Hadogenes troglodytes
(Peters, 1861)


Common names:
Often known as South African Rock Scorpion or The Flat Rock Scorpion.

Africa (Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe).

H. troglodytes is a variable species but they all essentially occur in drier, bushveld areas that recieve less than about 600mm mean annual rainfall. They are restricted to areas with a type of rock that will split to form cracks for them to live in. This includes sandstone and granite. They seem to prefer living at the bottoms of hills rather than higher up. Adults usually occupy cracks about 1.5cm in width, with juveniles occupying smaller cracks so as to decrease competition with adults. They can be quite dense in some areas, getting to the point where almost every available crack will have a scorpion in it.

This species has a mild venom. It will rarely sting, and usually defends it self by using the powerful claws. LD50 values are reported between 1800-2667 mg/kg. Claws are used for defense, and can be very painful to be caught by.

Selected litterature:
Bullington, S.W. (1996). Natural history and captive care of the flat rock scorpion Hadogenes troglodytes . Vivarium 7(5), pp.18-21.
Newlands, G., and A.C. Cantrell. (1985). A re-appraisal of the rock scorpions (Scorpionidae: Hadogenes). Koedoe 28, pp. 35-45.
Williams, S.C. (1971). Birth behavior in the South African scorpion
Hadogenes. Pan-Pacific Entomol., 47, pp.79–80.

On the Internet:
Natural History and Captive Care of the Flat Rock Scorpion, Hadogenes troglodytes (Peters) by Stephen W. Bullington.
Flat Rock Scorpion (Hadogenes troglodytes) by Joe Fouskaris.

Alle Hadogenes have very elongated, flattened bodies and powerful pedipalps. The body shape together with a stout, spinelike setae (which poerate in conjunction with highly curved claws) are adaptions to life in cracks and crevices (the latter caracteristics provides the legs with a strong grip on the rough surface of the rocks). Males have a very long and thin cauda, and some have been reported to reach over 21 cm in bodylenght. Females have a body lenght between 15-20 cm, and can gain a weight between 30-40 g.

This species is kept in captivity, and is a very popular species because it is very large, long-lived and quite hardy. Captive breeding has been reported, but I'm missing data on the survival rates of the scorplings.

Some scorpions sold in the pet trade as H. bicolor is probably H. troglodytes, which is found in several color forms (Dr. Lorenzo Prendini, pers. comm.). This page shows a dark colourform, while the more typical brighter colorform can be seen here. H. bicolor is quite rare, and is probably not found in the pet trade at all.

H. troglodytes catch many different prey types as most scorpion, but is quite special because they are reported to prey on terresttial molluscs.

Hadogenes troglodytes (dark colorform) photo by Jan Ove Rein (C).
Part of the information in this species file is supplied by Ian Engelbrecht

Jan Ove Rein (C) 2024