Deathstalker Scorpion

The deathstalker is a scorpion belonging to the largest scorpion family, also known as the Naqab desert scorpion, Omdurman scorpion, and Palestine yellow scorpion. It is considered to be the world’s deadliest scorpion and also one of the rarest.

Scientific Classification

L. quinquestriatus

Table Of Content

Scientific Classification

L. quinquestriatus

This scorpion had a subspecies, L. q. hebraeus, commonly known as the Hebrew Deathstalker. In 2014, it was separated and was listed as a different species. This species is usually referred to by its binomial name to avoid confusion since other species of this genus are also sometimes called “deathstalkers”. The term Leiurus quinquestriatus translates to “five-striped smooth-tail”.

Deathstalker Scorpion


Size: Length: 3-4 inches (80-110mm)

Weight: 0.03-0.09oz(1.0-2.5g)

Body and Coloration: The deathstalker scorpion has a light yellow body with horizontal grayish-brown stripes on the cephalothorax and abdomen. They have one pair of eyes on the top of their heads and 2-5 pairs on the frontal corners on both sides.

A dark vertical line extends from the head to the beginning of the tail. Their carapace and tail are freckled with dark brown spots. And the stinger is usually black.

One of the cuticle layers contains a certain type of molecule that absorbs wavelengths of UV light that makes them glow in the dark.

Range and Distribution

Deathstalkers are found mainly in North Africa and the Middle East. Their distribution extends through Algeria, the Arabian Desert, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Oman, Somalia, Sudan, Turkey, Yemen, and the territories of the Sahara desert. They can also be seen in parts of Central Asia, including Kazakhstan as well as the Thar Desert in northwestern India.

Deathstalker Scorpion Range
Deathstalker Scorpion Habitat


They typically prefer deserts and semi-deserts that do not have sand dune systems, mesic habitats, and dry scrubland regions. However, they tend to seek out humid areas from time to time.

Their desert habitats have harsh climates, with temperatures reaching up to 43.5°C approximately.


Like every other scorpion, deathstalkers usually consume centipedes, earthworms, spiders, crickets, and other scorpions. They are even known to eat other deathstalkers as well. These scorpions are rarely known to drink water; mostly, they absorb fluids from their prey’s bodies.


  • The deathstalker scorpions are nocturnal creatures. Being active at night helps them to avoid the excruciating heat of the sun. 
  • During the daytime, they hide from the sun taking shelter under the rocks and in caves. They usually burrow under rocks roughly up to 20 cm. But sometimes, they may shelter in abandoned burrows of other creatures.
  • While fighting off their enemies, these scorpions use both their pincers and sting.
  • They are highly aggressive.
  • These scorpions are known never to leave their territories.


Little is known about the longevity of this creature. However, its close relatives live up to 4-25 years.


  • Compared to other scorpions, the deathstalkers have thin legs and pincers. These slender legs help the scorpion move along the desert floor with much agility. This allows them to move faster than most other creatures around them.
  • Their strong exoskeleton prevents them from being left vulnerable to predators.
  • Because of having poor eyesight, the deathstalker relies on their sense of touch to detect their prey and enemies.
  • They have the ability to slow down their metabolism, which helps them to survive on a small amount of food as well as on little oxygen. Despite having their metabolism lowered, they can move with the usual agility. 
  • The deathstalkers lose fluids through evaporation in their lungs. Although, due to having high resistance to gas exchange, they can suppress this process.
Deathstalker Scorpion Sting
Palestine Yellow Scorpion


The deathstalker’s venom is extremely potent, with an LD50 value of 0.25 mg/kg. It contains neurotoxins like Charybdotoxin, Chlorotoxin, Scyllatoxin, and all three types of Agitoxins.

The sting from this scorpion is immensely painful. However, a healthy adult would not die from it. Still, they will experience swelling, headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. Their sting could be fatal to heart patients, children, and the elderly.

Mating and Reproduction

Like every other scorpion species, deathstalker males perform the “promenade à deux”, a courtship ritual where they hold the females by their pincers and lead them into a dance-like walk. The females choose their partner at the end of the “promenade à deux”.

The average gestating period is around 185 days, but sometimes it spans between 122-277 days. The number of offspring ranges from 35-87 scorpions.

These scorpions are viviparous. That means the females incubate the eggs inside their bodies. The scorplings are born relatively large. The newborn scorpions look exactly like the adults, only smaller in size.

Deathstalker Scorpion Picture


Despite being one of the deadliest creatures, the deathstalker scorpions have their fair share of predators. Centipedes, desert long-eared bats, owls, and other scorpions are known to hunt them.

Conservation Status

The IUCN has not evaluated the deathstalker scorpion.

Interesting Facts

  • Deathstalker’s venom is one of the most expensive fluids in the world. It has a high price because it contains valuable molecules and is produced in tiny amounts.
  • Researchers found that a component, “the peptide chlorotoxin” in the deathstalker’s venom, could have the potential to cure brain tumors in humans.

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