Hottentotta conspersus Scorpion: A Buthidae Family Member

Hottentotta conspersus is a species of scorpion found extensively in Namibia and southern Angola. Known for their preference to dwell under large rocks, boulders, and fallen trees, these unique arachnids are an intriguing subject for those interested in Namibia’s rich biodiversity.

Hottentotta conspersus scorpion in the Namib desert

Namibia is recognized for its high species richness and endemism of scorpions. Hottentotta conspersus belongs to the family Buthidae, which includes some highly venomous members that pose a significant threat to humans in various regions.

As researchers continue to study this scorpion, new insights are gained into the ecology and behavior of these captivating creatures.

These scorpions are known locally as the Sesriem Scorpion.

Taxonomic Rank of Hottentotta conspersus

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Order: Scorpiones
Family: Buthidae
Genus: Hottentotta
Species: Hottentotta conspersus

Habitat and Distribution

Regions in Namibia

H. Conspersus is predominantly found in the Namib Naukluft Park and Skeleton Coast from Swakopmund north to the Kunene River mouth. Other notable locations where this species thrives are Epupa Falls, Brandberg Mountains, Spitzkoppe, and the Erongo Mountains.

Preferred Environments

In terms of preferred environments, H. Conspersus is well-adapted to arid and semi-arid regions. Its diet primarily consists of ants, termites, and spiders, which are abundant in these regions. The scorpion’s coloration, typically dark yellow to brown, allows it to blend into its surroundings, offering camouflage against potential predators, as you can see in our photo above.

Physical Characteristics

Size and Weight

H. conspersus can reach a length of 40-65 millimeters (1.6-2.6 inches). Although their weight is not mentioned in any researched sources, being a relatively small scorpion, they are usually lightweight and agile.

Color and Morphology

The color of H. conspersus varies from yellow to yellowish brown, with the carapace and carinae sometimes appearing black. Their body is sparsely hirsute, meaning they have few hairs, and is characterized by a granulated mesosoma and carapace.

The seventh metasomal segment, a part of their tail, is also granulated. They possess a very bulbous telson, which is the venomous tip at the end of their tail. Their chelae, or pincers, are very narrow, allowing them to grip onto small prey items effectively.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

The reproduction process of Hottentotta conspersus follows a pattern similar to other scorpions in mating and fertility. Male and female scorpions engage in a complex courtship dance, with the male depositing a spermatophore on the ground, which the female picks up with her reproductive organs.

The fertilized eggs develop internally within the female, who then gives birth to live young scorpions called scorplings. These scorplings will ride on their mother’s back for a period until they undergo their first molt and disperse to become independent hunters.

Predators and Defense Mechanisms

As a venomous species, Hottentotta conspersus has its share of natural predators such as birds, reptiles, and large arachnids. To defend against these predators, the scorpion relies on its sting and venom, as well as its strong pincers to deter or immobilize threats.

They are very able to utilize their ability to blend into their environment by adopting coloration that matches the rocks and sand found in their natural habitat. This camouflage helps them avoid potential predators and sneak up on their prey.

Join us for a guided scorpion night walk where you will have a great opportunity to get an up close sighting of these fascinating creatures.