Lychas marmoreus
(C. L. Koch, 1844)


Common names:
This species is known as Marbled scorpion, Little Marbled Scorpion, and Little Marbled Bark Scorpion.

Asia (New Guinea), Australia (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria).

Habitat appears to be variable as long as seasona l temperatures don't exceed 25 C for prolonged periods. Rainfall minimum and maximum are highly variable. Wetter, cooler environments, such as those found in coastal Eucalyptus type forests are ideal, although certainly not exclusive. Most common habitats are under tree bark high up, leaf litter on the forest floors (particularly around rocky areas) and beneath bark on fallen logs. As suburbia encroaches on this environment they may also be found in timber piles (especially if termite activity is evident), brick stacks and stacked tin sheeting etc. They have also been found inside houses that back onto bushland or are on small farm lots.

Although LD50 values are not available as LD50 testing has been banned in Australia for over 5 years, these are considered to be the one of the more "venomous scorpion species" in Australia. There has been one reported death of a infant girl from Pemberton in Western Australia in 1929, "assumed" to be from L. marmoreus, but not confirmed. One reported sting (person. conv.) revealed severe pain and a burning sensation for approx. 2 hours, with the pain diminishing to a dull ache/throb for about 12 hours.

Selected litterature:
Koch, L.E. (1977). The taxonomy, Geographic Distribution and Evolutionary Radiation of Australo-Papuan Scorpions. Rec. West. Aust. Mus., vol. 5 (2), pp.83-367.

On the Internet:

Lychas marmoreus are one of the smaller Australian species and are therefore more likely kept by enthusiasts rather than pet owners. Most Australian pet shops don't sell them or refuse to sell them.

Approximate size from carapace to aculeus is 35mm in an adult. Colour may be variable from a dark cream colour to a slate/grey but a prominent feature on all is the raised granules on the tergites, which are in colour contrast to the tergite colours. Legs and pedipalps variegated in colour with distinctive differentials between the colour changes ie. they don't fade in/out from one colour to another. Last metasoma segment and vesicle generally the darkest with a prominent subaculear prong.

This species is not commonly kept in captivity but probably the most commonly seen in suburbia and small acreage housing near cities, particularly in the Sydney region. They appear to be communal. There have been reports in the wild of over 10 sheltering under a single piece of bark.

In captivity they appear communal as long as each is provided with "personnel" space to hide. Two of mine live under the same piece of bark but at either end. Captive birth is not common and it would appear (in my experience) that raising to adulthood is difficult, as humidity is critical when getting them to survive moults. Duration to 2nd instar is approximately 3 days. Very small crickets are readily taken but better still are small termites which they thrive on.

Centruroides excilicauda photo by Jan Ove Rein (C)
This species file is written by Peter Wright (Australia).

Jan Ove Rein (C) 2024