Scorpion (Buthacus yotvatensis)

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Buthacus yotvatensis defensive posture
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Scorpion fact file

Scorpion description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumArthropoda
ClassArachnida
OrderScorpiones
FamilyButhidae
GenusButhacus (1)

Buthacus yotvatensis is a highly poisonous yellow-green scorpion, found in deserts and other arid, sandy areas. Like other members of the Buthacus genus, Buthacus yotvatensis is characteristically slight in build, with long, slender appendages, relatively small pincers and a tail that is relatively thick compared to its body size (2).

As with all scorpions, the body of Buthacus yotvatensis is comprised of many segments and six pairs of appendages. One pair of the front appendages are modified pincers, which are used to restrain prey and fight other scorpions. A second pair of appendages is modified into feeding apparatus known as ‘chelicerae(4).

Two subspecies of this scorpion are known: Buthacus yotvatensis yotvatensis and Buthacus yotvatensis nigroaculeatus. B. y. yotvatensis has a yellowish sting, and B. y. nigroaculeatus may be distinguished by the contrasting dark brown or black sting against the pale hue of the body (3).

Size
Length: 6.9 - 7.5 cm (1) (2)
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Scorpion biology

Buthacus yotvatensis usually preys on small invertebrates which are caught and restrained by the sharp pincers. However, the pincers are too weak for effective hunting alone, thus, Buthacus yotvatensis has a vicious sting, containing a powerful neurotoxin, which is used to immobilise and kill prey (6) (7).

The neurotoxin affects the nervous system, and is poisonous to potential prey, as well as humans and a range of other animals (6). However, this scorpion generally only stings larger animals when it is threatened (4).

Prior to breeding, Buthacus yotvatensis will find other members of its species by using vibrations in the sand, and is able to detect the gender of these individuals using pheromones. The mating ritual consists of a dance-like set of movements, in which the male will grasp the female’s pincers before guiding the female over a spermatophore that has been deposited on the ground (6) (7).

After insemination the male will retreat, leaving the female to gestate and raise the young alone. Like other scorpions, Buthacus yotvatensis is viviparous. The fully-formed young are carried around on the female’s back until they have moulted and acquired a stronger exoskeleton, which usually occurs several days after birth (6) (7).

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Scorpion range

Buthacus yotvatensis occurs in Middle Eastern countries, including Bahrain, Israel, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) (3).

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Scorpion habitat

Buthacus yotvatensis inhabits vegetated sandy areas. In the UAE it is found predominantly in arid deserts, but it may also be found on sandy beaches. It shelters during the day under stones, rubble and wood, as well as anywhere else that may provide respite from the sun (2) (4) (5).

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Scorpion status

Buthacus yotvatensis has yet to be classified by the IUCN.

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Scorpion threats

There are no known to threats to Buthacus yotvatensis.

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Scorpion conservation

There are no known specific conservation measures in place for Buthacus yotvatensis.

Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi is a principal sponsor of ARKive. EAD is working to protect and conserve the environment as well as promoting sustainable development in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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Find out more

For further information on Buthacus yotvatensis see:

For further information on conservation in Abu Dhabi and the UAE:

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

This species information was authored as part of the ARKive and Universities Scheme.
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Glossary

Chelicerae
Pair of appendages on the ‘head’ of an arachnid (a spider, scorpion, mite or harvestman).
Exoskeleton
An external skeleton that supports and protects an animal’s body.
Genus
A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
Gestation
The state of being pregnant; the period from conception to birth.
Invertebrates
Animals with no backbone, such as insects, crustaceans, worms, molluscs, spiders, cnidarians (jellyfish, corals, sea anemones) and echinoderms.
Moult
In insects, a stage of growth whereby the hard outer layer of the body (the exoskeleton) is shed and the body becomes larger.
Pheromone
A chemical produced by an animal, which stimulates a behavioural or physiological response by another member of the same species.
Spermatophore
Gelatinous jelly cone with a sperm cap deposited by a male during courtship and picked up by the cloacal lips of the female.
Subspecies
A population usually restricted to a geographical area that differs from other populations of the same species, but not to the extent of being classified as a separate species.
Viviparous
Giving birth to live offspring that develop inside the mother’s body.
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References

  1. UNEP-WCMC (December, 2010)
    http://www.unep-wcmc.org/
  2. Al-Asmari, A.K., Al-Saief, A.A., Abdo, N.M. and Al-Moutaery, K.R. (2009) New additions to the scorpion fauna of Riyadh region, Saudi Arabia. Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases, 15(4): 612-632.
  3. Clinical Toxinology Resources, The University of Adelaide (July, 2011)
    http://www.toxinology.com/
  4. Vine, P. (1996) Natural Emirates: Wildlife and Environment of the United Arab Emirates, Trident Press Ltd, London.
  5. Fet, V., Polis, G.A. and Sissom, W.D. (1998) Life in sandy deserts: the scorpion model. Journal of Arid Environments, 39: 609-622.
  6. Walls, J.G. (2006) Scorpions: Plus other Popular Invertebrates. Advanced Vivarium Systems, Irvine.
  7. Polis, G.A. (1990) The Biology of Scorpions. Stanford University Press, Stanford.
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Image credit

Buthacus yotvatensis defensive posture  
Buthacus yotvatensis defensive posture

© Drew Gardner

Dr Drew Gardner
asgardner@gmail.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/drewgardner/

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