Heteroctenus junceus
(Herbst, 1800)




Common names:

Carribean (Cuba and Hati) and South-America (Venezuela).

This is an habitat generalist, lives in all types of forests (from dry coastal to rainy montane ones), savannas and semidesertic areas. Found under stones, fallen tree trunks, inside epiphitic & terrestrial Bromeliaceae, under barks up to 5m above the ground and commonly enters houses (even in large cities). Does not burrow, but eventually can dig short scrapes under a stone or log to hide in.

A LD 50 value of 8.0 mg/kg has been reported for this species. This inidcates that this species isn't among the most venomous scorpions. This is the most common scorpion in Cuba, and a lot of peoples are stung each year. No deaths have been reported, with the exception of a few deaths due to anaphylactic shock following a hypersensitivity immune reaction.

Selected litterature:
Cao, J., F. Rivera and f. Bello. 1997. Algunos aspectos bioecologicos y farmacologicos del veneno crudo procedente de dos especies de escorpiones cubanos. Resumenes IV Simposio de Zoologia, La Habana, p. 70.

Esposito LA, Yamaguti HY, Souza CA, Pinto da Rocha R, Prendini L. Systematic revision of the neotropical club-tailed scorpions, Physoctonus, Rhopalurus, and Troglorhopalurus, revalidation of Heteroctenus, and descriptions of two new genera and three new species (Buthidae: Rhopalurusinae). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 2017(415):1-134.

On the Internet:

What has been referred as "R. junceus" so far, is actually a species complex currently under revision by Dr. Rolano Teruel in Cuba. Preliminary results have IDed at least three species new to science, which will be formally described soon. The species were transfered to the revalidated genus Heteroctenus in 2017.
This species is known to be kept in captivity in Europe (Germany, Czech Rep.), where it is also been bred succesfully several times. Life span in captivity: about 3-6 years.

This is one of the few scorpion species which produce a strongly audible stridulatory sound when disturbed.

This species file is written by Dr. Roleando Teruel.
Rhopalurus photo by Dr. Rolando Teruel (C)

Jan Ove Rein (C) 2024