"Bald" Emperor?

LCDXX

Arachnosquire
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Last night I was at the local pet store looking for a decent female Emperor with which to breed with my current male Emp. While I was going through the scorps, one in particular caught my eye... not because she was gravid, but because she didn't have the little hairs on her claws or tail. Furthermore, she doesn't doesn't "shine" - her armor doesn't have that glossy sheen like 99.9% of the other Emperors I've observed.

You can kinda see the lack of hair in the picture attached, however the flash on the camera appears to have drawn more of a glare than I expected (that and it's a little outta focus).

I guess my question is this: is this unusual for an Emperor? Could it be a sign of an upcoming molt? Or could it be just an unusual genetic quirk?

LCDXX
 

chau0046

Arachnobaron
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Looks more like an asian forest scorp to me(H. Spinnifer) `cause the chela are too long. Nice lookin scorp ,though!!!

Mat
 

Frank

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If the telson or vesicle (I don't see the difference between the 2 on the anatomy picture, if someone can explain me, I mean the red venom vesicle on the emp by exemple) is black, then its a h. spinifer - asian forest, if its red, it have chances to be a weird emp :)



But like chau said, it looks like an h. spinifer because the chela are longer than an emp..






Frank
 

XOskeletonRED

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I have pics of Malaysian forest scorpions (labeled H. spinifer) with reddish, white and black vesicules (telson). As the same goes with Asian forest scorpion (labeled H. longimanus). Emperor scorpions (P. imperator), I have heard of some claiming to have specimen with the black vesicules, but they may also be incorrect as to the species name and even the genus. Pandinus and Heterometrus scorps have been known to be kept together occasionally and that is probably why they don't appear to be a different species to the untrained eye (believing that, because the pedipalps are larger on the males, which is true, but not to this great extent).


The above pictured scorp is definitely of the Heterometrus genus. Whether it is a longimanus or spiniferis, is undefineable by the coloration alone. Because the pedipalps (claws) appear to be more grooved and granulated, it appears to be a Heterometrus spiniferis. Longimanus tend to have smoother pedipalps. Taxonomy on the scorp in question would have to be inspected to get the exact species, officially.

EDIT: Lack of hair on the pedipalps could mean several things. About how long (prosoma [head] to tip of cauda [tail]) is this scorp? Questioned to find whether this scorp has reached adulthood. If the scorp isn't long enough to have reached complete maturity, I have seen the majority of my rainforest scorps loose the hair on the peds (claws) prior to molt. If this is the only systematic explanation, I would recommend a slight increase in humidity, unless the scorp is being kept a 80% already.
Another recommendation, if this scorp costs as much as the emp, you may want to get yourself a few more. Heterometrus scorps tend to have a higher cost than Pandinus imperator and it sounds like you got yourself a deal.

adios,
edw. :D
 
Last edited:

LCDXX

Arachnosquire
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Thanks to everyone for their feedback.

Ed, I think you've hit the nail in the head here. I'm more than certain that this species is definitely Heterometrus given some of your descriptions of the spec. To further this topic, Ed, I'd like to point out that this female is only about 4.5 to 5 inches in overall length (she doesn't rest her tail much in tends to keep it in psuedo-defensive posture. The caudal segments are approximately .25 inches with the end telson being a bit smaller than the individual segments alone.

The telson itself is very black in color (and also quite dull, which leads me to suspent a molt in the near future). Upon further inspection of the cauda, I've noticed a few hairs though they are sparse and significantly smaller than the male P. Imperator specimen I have housed along with her.

The female herself is very docile and in fact I feel more comfortable handling her than I do with my Emp (I normally don't hold ANY scorpions, mind you).

In regards to the housing, my male Emp, though semi-agressive to myself, is suprisingly tame to her. I've had the Emp housed solitarily for about 3 months now and was expecting to have some aggression upon introducing the female H. into the tank (partly because she is both female AND almost half the size of the Emp) - alas they are existing quite harmoniously. I've added a number of crix, both to facilitate her gravid state and to detract any notions the Emp may have towards feeding on her.

My humidity levels are quite high now (90%) since I've switched from the pure forest-peat substrate to the method Ed promotes - that being a subtarraen layer of pea-gravel topped with 5-6 inches of potting soil/natural peat compound. I've added the watering tube in back as you can see below and "corked" with a piece of natural sponge to keep any crix or potential nymphs from getting down in there.
 

LCDXX

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Here's another pic, just for the heck of it... You might notice the P. Imperator in the background - his telson is silhouetted near the log hide. In the foreground is the gravid H. Spiniferis/Longimanus.

LCDXX
 

XOskeletonRED

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If a scorp is gravid and gives birth while in process of a molt, it could lead to extreme complications. Your enclosure appears to be up to par in many aspects of the trade and is, honestly, nicer than many person's enclosures who have been in the hobby for years. Well done. Do keep a close eye on this scorp because if she is gravid and begins to have the young, you should remove the other scorp to prevent cannibalism of your scorplets and quite possibly, her as well. She may also be too large for her current exo and is eating well to gather the energy for the molt, rather than being gravid. I have seen this on a small number of H. spiniferis females, though the majority turned out to be gravid. Do keep in mind, females have tendencies to eat more than males.



adios,
edw. :D
 

chau0046

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Hey,
is there any possibility of a Heterometrus/Pandinus crossbreeding? Ever heard of any cases of mating?

Mat
 

XOskeletonRED

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It's not possible outside a scorpion's species. Different types pheremones between the genus' prevent it.



adios,
edw. :D
 

skinheaddave

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There's actualy a bit more to it than that. While mating cues provide the first barrier, there are more problems along the way.

Assuming the physical act of sperm transfer has taken place, the next issue involves the interactiosn between eggs and sperm. There may be physical or chemical impediments to fertilization by a sperm from another genera. Next up is the actual genetic barriers. I don't know much about the genetics of either genus, but the chances of them being compatable is basically nil. You can think of it as two halves of a zipper. If you mix and match halves, your chances of zipping up is pretty slim. Lastly, of course, even if there was a hybrid produced, the chances of it being fertile would be next to nothing. There are cases where hybrids do create progeny -- this can even be a powerful evolutionary force. More often that not, though, this happens within genera. The chances of genera like Heterometrus and Pandinus being compatable is pretty slim, though. It would take the most extrodinary set of accidents to bypass all the barriers.

Cheers,
Dave
 

skinheaddave

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John,

I wouldn't worry about it until the "fancy new trick" involves pavement underlay and sand. :) I'm not going to worry about it until the "fancy new trick" is adding bentonite -- an idea published in the most popular hobbyist book out there. To tell you the truth, I forget how it was that I came up with the idea of using a gravel underlayer oh so many years ago .. probably off some website.

Cheers,
Dave
 

LCDXX

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Well, the idea certainly is quite remarkable... if anything the concept of a subterrainean humidity source is convenient as it allows for a maximum levels of moisture with minimal effort - about 1 quart of water will last several days. Furthermore, the concept "mimics" mother nature by providing a constant source from the ground up - much like the natural environments in which these critters are found.

My only complaints are 1) cleaning/replacing substrate is likely to be a real pain (how often should I do it with a setup like this?) and 2) routine misting allows you to have more accurate control over the varying humidity levels and is much safer (albiet rigorous) when maintain low averages of humidity around 65-80%. Ever since I've setup my tank like this, my humidity level hasn't dropped under 88% @ 94/84 degrees (daytime/nightime).

One thing I can't stress enough, though, for those seeking to construct a terrarium in this manner: Be sure to have a watering tube (3/4 to 1 1/4 inch dia.) in the corner for supplying water - AND MAKE SURE you cork it with something (I prefer natural sponge commonly used by petstores for supplying water in hermit crab tanks).

As for the material you alluded to in yer post, Dave, what IS the most popular hobbyist book out there?

I happen to be a librarian at a large state university and we don't seem to have jack in the way of scorpion material and I'd like to correct that problem (perhaps with gracious approval of our Life Sciences division).

LCDXX
 

skinheaddave

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LCDXX,

In response to your questions:

1] You don't have to clean your subtrate frequently, if at all. I've currently had my H.spinnifer with the same substrate for at least two years. If there is something which starts to mould or whatever, I will remove it -- but I can't honestly remember the last time that happened (maybe six months to a year). The substrate is 100% peat, which may help as it is quite acidic and may retard the growth of various organisms. There are also lots of little bugs of various sorts which have volunteered to live in there.

2] The better way to control humidity is by controling ventelation. If you mist, you will only raise the humidity for a short time unless you soak the substrate -- in which case you can run into some problems. Even soaking the substrate doesn't work very well, except if you really soak it -- in which case you've just flooded the aquarium like in your setup. By increasing the ventelation in the lid, however, you can lower the humidity. Not that you want to in your case.

That being said, I don't bother with this system for any of my grassland or desert scorps. I rely on misting with them, as it is more to induce breeding than to help with moulting or anything. I will only mist when it is "seasonal," leaving them with just a water dish for the rest of the year.

The book I was alluding to was "Scorpions: A complete pet owner's manual" by Manny Rubio, put out by Barron's. It is by far the best book out there on scorpions for the hobbyist. On the more scientific side, a must-read is "Scorpion Biology" by G.A. Polis. We have a copy at our university library. Another good one is the more recent "Scorpion Biology and Research" by Brownell and Polis. It doesn't cover as much material as Scorpion Biology, but is much more up to date and covers what it does in much more detail. Not necessarily a must-have, but definitely a must-read.

Since there seems to be this renewed interest in false-bottom setups, as it were, I'll describe how I built my H.spinnifer enclosure. The current setup has served me well for over two years. I used the same general setup before, but chose to revamp it a couple years ago to incorporate a couple modifications I had thought up. It is a 30 gallon aquarium with no cracks in it. In the bottom, I places a few broad but shallow tupperware containers with holes punched through to allow water to flow. This created a lot of empty space to hold water, as opposed to using just gravel which takes up a lot of space in and of itself. Around the front and side edges of this I put some nice looking gravel, so that from the outside it looks like it is just a gravel layer. On top of this I put a piece of fibreglass mesh to keep the dirt out. On top of this I put a layer of hardware cloth to keep the scorps out. Both the mesh and hardware cloth have a hole cut in them towards the center, rear of the enclosure. Into this hole I've inserted a pump and tubing. Over the hole I have a large rock. Surrounding this, I have other rocks, including some propped up to make a little burrow area that I can see through the glass. This creates an area with a waterfall and hide spot for the scorpions. To either side, I filled the aquarium with peat, which I sloped towards the back to create a nice look. I had one real plant planted, but it died when I changed the lightin setup to keep things darker. Around the tank I've strewn some flat rocks and bark to give them plenty of places ot hide. Right in front on the left there is a piece of plexiglass for mating. Madame Hortense also chose to make a hide under the plexiglass, which is convenient, as I can watch her with her young right now. The lighting used to be a red bulb all the time and a white bulb on a timer. Both were on dimmers. As it stands now, I'm just using a red bulb on a dimmer, though. The temperatures range from high 80s through the mid 90s across the enclosure, with one spot on a rock that can easily reach 100+. The humidity is always in the low 80s to mid 90s, depending on where the scorpion is. In the central burrow, the humidity has got to be close to 100%.

There are hundreds of variations on this idea. I know that Kugellager has been using his setup for years now. It is a standard gravel layer with a tube. In fact, most people I know who are serious about forest scorpions use this type of setup. Once I have finished off a few other projects, I am planning on making a forest scorpion apartment complex that will incorporate a single water flow from top to bottom. I should be started on it it about a month or two.

Cheers,
Dave
 
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