30 October, 2009

Severe scorpion envenomation in children in Turkey

The scorpion fauna of Southeastern Turkey includes several species of medical importance, the most potent being Androctonus crassicuda and Leiurus abdullahbayrami (previously L. quinquestriatus). As in other countries, children are much more vulnerable to scorpion stings than adult because of their low body weight.

Bosnak and co-workers have published a retroperspective study on children with severe scorpion envenomation from Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey. A general discussion on scorpion envenomation and treatment is also presented.

Background: Scorpion envenomation is a common public health problem worldwide and children are at greater risk of developing severe cardiac, respiratory and neurological complications. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of antivenin and/or prazosin use on prognosis of scorpion-envenomed children admitted to pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). Methods: The standardized medical records of 45 children hospitalized with severe scorpion sting in PICU were retrospectively evaluated. General characteristics of the children, clinical and laboratory findings, treatment approaches and prognosis were evaluated. Results: The mean age of the patients were 6.1 + 4.1 years ranging between 4 month and 15 years. Male to female ratio was 1.8. Thirtythree (71.1%) cases of scorpion stings came from rural areas. Twenty-six (57.8%) of the patients were stung by Androctonus crassicauda. The most common sting localization was the foot-leg (55.6%). The mean duration from the scorpion sting to hospital admission was 4.5+2.6 hours. The most common findings at presentation were cold extremities (95.5%), excessive sweating (91.1%) and tachycardia (77.7%). The mean leukocyte count, and serum levels of glucose, lactate dehydrogenase, creatine phosphokinase and international normalized ratio were found above the normal ranges. Prazosin was used in all patients, dopamine in 11 (24.4%) and Na-nitroprusside in 4 (8.8%) patients. Two children died (4.4%) due to pulmonary oedema. These children, in poor clinical status at hospital admission, needed mechanical ventilation, and death occurred despite use of antivenin and prazosin in both of them. Conclusion: The current management of children with severe scorpion envenomation consists of administration of specific antivenom and close surveillance in a PICU, where vital signs and continuous monitoring enable early initiation of therapy for life-threatening complications. The aggressive medical management directed at the organ system specifically can be effective. Our data indicated that when admission to hospital is late, the beneficial effect of antivenom and/or prazosin is questionable in severe scorpion stings.

Bosnak M, Levent Yilmaz H, Ece A, Yildizdas D, Yolbas I, Kocamaz H, et al. Severe scorpion envenomation in children: Management in pediatric intensive care unit. Hum Exp Toxicol. 2009 Oct 7. Doi:10.1177/096032710935066.

19 October, 2009

Consequences of scorpion stings in adults in Israel

Meir Antopolsky and co-workers have studied symptoms of scorpion stings in 113 adult patients in Israel. 25% of the patients were stung by black scorpions (Androctonus crassicauda or one of the black species which are less venomous) and 70% were stung by yellow scorpions (probably Leiurus quinquestriatus hebraeus according to the authors).

Interestingly, none of the patient developed serious, systemic symptoms (even though some potential dangerous species probably were involved). These results are consistent with similar studies from other parts of the Middle East. It is important to stress that scorpion sting in children or infants can be dangerous because of the larger amount of venom compared to body weight.

There are two limitations with this study: The patients included were from one hospital only (and from a limited geographic region). In addition, a precise identification of involved scorpions was not conducted. It is therefor possible that dangerous species like Leiurus and Androctonus were involved in a lesser degree than assumed by the authors.

Objective: To question the existing practice to observe the victims of scorpion sting in the emergency department at least for 6 h.Methods: Prospective study of all adult patients presenting to emergency department after scorpion sting during 3 years, and review of existing literature from Middle East countries.Conclusion: Serious toxicity after scorpion sting in Israel and some of neighboring countries is rare, and always presents within 1 h from the sting. Thus, prolonged observation can be reserved for a high-risk population and patients with serious toxicity on admission.

Antopolsky M, Salameh S, Stalnikowicz R. Need for emergency department observation after scorpion sting: prospective study and review of the literature in the Middle East. Eur J Emerg Med. 2009 Aug;16 (4):206-8. [Susbcription required for fulltext]

The reproductive biology of Heterometrus phipsoni

Zeeshan Mirza & Rajesh Sanap have studied the reproductive biology of the Indian scorpion Heterometrus phipsoni Pocock, 1893 (Scorpionidae) and a paper is now available describing mating and breeding of this species.

This paper will be of interest both to preofessionals studing scorpion behavior and to enthusiasts wanting to breed Heterometrus in captivity.

The present communication presents a detailed description of the breeding behavior of Heterometrus phipsoni exhibited under laboratory conditions. As also the studies include notes on gestation period, brood size and description of the post insemination spermatophore.

Mirza ZA, Sanap R. Notes on the reproductive biology of Heterometrus phipsoni Pocock, 1893 (Scorpiones: Scorpionidae). Journal of Threatened Taxa. 2009;1 (9):488-90. [Free fulltext]

Family Scorpionidae

15 October, 2009

Scorpion holliday in Crete (Greece)

I spent last week on holliday on the wonderful island of Crete (Greece). Even though this was a sun and relax holiday from the cold and dark Norwegian autumn, I naturally had to turn a stone or two to look for scorpions :))

You can find three species in Crete: Euscorpius carpathicus candiota (Euscorpiidae - the taxonomic status for the Crete population is not yet resolved, but it is possible that this taxa will get species status in the future), Mesobuthus gibbosus (Buthidae) and Iurus dufoureius dufoureius (Iuridae). I've previously found all three species on the island, but on this trip I only found Euscorpius carpathicus candiota in the western part of the island.

Here are a couple of pictures from the trip:

Scorpion Hunter jr. My seven old year son Morten has found his first Euscorpius on his own. Proud dad taking the picture! Foto: Jan Ove Rein, The Scorpion Files (C).

Close up of Euscorpius carpathicus candiota from Crete (Greece). Scorpions were commonly found under stones of different sizes, often clining to the underside of the stones. This scorpion shared the stone with a milipede. Foto: Jan Ove Rein, The Scorpion Files (C).

A typical Euscorpius habitat in western Crete (somewhat humid with shaddows from large trees). Euscorpius can also be found some places on the walls of stone buldings and fences. Foto: Jan Ove Rein, The Scorpion Files (C).

Crete has great weather, a wonderful people and a beatiful nature (with interesting scorpions), and I reccomend going there on holliday!

14 October, 2009

The Scorpion Files on Twitter

Hi all!

Scorpion Files news will now also be published on Twitter:


Use the link above and click "Follow" to be able to join The Scorpion Files on Twitter.

I've also included a live feed from The Scorpion Files' Twitter account presenting news on the main menu of The Scorpion Files' webpage. In this way users of the webpage will be able to know about the news published in The Scorpion Files Newsblog.

Best wishes

Jan Ove Rein
Editor of The Scorpion Files

12 October, 2009

A new Leiurus species from Turkey

Ersen Yagmur, Halil Koc and Kadir Kunt have investigated the Leiurus fauna of Southeastern Turkey and concluded that these populations belong to a new species:

Leiurus abdullahbayrami Yagmur, Koc & Kunt, 2009 (Buthidae)

Leiurus abdullahbayrami sp. nov. is described from Southeastern Turkey and compared with other species of the genus, in particular with L. quinquestriatus, which was previously misidentified from Turkey. The new species is readily distinguished from other members of the genus by pedipalp chela and metasomal segments that are distinctly shorter than in L. quinquestriatus; metasomal segment V has large and rounded lobes; trichobothrium db on the fixed finger of pedipalp is located between trichobothria est and esb (in L. quinquestriatus it is located between et and est). All known Turkish populations of Leiurus were examined and found to represent the new species.

Yagmur EA, Koc H, Kunt KB. Description of a new species of Leiurus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Southeastern Turkey. Euscorpius. 2009; (85):1-20. [Free fulltext]

Family Buthidae

01 October, 2009

The scorpion Files has a new adress!!!!

Hi all!

The Scorpion Files has moved to a new server. The new address for The Scorpion Files is now


The old url's will still work and you will automatically be forwarded to the new domaine, but please change your bookmarks in case this forwarding is terminated in the future.

Please let me know if you have any problems!

Best wishes

Jan Ove Rein
Editor of The Scorpion Files

A new species of Lychas

Wilson Lourenco has investigated scorpions collected in the island of Espiritu Santo (Vanuatu). Two species were found, Liocheles australasiae (Fabricius, 1775) and a new species of Lychas:

Lychas santoensis Lourenco, 2009 (Buthidae)

Two species of scorpions were collected during the SANTO 2006 Expedition: Liocheles australasiae (Fabricius, 1775), family Liochelidae Fet & Bechly, 2001 and, Lychas santoensis n. sp., family Buthidae C. L. Koch, 1837. Th e new species is characterized by: moderate to small size for the genus (from 29 to 31 mm in total length); general colouration reddish-yellow to reddish-brown with intense blackish variegated pigmentation throughout body and appendages; pectines with 10 to 12 teeth; fulcra absent or inconspicuous; telson moderately elongated; aculeus moderately curved; subaculear tooth moderate and, between rhomboid and spinoid in shape; granules on the ventral surface inconspicuous; tibial spurs present on legs III and IV; pedipalp fi xed and movable fi ngers with 6-7 (6) rows of granules, and with one very inconspicuous external accessory granule next to the most basal row of granules.

Lourenco WR. Scorpions collected in the island of Espiritu Santo (Vanuatu) and description of a new species of Lychas C. L. Koch (Arachnida, Scorpiones, Buthidae). Zoosystema. 2009;31: 731-40.

Family Buthidae