai ene in die foto was baie rustig toe ek hom versigtig opgetel het en bekyk het.
 

Offline Shutter_Eye

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Re: SCORPIONS - Info and Identification Thread
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2014, 08:13:47 am »
What is this one?



This one looks like a Rough Burrowing Scorpion (Opistophthalmus glabrifrons). Could also be O. carinatus though. There are more than 50 species of Burrowing Scorpion, so I may well be mistaken. 

Regardless of species though, all the scorpions in the Opistopthalmus genus are harmless. They can deliver a painful sting but no harm done. :thumleft:
2 Wheels and 1 Camera...
"UNDERSTEER" is when you hit the fence with your front wheel.
"OVERSTEER" is when you hit the fence with your rear wheel.
"HORSEPOWER" is how fast you hit the fence.
"TORQUE" is how far you take the fence with you.
 

Offline tok-tokkie

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Re: SCORPIONS - Info and Identification Thread
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2014, 10:20:12 am »
Here is one I saw in the Richtersveld.  Was surprised he/she was around in the mid day sun. Don't they tend to shelter during the middle of the day?
 

Offline Ratt

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Re: SCORPIONS - Info and Identification Thread
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2014, 10:41:30 am »
Here is one I saw in the Richtersveld.  Was surprised he/she was around in the mid day sun. Don't they tend to shelter during the middle of the day?


Eliphantkillus Moersefokkingrootus. Known to kill insects by its mere uglyness.
I'm not saying kill stupid people, I'm saying, remove the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.

**072 596 1303 in Knysna if you have troubles**
 

Offline Shutter_Eye

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Re: SCORPIONS - Info and Identification Thread
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2014, 11:00:47 am »
Here is one I saw in the Richtersveld.  Was surprised he/she was around in the mid day sun. Don't they tend to shelter during the middle of the day?


Beautiful!!
Yeah, you found the world's only diurnal thick-tail! All other species seek shelter during the day, except this one.
Aptly named the Hairy Thick-tail (Parabuthus villosus)  :thumleft:
2 Wheels and 1 Camera...
"UNDERSTEER" is when you hit the fence with your front wheel.
"OVERSTEER" is when you hit the fence with your rear wheel.
"HORSEPOWER" is how fast you hit the fence.
"TORQUE" is how far you take the fence with you.