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This photograph shows overgrown Iraqi trenches in the Sabah Al-Salem area, dating from the Gulf War of 1991. The southern suburbs of Kuwait City can be seen in the distance. This type of scrub desert landscape was good territory for finding the most commonly encountered Buthids i.e. A. crassicauda and Compsobuthus arabicus. Iraqi soldiers used corrugated iron sheets, concrete breeze-blocks and planks of wood to reinforce their trenches. Scorpions frequently took shelter underneath. Note that although the vegetation in the photo appears green, it was actually bone dry due to the outdoor temperature of around 47 degrees Celsius. Although Androctonus can be encountered where there is little or no vegetation, the best places to find them look like the location shown in the photo. Other fauna in the area shown included spiny hedgehogs, Buprestid beetles, Dhubs (large, spinytailed lizards), smaller lizard species (measuring 5 cm) and rear-fanged snakes.

A. crassicauda and C. arabicus are widespread throughout Kuwait. A colony of Androctonus was found on Failaka island, situated a few miles off the coast of Kuwait city. Comparison of Androctonus specimens from Failaka and those from the mainland revealed no morphological differences or colour variations. None of the smaller Kuwaiti islands (eg Umm Al-Maradim or Kubbar) were found to support scorpion colonies. Exploration of Bubiyan island could not be made due to access problems, though given the size of Bubiyan it is quite likely that Androctonus lives there.

Other Kuwaiti scorpion species are Apistobuthus pterygocercus - typically found in Northern Kuwait ie the area of Jal Az-Zor escarpment, and Scorpio maurus which is found exclusively at the Wafra agricultural area in the far South. Leiurus quinquestriatus also lives in Kuwait, but is rare - a single specimen was found at the location shown in the habitat photo. By far the most common species encountered in Kuwait is Androctonus crassicauda.

Five Androctonus crassicauda collected from the area shown in the picture above.

This information is written by Tom Oates.
Both pictures are supplied by Tom Oates (C).

Jan Ove Rein (C) 2023