emperor scorpion

pandinus imperator

Common name

emperor scorpion


Tropical forests. They usually live in tunnels in colonies of about 15 individuals.









Number of offspring




Insects and other arthropods, and sometimes small vertebrates. It generally feeds on termites.


5-8 years in captivity, much less in the wild.

Biology and behavior

It is the largest species of scorpion in the world (it reaches up to 20 cm). It is also usually one of the heaviest, and a pregnant female can weigh around 28g.

It is shiny black with two large pedipalps (pincers) in the front, 4 legs and a long tail (telson) ending in a stinger. They have structures, called pectins, behind their hind legs to sense the terrain where they go. Females are usually larger than males.

Its venom is mild and is used for defense. They normally use their pincers to kill their victims. Juveniles usually use their stinger.

They have an elaborate mating ritual in which the male grabs the female by the pincers and they do a circular dance to guide the female so she can receive the sperm. Mating usually ends with the death of the male, who is eaten by the female. After 9 months the female gives birth to 10 to 12 white juveniles but similar to the adults, since the development of the egg is intrauterine or in specialized diverticula.

The little ones are defenseless and need the protection of the mother who usually carries them on her back until they can fend for themselves. Females are more aggressive after the birth of their young. They undergo numerous molts until they reach adults.

They are nocturnal and despite their fearsome appearance they are shy. Its predators are birds, bats, spiders and some mammals. The bites are painful but not fatal. They are normally used as pets.

Although it is not threatened, its traffic is limited so as not to put it in danger.


Like other scorpions it glows a bright green color under ultraviolet light. Its venom is full of interesting peptides, one of them, scorpin, is used as an anti-malarial medication and has antibacterial properties. They are used in movies for their impressive appearance.

African savanna
Equatorial jungle
Madagascar Island