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Flinders Ranges Scorpion Fact File

Urodacus elongatus

Credit: Jackson Nugent, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Weight

Insufficient

Data

Length

12cm

(4.7in)

Lifespan

Wild 10 years

Captive 10 years

Diet

Carnivore

Insects

Conservation Status

IUCN

Least Concern

The Flinders Ranges scorpion is found solely in the Flinders Ranges region of Australia where they spend their time burrowed under rocks.

They are carnivores which will sit and wait for invertebrates to come to them.

During mating the male will take hold of the female. He will sting her which helps to subdue her and work to prevent him from being eaten during the mating attempt.

These animals are increasingly threatened due to tourist activity in their habitat and collection to supply the pet trade.

Read on to learn more about these incredible invertebrates.

Appearance

What does the Flinders Ranges scorpion look like?

The Flinders Ranges scorpion is among the largest of Australia's scorpion species. Adult males reach a total length of 12cm (4.7in) long making them larger than the females at 10cm (3.9in) long.

Across their body the Flinders Ranges Scorpion has a uniform brown coloration.

Protruding from the end of the body is a stinger which extends up and curves back over the body.

On either side of the body are four legs for a total of eight. At the front of the body are two claws which are used for holding on to prey.

Diet

What does the Flinders Ranges scorpion eat?


These animals are carnivores which will feed on small invertebrates.

The Flinders Ranges scorpion has a slow metabolism which means they may only eat up to once per month.

As a sit and wait predator they will sit at the entrance to their burrow and wait for food to come to then. This is then seized using the large claws at the front of their body.

Range

Where can you find the Flinders Ranges scorpion?

Habitat

What kind of environment does the Flinders Ranges scorpion live in?

The Flinders Ranges are an arid area in inland South Australia.

These invertebrates spend much of their time hidden in a burrow which is dug under a rock. It is most common for this to be on a low slope.

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Reproduction

How does the Flinders Ranges scorpion produce its young?

During the mating ritual the male will give the female small stings to help subdue her. Otherwise females are aggressive and will not hesitate to kill their mate.

During mating the male will hold the female. He then deposits a spermatophore which he will position her over and this then is used by the female to fertilize her young.

Mating occurs in spring. The gestation takes 18 months with young not being born till Autumn of the following year.

Up to 40 young may be produced by the female. These are carried on the back of the female initially. At birth the young are translucent and colored white.

Young undergo their first moult of their exoskeleton at 4 weeks old. Several more will follow as they grow.

Behavior

What does the Flinders Ranges scorpion do with its day?

These animals spend most of their day inactive in the burrow.

During summer these animals will seal off the entrance of their burrow. This helps to prevent water loss and overheating.

Flinders Ranges scorpions are most active at night when males will emerge and seek out a female they can mate with.

They are highly territorial and are not tolerant of any other scorpions within their habitat.

Flinders Ranges Scorpion

Credit: Jackson Nugent, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Predators and Threats

What is impacting the survival of the Flinders Ranges scorpion?

Individuals are cannibalistic and will feed on smaller scorpions they come across.

The survival of this species is being affected by the presence of tourists in their habitat with their suitable habitat being some of the worst affected.

They are among the most popular species within the pet trade in Australia and they are collected from the wild to supply this trade.

Quick facts

When exposed to ultraviolet light the exoskeleton of the Flinders Ranges scorpion will fluroesce bright green. This can be used to detect them in the wild.

These animals were first described for western science by L.E. Koch in 1977.

Their scientific name, elongatus, comes from the elongated tail seen in males.

References

2021. Flinders Ranges scorpion. Clare: Government of South Australia, pp.1-2.

Thedailylink.com. 2021. the Spiral Burrow – Australian Scorpions. [online] Available at: <http://www.thedailylink.com/thespiralburrow/new/spec/uelong/index.html> [Accessed 27 October 2021].

Newton, M., 2021. The Mating Ritual of Urodacus elongatus. [online] Wildsouthaustralia.info. Available at: <https://www.wildsouthaustralia.info/Scorpions/The-Mating-Ritual-of-Urodacus-> [Accessed 27 October 2021].

iNaturalist.ca. 2021. Urodacus elongatus. [online] Available at: <https://inaturalist.ca/taxa/546340-Urodacus-elongatus> [Accessed 27 October 2021].

THE INSECTORY. 2021. Flinders Ranges scorpion — THE INSECTORY. [online] Available at: <https://theinsectory.com.au/shop/flinders-ranges-scorpion/> [Accessed 27 October 2021].

Aquabird Toowoomba. 2021. Flinders Ranges Scorpion (Urodacus elongatus). [online] Available at: <https://www.aquabirdpetcentre.com.au/blogs/news/flinders-ranges-scorpion-urodacus-elongatus> [Accessed 27 October 2021].

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