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Malaysian Forest Scorpion Fact File

Appearance

The Malaysian forest scorpion like most scorpions has a body with two large pincers next to the head and a tail at its end equipped with a stinger. They have eight legs in total as they are part of the arachnid family. Across their body they are colored black.


In the center of the head are two eyes and then another two to five eyes sit in the margin on either side.


Males typically have larger tails and broader pincers than the females.

Diet

Malaysian forest scorpions are carnivores. They feed on a range of invertebrates.


When food is scarce the Malaysian forest scorpion is able to survive for a whole year by eating just a single insect. They do this by slowing down their metabolism.

Malaysian forest scorpion

Scientific Name

Heterometrus spinifer

Conservation Status

Not Evaluated

Lifespan

7-8 years

Diet

Carnivorous

Range

The Malaysian forest scorpion is found in Southeast Asia. Their range includes Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Habitat

They make their home in tropical forests. During the day they will form a burrow in which they can hide. This may be dug in the ground or under a log. They emerge at night to walk along the forest floor.

Malaysian forest scorpion

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Reproduction

Males will grab the female by her pincers and move her around. He positions a spermatophore on the ground before moving the female on top of it. She will then pick this up in to her genital opening.


Following mating the female and male separate. Their gestation period is highly variable and may be determined by temperature, food availability and stress.


She gives birth to live young unlike most insects. These are carried on her back until they have completed their first moult (shedding their skin).


They will grow by moulting their skin regularly throughout their life.


In the wild sexual maturity is reached at 4 years old while in captivity this may be reached as early as 1 year old.

Behavior

These animals are active at night. During the day they seek shelter in a burrow.

Malaysian forest scorpion

Predators and Threats

Malaysian forest scorpions are among the most common species of scorpion in the pet trade. As such they are collected in large numbers from the wild.

Quick facts

If exposed to ultraviolet light the Malaysian forest scorpion will glow a greenish blue color. In the wild this may be caused by moonlight. Scientists are yet to agree on why scorpions have this ability.


Scorpion venom is being studied for potential uses in medical care. One potential use is to help identify the location of cancer cells in the brain.


These animals are a popular pet. This is due to the relatively low risk and large size. They are still dangerous to humans and you should take care around them. One potential threat is anaphylactic shock.


They have a range of alternative names including the giant forest scorpion, giant blue scorpion and Asian forest scorpion.


Due to similarities in their appearance this species is often confused with the Emperor scorpion.

Malaysian forest scorpion
Malaysian forest scorpion

Comparison between a Malaysian forest scorpion under normal light on the left and UV light on the right

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Photo Credits

Top

By Хомелка – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54515697


Middle One

By Hectonichus – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30276359


Bottom and Light Comparison

By Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40735458

References

Martin, R., Bryan, K., Cooper, D. and Bond, S., n.d. The Animal Book. Lonely Planet.


Biolib.cz. 2020. Heterometrus Spinifer | Biolib.Cz. [online] Available at: <https://www.biolib.cz/en/taxon/id132347/> [Accessed 20 November 2020].


Gurley, R. and Brough, C., 2020. Malaysian Forest Scorpion. [online] Animal World. Available at: <https://animal-world.com/encyclo/reptiles/scorpions/AsianForestScorpion.php#Habitat:%20Distribution/Background> [Accessed 20 November 2020].


Animal Wiki. 2020. Malaysian Forest Scorpion. [online] Available at: <https://willdlife.fandom.com/wiki/Malaysian_Forest_Scorpion> [Accessed 20 November 2020].


Happy Hollow Park & Zoo. 2020. Giant Forest Scorpion. [online] Available at: <http://happyhollow.org/explore/zoo/education-ambassador/giant-forest-scorpion/> [Accessed 20 November 2020].


Thejunglezoo.co.uk. 2020. [online] Available at: <https://www.thejunglezoo.co.uk/asianforestscorpion> [Accessed 20 November 2020].

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