Mesobuthus eupeus

Mesobuthus eupeus
Mesobuthus eupeus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Scorpiones
Family: Buthidae
Genus: Mesobuthus
Species: M. eupeus
Binomial name
Mesobuthus eupeus
(Koch, 1839)
Synonyms [1][2]
  • Buthus eupeus Koch, 1839

Mesobuthus eupeus is a polymorphic scorpion species belonging to the well-known family Buthidae. Commonly known as the lesser Asian scorpion or the mottled scorpion. It is thought to be the most widely dispersed species of the Mesobuthus genusperhaps even of the family Buthidae.[1][2][3]



M. eupeus can reach a size of 4 to 5 centimetres (1.6 to 2.0 in) in length. The entire body is yellow to yellowish brown. The dorsal segments (tergites) of the mesosoma often have longitudinal irregular stripes that are black to dark brown.[3] They exhibit sexual dimorphism, the adult females being generally larger than males but have a lower number of pectinal teeth (16 to 23, as opposed to 22 to 28 in males).[4]

The pedipalps of M. eupeus have a maximum of ten diagonal rows of granules on the fixed finger and eleven on the movable finger. The pedipalp chelae (pincers) are wider than the patella (segment IV). The segments of the metasoma are thick and have eight keels (octocarinate). The telson is subglobose with a flat dorsal surface.[4]


M. eupeus were first described by the German arachnologist Carl Ludwig Koch in 1839. It is classified under the genus Mesobuthus and belongs to the largest family of scorpions, the thick-tailed scorpion family Buthidae.[3] Currently, more than 23 subspecies of M. eupeus are recognized.[5]


M. eupeus feed on small insects such as crickets or small cockroaches.[6] Cannibalism is very rare in this species. They do not dig burrows and prefer using natural spaces and burrows under stones and other objects. They have slender pedipalps so they usually rely on their stings for killing their prey.[7]


The venom of M. eupeus is not as potent as that of other dangerous buthid species.[8] Victims of stings feel intense pain, hyperemia, swelling and a burning sensation in the affected area, while numbness and itching were also reported in some cases.[9]

As in other scorpions, the venom of M. eupeus contains various neurotoxic proteins that interact specifically with ion channels. A number of unique proteins in this scorpion's venom have been identified,[10] cloned and investigated for clinical applications. For instance, MeuKTX, structurally related to BmKTX (α-KTx3.6) from M. martensii, potently inhibits rKv1.1, rKv1.2 and hKv1.3 channels but does not affect rKv1.4, rKv1.5, hKv3.1, rKv4.3, and hERG channels even at high concentrations.[11] In contrast, BeKm-1 specifically inhibits hERG channels,[12] which are potassium channels critical to maintaining normal electrical activities in the heart,[13] but showed no effects on various other potassium channels tested.[12] Inhibitors of sodium channels have also been found in this venom.[14][15]

A number of antimicrobial peptides have also been found in the venom of M. eupeus. Meucin-13 and Meucin-18 exhibited extensive cytolytic effects on bacteria, fungi and yeasts.[16] Furthermore, Meucin-24 and Meucin-25, first identified from genetic sequences expressed in their venom gland, were shown to selectively kill Plasmodium falciparum and inhibit the development of Plasmodium berghei, both malaria parasites, but do not harm mammalian cells. These two venom-derived proteins are therefore attractive candidates for the development of anti-malarial drugs.[17]

Iranian researchers have also reported that the venom of M. eupeus has anti-inflammatory properties and is effective as an anti-arthritis treatment in an experimental rat model, but the mechanism of action is unknown.[8]

Habitat and distribution

Mesobuthus eupeus mostly lives in arid or semi-arid habitats with little or no vegetation. Its geographical distributions consists of eastern Turkey,[4] Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, southern Russia, northern Syria, eastern Iraq, Iran,[18] Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, southern Mongolia and northern China.

See also


  1. ^ a b Mesobuthus eupeus at National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) website.
  2. ^ a b Mesobuthus eupeus (Lesser Asian scorpion) (Buthus eupeus), UniProt Taxonomy database
  3. ^ a b c Cheng-Min Shi, Zu-Shi Huang, Lei Wang, Li-Jun He, Yue-Ping Hua, Liang Leng & De-Xing Zhang (2007). "Geographical distribution of two species of Mesobuthus (Scorpiones, Buthidae) in China: insights from systematic field surveys and predictive models" (PDF). Journal of Arachnology 35 (2): 215–226. doi:10.1636/T06-20.1. JSTOR 25067833. 
  4. ^ a b c Ayşegül Karataş & Ahmet Karataş (2003). "Mesobuthus eupeus (C.L. Koch, 1839) (Scorpiones: Buthidae) in Turkey" (PDF). Euscorpius — Occasional Publications in Scorpiology 7: 1–6. 
  5. ^ Teruel, Rolando (2002). "First Record of Mesobuthus eupeus (Kock, 1939) from Western Turkey (Scorpiones: Buthidae)". Revista Ibérica de Aracnología (Grupo Ibérico de Aracnología) 5 (31-VII): 75–76. ISSN - 9518 1576 - 9518. 
  6. ^ "Mesobuthus eupeus feeding". Youtube. 28 June 2006. 
  7. ^ Dong Sun & Zhen-Ning Sun (2011). "Notes on the genus Mesobuthus (Scorpiones: Buthidae) in China, with description of a new species". Journal of Arachnology 39 (1): 59–75. doi:10.1636/Ha10-36.1. 
  8. ^ a b M. Ahmadi, A. Zare Mirakabadi, M. Hashemlou & M. Hejazi (2009). "Study on anti inflammatory effect of scorpion (Mesobuthus eupeus) venom in adjuvant-induced arthritis in rats" (PDF). Archives of Razi Institute 64 (1): 51–56. 
  9. ^ Ozkan, O.; Kat, I. (2005-Oct-30). "Mesobuthus eupeus scorpionism in Sanliurfa region of Turkey". J. Venom. Anim. Toxins incl. Trop. Dis 11 (4): 479–491. doi:10.1590/S1678-91992005000400008. ISSN 1678-9199. Retrieved 2011-Sept-20. 
  10. ^ "Results for organism:"Buthus eupeus (Lesser Asian scorpion) (Mesobuthus eupeus) [34648]" in UniProtKB". UniProtKB. UniProt Consortium. Retrieved 2011-Sept-18. 
  11. ^ Gao, B; Peigneur, S; Tytgat, J; Zhu, S (2010). "A potent potassium channel blocker from Mesobuthus eupeus scorpion venom". Biochimie 92 (12): 1847–53. doi:10.1016/j.biochi.2010.08.003. PMID 20713119 
  12. ^ a b Korolkova, YV; Kozlov, SA; Lipkin, AV; Pluzhnikov, KA; Hadley, JK; Filippov, AK; Brown, DA; Angelo, K et al. (2001). "An ERG channel inhibitor from the scorpion Buthus eupeus". The Journal of biological chemistry 276 (13): 9868–76. doi:10.1074/jbc.M005973200. PMID 11136720. 
  13. ^ Sanguinetti MC, Tristani-Firouzi M (March 2006). "hERG potassium channels and cardiac arrhythmia". Nature 440 (7083): 463–9. doi:10.1038/nature04710. PMID 16554806. 
  14. ^ Gao, B; Zhu, L; Zhu, S (2011). "A naturally-occurring carboxyl-terminally truncated α-scorpion toxin is a blocker of sodium channels". Biochemical and biophysical research communications 411 (4): 673–8. doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2011.06.178. PMID 21763288. 
  15. ^ Possani, LD; Becerril, B; Delepierre, M; Tytgat, J (1999). "Scorpion toxins specific for Na+-channels". European journal of biochemistry / FEBS 264 (2): 287–300. doi:10.1046/j.1432-1327.1999.00625.x. PMID 10491073. 
  16. ^ , PMID 19088182 
  17. ^ Gao, B; Xu, J; Rodriguez Mdel, C; Lanz-Mendoza, H; Hernández-Rivas, R; Du, W; Zhu, S (2010). "Characterization of two linear cationic antimalarial peptides in the scorpion Mesobuthus eupeus". Biochimie 92 (4): 350–9. doi:10.1016/j.biochi.2010.01.011. PMID 20097251. 
  18. ^ Omid Mirshamsi, Alireza Sari, Elahe Elahi & Shidokht Hosseinie (2011). "Mesobuthus eupeus (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Iran: a polytypic species complex" (PDF). Zootaxa 2929: 1–21. 

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