Leiurus quinquestriatus (Ehrenberg, 1828)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Chelicerata
Order: Scorpiones
Family: Buthidae
Genus: Leiurus
Ehrenberg, 1828
Type species
Androctonus (Leiurus) quinquestriatus
Ehrenberg, 1828
About 5 species

Leiurus is a genus of scorpion belonging to the family Buthidae. The most common species, L. quinquestriatus, is also known under the vernacular name Deathstalker. It is distributed widely across North Africa and the Middle East, including the western and southern Arabian Peninsula and southeastern Turkey. At least one species occurs in West Africa (northern Cameroon).


The genus was introduced in 1828 by C.G. Ehrenberg (in Hemprich & Ehrenberg 1828),[1] originally as a subgenus of the genus Androctonus. It was finally elevated to genus rank by M. Vachon in 1949.[2] The genus was long considered to be monotypic, containing a single species, L. quinquestriatus, but research since 2002 has shown that there are indeed several species.[3]


Currently five species are recognized within this genus,[4] but their validity is under discussion. F. Kovařík (2007) suspected that L. jordanensis and L. savanicola are possible synonyms of L. quinquestriatus.[5]

  • Leiurus abdullahbayrami Yagmur, Koc & Kunt, 2009
  • Leiurus jordanensis Lourenço, Modry & Amr, 2002
  • Leiurus nasheri Kovařík, 2007
  • Leiurus quinquestriatus (Ehrenberg, 1828) (type species)
  • Leiurus savanicola Lourenço, Qi & Cloudsley-Thompson, 2006

General characteristics

Members of Leiurus are generally moderately sized scorpions that show a typical buthid habitus with gracile pedipalp chelae and a slender metasoma. The vesicle is bulbous and proportionally large in some species. The cephalothorax and mesosoma shows distinct granulation. Characteristically the tergites of the mesosoma bear five distinct, longitudinal carinae (ridges). The base color is generally yellow with brown to blackish areas extending over various parts of the animal, depending on species.[6]


The venom of L. quinquestriatus is among the most potent scorpion toxins. It severely affects the cardiac and pulmonary systems. Human fatalities, often children, have been confirmed by clinical reports.[7] The median lethal dose of venom (LD50) for this species was measured at 0.16 - 0.50 mg/kgmice.[8]
The toxicity of the other species is also potentially high to life-threatening, but reliable data are currently not available.


Most species live in semi-arid to arid regions, including the Sahara and Arabian deserts. At least one species occurs in savannah environment. Sparsely vegetated and sandy or rocky substrates are preferred. The scorpions live in shallow burrows in sand or beneath rocks.

In captivity

Members of the genus Leiurus are often bred in captivity and traded. Due to their extreme toxicity, keeping these species is strictly recommendable to very experienced and/or professionally trained people.

External links

  • Images of Leiurus quinquestriatus. Exotics.nl


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.