Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Scorpions in Morocco - Update

Androctonus mauritanicus (Pocock, 1902)

Scorpion's are not everyone's favourite pets and certainly not on the invitation list for an outdoor picnic. They are a subject of great interest to scientists and yet the Moroccan scorpion population and distribution has not been the subject of intensive research until now. So it was with some excitement that we (who find scorpions fascinating) discovered that research has been recently completed in the Sidi Ifni province in Morocco.

 Androctonus mauritanicus
 Butheoloides littorali
 Buthus elmoutaouakili
 Hottentota gentili
Scorpio mogadorensis

Researchers, Oulaid Touloun (who took the photographs above) and Ali Boumezzough, have studied the scorpion fauna of the province of Sidi Ifni and have reported on five species, all native to Morocco.

What is even more interesting is the discovery in 2011 of the Butheoloides (Butheoloides) littoralis by Lourenço, Touloun and Boumezzough.

Here is a short abstract from their paper on the subject:  

Our investigations in the Sidi Ifni province has allowed to us to inventory five species of scorpions, all of them endemic from Morocco. The family Buthidae is represented by four species Androctonus mauritanicus (Pocock, 1902), Butheoloides (Butheoloides) littoralis Lourenço, Touloun & Boumezzough, 2011, Buthus elmoutaouakili Lourenço & Qi, 2006,Hottentota gentili (Pallary, 1924), that of Scorpionidae is represented by a single species Scorpio mogadorensis (Birula, 1910). This work has also helped to complete the distribution areas of some of these species.

The full text of this interesting paper by Touloun and Boumezzough is available free as a PDF download here:

Morocco counts more than 30 kinds of (in layman's terms) yellow and black scorpions. And, a word of warning, the black ones are deadly.

How deadly?  Well according to some rather dated figures from CAPM (Centre Antipoison et de Pharmacologie du Maroc), 91 people died in 2006 due to scorpion stings, compared to 98 in 2005 and 93 in 2004. Scorpion stings are also the primary cause of 50 to 60 % of intoxication cases documented in Morocco, said Ghizlane El Oufir a doctor with CAPM . He was speaking at an awareness-raising day to control scorpion stings on Argan tree farms.

Children under 15 make up 95 % of deaths, she explained, noting that four out of 1,000 die of scorpion stings. Scorpion stings are a grave and recurrent problem, especially in the province of Essaouira, where they represent 4.6% of all scorpion-related incidents reported in Morocco. Scorpions claimed the lives of 528 people between 2001 and 2006.

 A brave photo of Hottentota gentili taken in the lower Draa Valley by Michel Aymerich 
For those interested to dig deeper, we recomend you take a look at the website Geres



Unknown said...

in any exotic pet group in moroco .. or a kepper??

Unknown said...

is there ang group of exotic hobbyist in morocco ?