03 July, 2009

Scorpion stings in Khuzestan, Iran

It is well known that scorpions are a medical problem in parts of Iran. The most dangerous species are Androctonus crassicauda (Buthidae) and Hemiscorpius lepturus (Hemiscorpiidae). Ruhollah Dehghani and co-workers have now published an epidemiological study on scorpion stings in Khuzestan, Iran.

The study showed that in 418 cases, A. crassicauda and H. lepturus were involved in 120 and 104 cases respectivly. Interestingly, the study showed that Compsobuthus matthiesseni (Buthidae) was involved in 86 cases. This is the first time that this species has been reported as a major cause of scorpion stings. There is no indications, though, that C. matthiesseni cause serious morbidity in humans. Other species reported in the study were Mesobuthus eupeus (91), Hottentotta saulcyi (14), Orthochirus scrobiculosis (2) and H. schach (1), all belonging to the family Buthidae.

Khuzestan province has the highest rate of scorpion sting in Iran. This is a study to identify these scorpions in Khuzestan. In this study 418 scorpions were kept in the ethyl alcohol 70%, each being studied by stereomicroscopy and diagnosis key separately. 120 (28.7%) Androctonus crassicauda, 104 (24.9%) Hemiscorpius lepturus, 91 (21.7%) Mesobuthus eupeus, 86 (20.65%) Compsobuthus matthiesseni, 14 (3.35%) Hottentotta saulcyi, 2 (0.5%) Orthochirus scrobiculosus and 1 (0.25%) Hottentotta schach were identified. H. lepturus is in the Hemiscorpiidae family and the rest are in Buthidae. C. matthiesseni is the most frequent and O. scrobiculosus is the least frequent newly identified scorpion. This study adds two new sting scorpions to the previous list of 8 identified scorpions in Iran.

Dehghani R, Djadid ND, Shahbazzadeh D, Bigdelli S. Introducing Compsobuthus matthiesseni (Birula, 1905) scorpion as one of the major stinging scorpions in Khuzestan, Iran. Toxicon. 2009;54:272-5. [Subscription required for fulltext]

Family Buthidae
Family Hemiscorpiidae

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