Pet store claims it has a "rare" scorpion -- should I buy it?

Mr. Mordax

Arachnoking
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I was at the local off-the-beaten-path petstore today and they had in a scorpion that the owner said was sold to him as being very rare in the pet trade. He didn't have the latin name on hand, but said the common name was "Big Ben." Searches for that didn't turn up anything.

Its body was about an inch long, good-sized claws relative to body size (not quite emperor big, but still big), and it was a deep reddish-brown color. I also noticed that it had a spur on the telson. As far as behavior goes it was quite active, patrolling the tank and even nibbling at a dead cricket for a minute. It scurried away when I shifted the tank to get a better look.

The closest match I've found so far is D. lindo, based on this picture: http://www.ub.ntnu.no/scorpion-files/d_lindo2.jpg

Does this sound about right to anyone? He was charging $59.95, and said (passing word on from the dealer) that it has potent venom. I doubted that after seeing the size of the claws.

Any insight is greatly appreciated.
 

skinheaddave

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Well, the subaculear protuberance is a good indication that it could come from what was formerly the family Diplocentridae. If this is the case then most of the other statements are false. It is relatively rare in the pet trade and, depending on the species, may be relatively rare in scientific collections as well. This represents an issue of interest rather than opportunity, however. The common name is pretty much just made up and the venom would not be considered strong. As for the price, that's high but not out of line with retail for anything other than emps etc. That's why I don't buy many scorpions at retail shops and try to keep the price down on those in the shop where I work.

Cheers,
Dave
 

Galapoheros

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It does sound like D. lindo. I see D. lindo pretty often at night hunting around for stuff in w tx. Some people call D. whitei., D. lindo. D. whitei's common name is, ha, usually, Big Bend scorpion. Common names can really mess things up when trying to figure out what is what. I think the odds are that it is D. lindo but that is only a guess, given the info. I caught those for years in w tx without knowing exactly what they were. At the time, I was mostly looking for snakes and centipedes. I've also heard some people call D. lindo a Crab scorpion. Does the family Diplocentridae not exist anymore? Is it something different now?
 

skinheaddave

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D. whitei's common name is, ha, usually, Big Bend scorpion.
I never made the connection between "Big Ben" and "Big Bend." In fact, both D.lindo and D.whitei can be found in the Big Bend area. The most accessable method of differentiation is going to be pectine tooth counts -- 11-15M, 9-13F for D. lindo; 16-20M, 14-18F in D. whitei. That being said, if the count is near the intersection of the two species, you will obviously have to rely on different features (which I can get into if necessary) to shore up the ID.

Does the family Diplocentridae not exist anymore? Is it something different now?
It was synonymized with Scorpionidae during the recent kerfuffle over higher level scorpion systematics. Whether it will reclaim its original status (with all or some of its former members) will remain to be seen.

Cheers,
Dave
 

Nazgul

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Hi,

also "Diplocentrus bigbendensis" is a synonym of D. whitei.
 

Mr. Mordax

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Well, thanks for the info everybody! I guess I misheard the petstore guy . . . "big bend" probably would have been a tip-off to me to look up Texas scorps. As is, I thought it might be a European species with the name I thought I heard.

Well, the guy was cute and active, but I don't think I'll spend $60 on a non-exotic. Thanks again everyone!
 
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