Pp. 55-89 (35)
Olen R. Brown
More than 1500 species of scorpions are known and they populate every
continent except Antarctica. They abound in dry and desert areas of the world. By most
accounts, only about 20 species have venom that can kill a human. Mostly, they live
secretive lives preferring underground burrows or crevices in rocks by day and come
out at night when they hunt for prey that for different species ranges from insects to
rats, mice, lizards and other small animals. Scorpions produce complex venoms
composed of many chemicals and they possess the ability to control the amount of
venom injected by a sting, and even control the quality of that venom. The most toxic
venom for humans appears to be that produced by the death stalker, and there are four
chemical components. The earliest effect is on the transmission of nerve impulses
which creates paralysis, and a subsequent toxicity to the heart. The most significant
nerve toxicity is described as an impairment of calcium movement that blocks
transmission of impulses across synaptic junctions to cause paralysis.
Androctonus crassicauda, Antivenom, Autonomic nervous system,
biotoxin, Calcium channel, CNS, death stalker, Fat tail scorpion, Leiurus
quinquestriatus, Man killer, Myoneural junction, Nervous system,
Neurotransmitter, Postsynaptic neuron, Presynaptic neuron, Scorpion, Synapses,
Venom, Voltage-gated channels.
Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center University of Missouri Columbia, MO USA.