The striking Hottentotta franzwerneri by Wally Suarez
Humans have always been fascinated by the creatures they share the world with, and those that are potentially lethal to their existence are no exception. For instance, venomous scorpions remain rather captivating among enthusiasts, in both its appearance and its potential to cause severe pain, if not death.
A scorpion with potent venom, the Hottentotta franzwerneri was dubbed by A.A. Birula in 1914 as Buthus franzwerneri, derived from a male specimen collected by Franz Werner on Béni Ounif de Figuig in Algeria, bordering on Morocco. Birula also came up with the name Hottentotta in 1908, but originally as a subgenus under Mesobuthus. Algeria and Morocco.
Despite having been known to science even from the early 1900s, H. franzwerneri remained one of the most poorly known of scorpion species. But captive-bred individuals are changing that, and the world of arachnoculture is now bestowed with perhaps one of the most arresting species ever made available.
Hottentotta franzwerneri is a medium-sized species that grows to a total length of 11 centimeters. The reticulated chelicerae range from yellow to black, while the carapace is also black with red-brown chela on the pedipalps and telson. The chelae have no carinae (keels).
The legs are a contrasting yellow; black-legged populations have been previously assigned to subspecies gentili, which is now regarded as a true species.
The carapace of H. franzwerneri is distinctly rugose, which is so developed that the keels on the head have also been broken down to minute bumps; this character is shared apparently only by H. judaicus, and to some extent, H. The entire body is noticeably hirsute, although the males have been noted to be less so than females. Sexing the scorpions is easy- males have pectines close to one another, while there is a very noticeable gap for females.
Béni Ounif in Algeria is situated at an elevation of 2,720 meters above sea level, characterized by rocky outcrops from the Morocco, which forms a border to Algeria, these scorpions were found at an altitude of 868 meters.
The riverside habitats as well as oases support vegetation, dominated by date palms (Phoenix dactylifera), which provide an important agricultural crop to local inhabitants. Within the leaf axils of these palms, H. franzwerneri stable conditions.
However, the species can also be found on stony outcrops on the ground, wedged in between gaps, to escape the stratospheric heat and to secure potential prey. These scorpions are not known to dig burrows. Due to the proximity of bodies of water, ambient humidity is higher than in the surrounding, more arid habitats. Annual rainfall is very low, and the area is notably hot in the summers but cool during winter.