Uroplectes (lesser thick-tailed scorpions)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Ecdysozoa > Panarthropoda > Tritocerebra > Arthropoda > Arachnomorpha > Cheliceriformes > Chelicerata > Euchelicerata > Arachnida > Scorpiones (scorpions) > Superfamily: Buthoidea > Family: Buthidae 

This Afrotropical genus occurs in a wide range of habitats from Afromontane forest to desert in southern and eastern Africa. Species can be arboreal occurring under tree bark, in holes in trees or actively hunting on vegetation or wandering about on the forest floor. Uroplectes can also be lapidicolous, wandering about at night and find retreat under any suitable cover by day, or they can be lithophilous occurring in rock crevices. Further species are psammophilous, burrowing at the base of shrubs in sandy soil. Uroplectes is very commonly found in houses on the Cape Peninsula is responsible for most scorpion stings. Stings often occur when collecting firewood where they shelter. They generally share forest habitats with Opisthacanthus

The genus Uroplectes includes about 40 described species of small to medium (30 to 60 mm) scorpions. They are very variable in colour; often brightly coloured yellow, orange, brown and even olive green usually patterned with darker markings.

Uroplectes can deliver an extremely painful sting that subsides after 1 to 4 hours rarely longer, with the possibility of slight local swelling. Ice treatment and an analgesic is all that is required for pain relief. There are some reports that a few species' stings result in minor systemic symptoms.

Some species in southern Africa

Uroplectes carinatus

Occurs over much of western southern Africa but is absent from the Cape Peninsula in the Western Cape and from the Eastern Cape, Kwazulu/Natal and Mpumalanga.

Uroplectes insignus

Endemic to the forests of the Cape Peninsula in the Western Cape.

Uroplectes lineatus

A Western Cape endemic that occurs from the West Coast National Park to the Cape Peninsula.

Uroplectes variegatus



Text and images by Norman Larsen .

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