Giant Banded Flat Rock Scorpion

(Hadogenes bicolor)


Giant Banded Flat Rock Scorpion IUCN NOT EVALUATED (NE)


Facts about this animal

The Giant Banded Flat Rock Scorpion can attain a length of 15-20 cm. The colour is bluish with ochreous chelicerae, legs and telson. The body is flat and separated into an anterior cephalothorax (prosoma) and a posterior abdomen (opisthosoma). The prosoma carries a pair of chelicerae, a pair of forceps (pedipals) and four pairs of walking legs, and is covered with a single dorsal plate called carapace baring one median and three lateral pairs of eyes. Setae and claws of the feet are especially adapted to rocky surfaces. The abdomen is divided into the spanned mesosoma and the articulated metasoma (tail). The former has two ventral, comb-like appendages called pectines, the latter caring the venom sting on the terminal appendage which is called the telson. The tail is typically very slender in the Giant Banded Flat Rock Scorpion – a bit stouter in the generally larger female. Scorpions breathe by means of booklungs which have 4 pairs of slit openings to the ventral side of the mesosoma. The main sensitive organs are the trichobothriae, large, articulated bristles to the underside of the pedipalps.

The Giant Banded Flat Rock Scorpion does not dig but uses crevices as its den to hide during day. Like all scorpions it is nocturnal and hunts by night. Because of its size it can prey upon almost any insect or scorpion, and even small vertebrate coming along. These are mashed by means of the forceps and dissected by the celicerae, and rarely stung. The Giant Banded Flat Rock Scorpion is alert but not very active, and thus, it can starve for some time if no prey is available.

The venom - injected with the sting - is harmless even for small children and is not allergenic.

After a winter diapause at 15 °C the Giant Banded Flat Rock Scorpion mates in spring. After six months the female gives birth to 30-60 live young, which remain on the mother’s back for a week or more before leaving. Young moult frequently but grow slowly during several years.

Did you know?
that the Giant Banded Flat Rock Scorpion – although a desert species – can die of dehydration if it does not frequently find food or water? that scorpions dance while mating? The male grasps the female at the forceps, then sets a sperm vesicle to the ground and leads the female over it. that a scorpion in a ring of fire or embers will not sting itself dead but tries to defend itself and will suffer a heat shock of which it can recover? that scorpions are more or less resistant to their own venom? that scorpions will fluorescent bluish-white if lit with a black light (ultraviolet) lamp?


Name (Scientific) Hadogenes bicolor
Name (English) Giant Banded Flat Rock Scorpion
Name (Spanish) Escorpión gigante
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Frank Teigler



Range South Africa - Provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo
Habitat Inhabiting rocky areas in the Drakensberg mountains like outcrops, deserts and plateaus, crawling into crevices. At an altitude of 1000-2000 m.
Wild population Unknown but limited distribution; endemic to South Africa
Zoo population 0 reported to ISIS (2008)

In the Zoo

Giant Banded Flat Rock Scorpion


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Frank Teigler

Why do zoos keep this animal

The Giant Banded Flat Rock Scorpion is long-lived and, despite its size, harmless. Because it is large it can be used for education to show the peculiar anatomy of this primitive group of arthropods.