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Pandinus imperator

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Pandinus imperator

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Conservation status
CITES Appendix II (CITES[1]
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Scorpiones
Family: Scorpionidae
Genus: Pandinus
Species: P. imperator
Binomial name
Pandinus imperator
(Koch, 1842)

The emperor scorpion, Pandinus imperator, is a species of scorpion native to Africa. It is one of the largest scorpions in the world and lives for 6–8 years. Its body is black, but glows pastel green or blue under ultraviolet light. It is a popular species in the pet trade, and is protected by CITES.

Description

The emperor scorpion (Pandinus imperator) is one of the largest species of scorpion in the world, with adults averaging about 20 centimetres (7.9 in) in length. However, some species of forest scorpions are fairly similar to the emperor scorpion in size, and one scorpion, Heterometrus swammerdami, holds the record for being the world's largest scorpion at 9 inches (23 cm) in length.[2] The large pincers are blackish-red and have a granular texture. The front part of the body, or prosoma, is made up of four sections, each with a pair of legs. Behind the fourth pair of legs are comb-like structures known as pectines, which tend to be longer in males than in females. The tail, known as the metasoma, is long and curves back over the body. It ends in the large receptacle containing the venom glands and is tipped with a sharp, curved stinger. Their sting is categorized as mild (similar to a bee sting) to severe on humans depending on the species.[3] Sensory hairs cover the pincers and tail, enabling the emperor scorpion to detect prey through vibrations in the air and ground.[4]

When gravid (pregnant), the body of a female expands to expose the whitish membranes connecting the segments. The emperor scorpion fluoresces greenish-blue under ultra-violet light.[5][6]

Habitat and distribution

The emperor scorpion is an African rainforest species.[7] It is found in a number of African countries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Togo, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone.[6]

This species inhabits both tropical forest and open savannas. The emperor scorpion burrows beneath the soil and hides beneath rocks and debris,[4] and also often burrows in termite mounds.[8]

Conservation and human impact

African Emperor scorpion venom contains the toxins imperatoxin.[9] and Pandinotoxin.

P. imperator is a popular scorpion in the pet trade, which has led to such over-collecting in the wild that it is now a CITES-listed animal.[1]

References

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External links

Arthropods portal
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