Jericho Scorpion

Jericho Scorpion / Nebo hierichonticus / عقرب اريحا (نيبو)

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The Jericho Scorpion alco called Common Black Scorpion, belongs to the Diplocentridae* family in the Scorpiones (scorpions) order, of the Arachnida (arachnids) class. The Jericho Scorpion is the biggest scorpion in the Mediterranean Basin, and the whole surrounding area. This is a very impressive species, that may reach up to 130mm in adulthood (females). The venom of this species considered to be harmless, but there are a few serious cases involving its rlatives, from the genus Nebo in the Middle East. The sting itself is often compared to a honey bee sting: it causes ephemeral, very light, local pain that fades within few minutes. There is a disagreement whether this species harmless to the non-allergic human being or not. The prevailing opinion maintains that basically this species have the ability to cause hemorrhage, as well as potential for necrosis, or damaging joints when the sting occurs in between sensitive ones, such as the fingers' joints – but such cases are extremely rare. The color of this species varies. The basic pattern includes dark body, metasoma ("tail") and pedipalps ("pincers", which are lighter in coloration at the central area). The walking legs are lighter in most cases. The overall color may vary between light brown do deep brown-black, and walking legs are brown to yellowish-brown, in most cases. The pedipalps are thick and elongated, as well as have a strong ridge that makes the pedipalp hand to have a "diamond shape" look – despite the bulged, rounded hand without such ridge, as appears in the other dark, large pedipalped species in the area (Dark Large-Clawed Scropion, Scorpio fuscus) shows. The Jericho Scorpion shows a unique tubercle nearby its stinger (subaculear tubercle), that can distinguish it from any other, black scorpion in the area as well. Its genus scientific name was derived from place that it was described from: "Nebo" – after the name of Mt. Nebo. The species name, "Hierichonticus" stands for Jericho, the city across the above mountain, from the west side of the Jordan River. Its diet – as for it being a relatively large scorpion, is based on big invertebrates. Although its main prey includes invertebrates, the Jericho Scorpion might prey on small vertebrates (such as geckos) from time to time as well. The Jericho Scorpion lives under medium to big stones, rocks cracks and burrows – that it digs itself, or using abandoned rodents' ones. They might to actively search for their prey, or use the "sit and wait" method, sitting on the entrance of their burrow or shelter, and waiting for a prey to come over. The adult females are bigger than the males and show a glossy back, as the males are smaller and have matt look. The subadult specimen are all glossy. The Jericho Scorpion have a variety of behavioral patterns and might be docile or act like a hot tempered species as well – but they are known for being relatively slow, due to their size and shape. They can sting over and over as they stay in the same spot, escape, or not even react in some rare cases – but will mainly use their large, strong pincers to defend themselves. Whenever they can, if they sit in the entrance of their burrow or other shelter, such as a crack in a rock - they will go down quickly as they feel any big creature passes from few steps away. The Jericho Scorpion (Nebo hierichonticus) is distributed in Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria. Within its distribution area, it is relatively common. In Palestine – the distribution areas of this species covers the whole country, and includes both Mediterranean and arid to desert areas; This species can be found in mountainous areas, terra rossa, basalt, rendzina, and more, variety of soils. 

Note: there is a disagreement about the taxonomic status of genus Nebo – as some researches classifies it as Diplocentrid, and others, as Scorpionid. As for today, no final determination in presence.