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Buthidae: Wikis


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Mesobuthus martensi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Subclass: Dromopoda
Order: Scorpiones
Suborder: Neoscorpionina
Infraorder: Orthosterni
Parvorder: Buthida
Superfamily: Buthoidea
Family: Buthidae
C. L. Koch, 1837



Akentrobuthinae Lamoral, 1976
Ananterinae Pocock, 1900
Androctonides C.L.Koch, 1837
Babycurini Pocock, 1896
Buthides C.L.Koch, 1837
"Centruroidinae" Roewer, 1943 (nomen nudum)
Charminae Birula, 1917
Isometrini Kraepelin, 1891
Orthochirinae Birula, 1917
Rhopalurinae Bücherl, 1971 (non Stunkard 1937: preoccupied)
Rhopalurusinae Bücherl, 1969
Tityinae Kraepelin, 1905
Uroplectaria Pavlovsky, 1924

Buthidae is the largest family of scorpions, containing about 80 genera and over 800 species as of mid-2008. Its members are known as, for example, thick-tailed scorpions and bark scorpions. There are a few very large genera (like Ananteris, Centruroides, Compsobuthus or Tityus), but also a high number of species-poor or monotypic ones[2]. New taxa are being described at a rate of several to several dozen new species per year[2]. They occur in the warmer parts of every major landmass on Earth, except on New Zealand[2]. Together with the Microcharmidae, the Buthidae make up the superfamily Buthoidea. The family was established by Carl Ludwig Koch in 1837[2].

Some Buthidae are of medical importance, and the sting of a few can kill humans. If you are unaware of the exact species and not experienced in handling scorpions, it is better to keep a respectful distance. In dead specimens, the spine beneath the sting, characteristic for this family, can be observed.



Few Buthidae scorpions are among the larger scorpions; on average the members of this family are mid-sized tending towards smallish. Microtityus and Microbuthus barely reach 2 cm (0.8 in). The largest members are found among Androctonus (fattail scorpions), Apistobuthus, and Centruroides; and can reach a dozen cm (approximately 5 inches). Most of them have between two and five pars of eyes. Some resemble Vaejovidae. Chaerilidae and Chactidae have one pair of eyes at most, and the former show a yellowish spot between and to the rear of these.[2]

Their vernacular name refers to the thick tails found in many Buthidae, especially in the Old World. The pedipalps on the other hand tend to be weak, slender and tweezer-like. Members of Buthidae are generally rather cryptically colored, quite uniformly ochre to brown, but some are black or (like Centruroides and Uroplectes) more vividly colored. More conspicuous patterns and shapes occur e.g. in Isometrus or Lychas.[2]

Toxicity and relationship with humans

A handful of sometimes species-rich genera - fattail scorpions (Androctonus), Centruroides, Hottentotta[3], Leiurus, Parabuthus and Tityus - are notorious for their strong venom. Human fatalities have been recorded from less than two dozen species; identification of e.g. a particular Tityus is likely problematic and detailed data on the venom exists only for a small fraction of the Buthidae.[2]

Even though many Buthidae remain essentially unstudied, the sheer diversity has made some of them more well-known. Species of medical significance are studied more intensely, and some are available in the terrarium trade. Although the average thick-tailed scorpion is not hard to keep for somewhat experienced terrarists, any species from genera known or suspected to have highly venomous forms should only be kept by experts. Some are best avoided altogether; though e.g. fattail scorpions or the Deathstalker (Liurus quinquestriatus) may be quite readily available, several fatalities are recorded each year from their sting and keepers may be held responsible for negligent manslaughter.[2]

List of genera and species[2]

Arabian Fattail Scorpion, Androctonus crassicauda
Deathstalker, Leiurus quinquestriatus
Mesobuthus eupeus (center)
Odontobuthus doriae (right)
Left: Large-clawed Scorpion (Scorpio maurus, Scorpionidae)
  • Afghanobuthus Lourenco, 2005
  • Afroisometrus Kovarik, 1997
  • Akentrobuthus Lamoral, 1976
  • Alayotityus Armas, 1973
  • Ananteris
  • Androctonus – fattail scorpions
  • Anomalobuthus
  • Apistobuthus
  • Australobuthus
  • Babycurus
  • Baloorthochirus
  • Birulatus
  • Buthacus
  • Butheoloides
  • Butheolus
  • Buthiscus
  • Buthoscorpio (includes "Stenochirus" jinnahii and "S." rahmatii)
  • Buthus
  • Centruroides – typical bark scorpions
  • Charmus
  • Cicileus
  • Cicileiurus
  • Compsobuthus
  • Congobuthus
  • Darchenia
  • Egyptobuthus
  • Grosphus
  • Hemibuthus
  • Hemilychas
  • Himalayotityobuthus
  • Hoplocystis (a nomen dubium[1])
  • Hottentotta
  • Iranobuthus
  • Isometrus
  • Isometroides
  • Karasbergia
  • Kraepelinia
  • Lanzatus
  • Leiurus
  • Liobuthus
  • Lissothus
  • Lychas
  • Lychasoides
  • Mauritanobuthus
  • Mesobuthus (paraphyletic?)
  • Mesotityus
  • Microananteris
  • Microbuthus
  • Microtityus
  • Neobuthus
  • Neogrosphus
  • Odontobuthus
  • Odonturus
  • Orthochirus
  • Orthochiroides
  • Orthochirus (includes Paraorthochirus and Simonoides)
  • Parabuthus
  • Pectinibuthus
  • Physoctonus
  • Plesiobuthus
  • Polisius
  • Psammobuthus
  • Pseudolissothus
  • Pseudolychas
  • Pseudouroplectes
  • Razianus
  • Rhopalurus
  • Sabinebuthus
  • Sassanidothus
  • Somalibuthus
  • Somalicharmus
  • Thaicharmus
  • Tityobuthus
  • Tityopsis
  • Tityus
  • Troglorhopalurus
  • Troglotityobuthus
  • Uroplectes
  • Uroplectoides
  • Vachoniolus
  • Vachonus
  • Zabius


  1. ^ a b Teruel & Fet (2005)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Rein (2008)
  3. ^ May include some Mesobuthus, like the Indian Red Scorpion (M. tamalus)


  • Rein, Jan Ove (2008): The Scorpion Files - Buthidae. Retrieved 2008-JUN-25.
  • Teruel, Rolando & Fet, Victor (eds.) (2005): Snyopsis of the described scorpions of the world - Family Buthidae. Version of 3/7/2005. Retrieved 2008-JUN-25.


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Cladus: Ecdysozoa
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Classis: Arachnida
Ordo: Scorpiones
Subordo: Neoscorpionina
Superfamilia: Buthoidea
Familia: Buthidae
Genera: Ananteris - Androctonus - Anomalobuthus - Buthus - Centruroides - Cicileiurus - Compsobuthus - Hottentotta - Leiurus - Liobuthus - Mesobuthus - Microtityus - Odontobuthus - Pantobuthus - Pectinibuthus - Plesiobuthus - Polisius - Psammobuthus - Rhopalurus - Saharobuthus - Sassanidotus - Tityus - Vachoniolus




  • Lourenço, W.R.; Duhem, B. 2009: Saharo-Sindian buthid scorpions; description of two new genera and species from Occidental Sahara and Afghanistan. ZooKeys, 14: 37-54. Abstract PDF


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