07 January, 2013

Scorpions of medical importance in Mali

Max Goyffon and co-workers have recently published an interesting article about potential medical important scorpions in Mali. Little is known about the venom potential of species in this regions so this is an important contribution to our knowledge of African scorpionism.

Androctonus amoreuxi (Audouin, 1826), A. australis (Linnaeus, 1758) and Leiurus quinquestriatus (Ehrenberg, 1828) in the family Buthidae are identified as medical important in Mali.

Although the main Malian scorpion species of medical interest, Androctonus amoreuxi, is responsible for severe envenomings and perhaps some deaths, it has hitherto been considered not dangerous for humans. This population is located in the Saharian North-Eastern regions of Mali where it is accompanied by Leiurus quinquestriatus, a well known dangerous species of the Sahara. In the Gao district, divided by the Niger River, less desolate than the Tessalit and Kidal regions, one specimen of the dangerous species Androctonus australis was found. To summarize, Mali harbors at least three dangerous scorpion species: Leiurus quinquestriatus, Androctonus amoreuxi and A. australis, the latter recently having been identified in Mali for the first time. The absence of Androctonus aeneas is surprising in this context because it is found in neighboring countries (Algeria, Niger) and should be detected by new surveys. The possibility of preparing a single scorpion antivenom intended for Saharian and sub-Saharian populations is discussed.

Goyffon M, Dabo A, Coulibaly SK, Togo G, Chippaux JP. Dangerous scorpion fauna of Mali. J Venom Anim Toxins Incl Trop Dis. 2012;18(4):361-8. [Free full text]

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