Emperor Scorpion

Emperor Scorpion - Pandinus imperator

Photo © Andrew Clark 2013

Pandinus imperator

Description: a large, essentially harmless scorpion with broad claws. Commonly about 20cm/ 7.9 inches in length. About 20 species of emperor scorpion are known. They are distinguished from one another by details of color; hair size and arrangement, spine and ridge patterns, and claw shape and structure.

Range: known from the rain forest belt of West Africa, from coastal Sierra Leone to the eastern border of Nigeria. May occur elsewhere, but replaced in many regions by other Pandinus species.

Habitat: a burrower in savanna and forest. In Nigeria, recorded as diurnal in lowland rainforest. Groups as large as 15 have been observed under cover objects in the wild.

Diet:
Wild: probably diverse invertebrates and small vertebrates, but millipedes and beetles have been recorded as primary prey.
Zoo: domestic crickets.

Reproduction: all scorpions are live-bearing, and provide maternal care for the early stages of their young. Emperors have a gestation which may vary from 7 to 14 months, birthing 10-30 young which mature in about 4 years.

Fun fact: scorpions, and to a lesser degree their relatives the solfugids, flouresce green under some wavelengths of ultraviolet light. Because their eyes are sensitive to these greens, it’s suspected that this allows their entire body to act as a sort of giant eye to detect predators and cover objects in the dark. Even in the dark of night, ultraviolet light is abundant.