A scorpion is a predacious arachnid which is identified by its pedipalps, eight legs and a thin segmented tail which is usually curved over its backs with a poisonous stinger. These insects belong to the order Scorpiones and thrive in a broad range of ecological conditions. Scorpions can be found in every continent of the world except in Antarctica. There are over two thousand scorpion species in the world, but only forty are venomous enough to kill a human.
The World's Largest Scorpions
The largest scorpions on earth are defined by both their body-lengths and weight. The Hadogenes troglodytes (8.3 inches) and Heterometrus swammerdami (9 inches) are the longest scorpion species. The Hadogenes troglodytes are flat and have long metasomas; therefore they are lighter than the Heterometrus swammerdami which are thick.
The heaviest scorpions on earth are the Heterometrus swammerdami and Pandinus imperator. They have stout bodies and appendages, but the Heterometrus species is longer than the Pandinus species. Therefore, the Heterometrus swammerdami is the longest and the heaviest species which holds the title of the largest scorpion on earth with an average length of 9 inches. The Emperor scorpions and the giant forest scorpions are the largest scorpion species in the world
The Pandinus imperator commonly known as emperor scorpion, weighs about 1.06 ounces, and the adults have a maximum length of approximately 7.9 inches. They are reddish brown with a coarse texture. The prosoma of the Emperor scorpion has four segments with each having two legs. These scorpions have a pectine (comb-like structures) behind the last legs. The female Pandinus imperators have shorter pectines than the male.
Habitat And Behavior
The emperor scorpion is an African rainforest scorpion species which is present in the Savanna. The Emperor scorpions reside in numerous nations including Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Gambia and Benin among others. Emperor scorpions live in burrows below the soil or termite mound. They also hide under the debris, leaf litters and huge rocks.
Emperor scorpions eat insects among other invertebrates with the termites making up a big part of their diets. They can also consume bigger vertebrates like lizards and rodents. These creatures can dig 6ft deep holes in a termite mound to look for food. These scorpions tear their preys apart using their claws while injecting venom into them. The poison helps liquefy the prey. The young emperor scorpions use the venom to paralyze their prey.
Giant Forest Scorpion
The Heterometrus swammerdami commonly known as the giant forest scorpion weighs about 2.0oz and can attain a maximum length of approximately 9inches. The appendages, metasomal segments, tergites, and carapace of these scorpions are reddish black to reddish brown. The young scorpions are red with yellowish telsons.
Habitat And Behavior
Majority of these scorpions reside in vegetated mostly forested damp areas with tropical to subtropical weather in southeastern Asia, particularly in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. They are nocturnal creatures which hide below logs, leaf litters and burrows. The subspecies of Heterometrus swammerdami are in India and Sri Lanka. The Heterometrus swammerdami have evolved and don’t kill their prey using their venom; instead they kill them using their pincers.
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