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Natural toxins
Scorpions of Egypt

Prepared by:

Dr. Alaa A. Salam

Faculty of Science, Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Egypt

Scorpions are distributed throughout the tropical and subtropical belts of the world in habitats ranging from dry deserts to the mountains. All species of scorpion (1200 species) are poisonous for insects, however, only few species (20 species) are known to have venom potent enough to endanger humans. Almost all poisonous scorpions belong to family Buthidae. Leiurus quinquestriatus is the most common and dangerous species in North Africa and the Middel East. It can be found in almost every district in Egypt. Other Egyptian members of family Buthidae are Leiurus quinquestriatus, Androctonus australis, Androctonus crassicauda, and Androctonus amooreuxi. Scorpion venom is formed by a pair of glands in the last segment of the tail “telson”. Each gland has its own opening to outside, lie along the aculeus, which is a tapering curved end of the telson. The venom sacs are controlled voluntarily so the scorpion can regulate how much venom is injected with each sting. Scorpions are very resistant against their own venom. Scorpion venom is a complex mixture composed of a wide array of substances mainly proteins. The venom from a single scorpion may include several neurotoxins, histamine, seratonin, enzymes, enzyme inhibitors, and other unidentified compounds. It may also contain mucous, various salts, peptides, nucleotides and amino acids.


On behalf of the Egyptian Society of Natural Toxins we invite all interested colleagues from different parts of the world to join us and enrich our activities seeking for improvement of performance and providing help to the humanity. We are concerned with the toxic living organisms as well as the danger and the benefits of their toxins.