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Deathstalker scorpion venom
The scorpion is an African rainforest species,but also present in savanna. It is found in a number of African countries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Togo, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Cameroon.
A component of the deathstalker’s venom, the peptide chlorotoxin, has shown potential for treating human brain tumors. There has also been some evidence to show that other components of the venom may aid in the regulation of insulin and could be used to treat diabetes.
In 2015 clinical trials were beginning of the use of chlorotoxin with a fluorescent molecule attached as brain tumour “paint” (BLZ-100), to mark cancerous cells in real time during an operation. This is important in brain cancer surgery, where it is vital both to remove as many cancerous cells as possible, but not to remove healthy tissue necessary for brain functioning. In preclinical animal trials the technique could highlight extremely small clusters of as few as 200 cancer cells, compared to the standard use of MRI, with a lower limit in excess of 500,000.
Deathstalker Scorpion – Leiurus quinquestriatus
We are about to enter the life of one of the most feared members of the Buthidae family, characterized by grouping scorpions very dangerous to humans. This arachnid is also called Palestinian yellow scorpion, and in English, it receives several names, but the best-known is Deathstalker.
Thanks to its name we know that it is yellow, but apart from that we can observe that the areas of its cephalothorax and abdomen contain evident horizontal stripes in gray color, interspersed with others orange-yellow. In the middle of this region, we can see a dark vertical line that extends from the head to the beginning of the tail.
The tail has a dark part that contrasts with the yellow color of the rest of the body. This section is found just before the telson and is a way of identifying them, although it is not entirely reliable since other species also has this characteristic and cause confusion. However, it is a warning signal.
They have a length ranging from 1.1 to 3.0 inches with an average of 2.2 inches and a maximum weight of 2.5 grams. Two eyes are visible on the top of the head, while the other pairs are along both frontal sides of the head.
Their poison cause cardiovascular and respiratory dysfunction.
Distribution and habitat
Its range of distribution includes North Africa and the Middle East. In Africa, they inhabit in Libya, Mali, Somalia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, Chad, Algeria, Niger, and Tunisia. In Asia, they live in Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Turkey, among others.
Its habitat includes a diversity of terrains in arid and semi-arid zones with very high temperatures. They use burrows abandoned by other animals and spaces under debris, but they also dare to get inside homes.
They feed on insects, some types of spiders, earthworms, centipedes and also other scorpions, even of the same species. They are nocturnal, so hunting is carried out in the dark.
Their success is due to their capability to detect vibrations with their sensory hairs distributed all over their legs. They wait under stones, woods or other materials that allow them to conceal and ambush the victim.