Tityus serrulatus

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Tityus serrulatus
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Scientific classification OOjs UI icon edit-ltr.svg
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Order: Scorpiones
Family: Buthidae
Genus: Tityus
T. serrulatus
Binomial name
Tityus serrulatus
Lutz & Mello, 1922

Tityus serrulatus, the Brazilian yellow scorpion, is a species of scorpion of the family Buthidae. It is native to Brazil, and its venom is extremely toxic. [1] It is the most dangerous scorpion in South America and is responsible for the most fatal cases. [2]



Adult specimens typically measure between 5–7 cm (2–3 in) in length. [3] As suggested by its common name, coloration consists of pale-yellow legs (8 in total) and pedipalps, with a darker shade of yellowish brown on the trunk, fingers[ clarification needed ], and tip of the tail. [3] Like other members of the family Buthidae, T. serrulatus has a bulbous tail, often carried in a characteristic forward curve over the back, which is segmented, with prominent ridges and serrations. [3] The tail is tipped with a venom-injecting barb capable of immobilizing prey or delivering defensive strikes.

Geographic range

The species is endemic to Brazil and widely found throughout the country, including the states of Alagoas, Bahia, Ceará, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio Grande do Sul, Rondônia, Santa Catarina, São Paulo, Sergipe, and Distrito Federal. [4] [5] [3]

"Due to deforestation and growing urbanization, this species is becoming more and more present," according to Rogério Bertani in an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian . [6] He is a scientist and scorpion specialist at the Butantan Institute in São Paulo. "I personally think that the problem will continue to grow." By 2018 there was a notable increase in the number of T. serrulatus scorpions living in the urban spaces of São Paulo, contributing to an increase in reported scorpion stings in Brazil from 12,000 in 2000 to 140,000 by 2018. [7] An abundance of prey, notably cockroaches, and shelter along with a lack of predators is believed to be a cause of the increase in scorpion numbers in Brazilian cities. [7]


It has a diet of insects, such as cockroaches, and is suited to life in sewers and trash heaps in urban areas. Having a low metabolic rate, it can survive for months without eating.


The species is usually parthenogenetic. [1]



In Brazil, scorpions are credited with causing the highest incidence of human envenomations of all venomous animals. They cause more than all other venomous animals, including snakes and spiders, combined. [8] With mortality rates ranging from 1.0 to 2.0% among children and elderly persons, T. serrulatus is responsible for more medically significant accidents than any other scorpion in the country. [9] [10] Most stings occur in urban areas, inside or near homes, with greater frequency in the south and southeast during the warm and rainy months, but with little or no seasonal variability in the north, northeast, and center-west. [11]


In mild cases, localized pain is the primary symptom. [12] Tityus s. venom contains TsIV, which slows the inactivation of sodium channels in muscles and nerve cells. [13] [14] Tityus serrulatus has an excitatory neurotoxin that attacks the autonomic nervous system, causing the release of adrenaline, noradrenaline and acetylcholine, causing an immense variety of symptoms in the victims; clinical effects may include hyperglycemia, fever, priapism, agitation, hypersalivation, tachycardia, hypertension, mydriasis, sweating, hyperthermia, tremors, gastrointestinal complications (diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting) and pancreatitis. Convulsions and coma are relatively rare, but can occur. Death usually results from pulmonary edema and cardiorespiratory failure. Deaths can occur between 1–6 hours, or 12–14 hours, depending on the age group, the person's state of health and the quantity of injected venom. [15] [16] The venom of this species seems to have different lethalities according to its distribution, T. serrulatus from Distrito Federal has an LD50 of 51.6 μg / kg, compared to LD50 from T. serrulatus from Minas Gerais: 26 μg / kg. [17]

According to a nationwide epidemiological study of scorpion accidents that was conducted from 2000 to 2012, there were 482,616 accidents and 728 deaths reported in Brazil during that period. [18] All of the fatal cases were attributed to the genus Tityus, and T. serrulatus, in particular, was believed to be responsible for the vast majority of scorpion-related deaths considered by the study. [18]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Venom</span> Toxin secreted by an animal

Venom or zootoxin is a type of toxin produced by an animal that is actively delivered through a wound by means of a bite, sting, or similar action. The toxin is delivered through a specially evolved venom apparatus, such as fangs or a stinger, in a process called envenomation. Venom is often distinguished from poison, which is a toxin that is passively delivered by being ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin, and toxungen, which is actively transferred to the external surface of another animal via a physical delivery mechanism.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vital Brazil</span> Brazilian physician, biomedical scientist, and immunologist (1865–1950)

Vital Brazil Mineiro da Campanha, known as Vital Brazil, was a Brazilian physician, biomedical scientist and immunologist, known for the discovery of the polyvalent anti-ophidic serum used to treat bites of venomous snakes of the Crotalus, Bothrops and Elaps genera. He went on to be also the first to develop anti-scorpion and anti-spider serums. He was the founder of the Butantan Institute, a research center located in São Paulo, which was the first in the world dedicated exclusively to basic and applied toxicology, the science of venomous animals.

Tityustoxin is a toxin found in the venom of scorpions from the subfamily Tityinae. By binding to voltage-dependent sodium ion channels and potassium channels, they cause sialorrhea, lacrimation and rhinorrhea.

<i>Tityus</i> (genus) Genus of scorpions

Tityus is a large genus of thick-tailed scorpions, the namesake of its subfamily Tityinae. As of 2021, Tityus contains more than 220 described species distributed in Central America and South America, from Costa Rica to Argentina. Species in the genus Tityus have been studied for hundreds of years, long before the taxonomic classification was put in place. Tityus tend to be of medium size for scorpions, roughly 50 to 70 millimeters long. They are dark brown or red in color, and can exhibit sexual dimorphism. They can live in a variety of environments, ranging from urban to arid mountains to the Amazon Rainforest. Tityus scorpions are best known for their venom and potent sting. The genus contains several dangerously venomous scorpions, the best known of which is the Brazilian yellow scorpion, T. serrulatus. Its venom can cause severe illness, and in the young, old and infirm even death. Some experts have argued that the genus as a whole may be paraphyletic, which could explain the knowledge gaps related to Tityus

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Scorpion sting</span> Medical condition

A scorpion sting is an injury caused by the stinger of a scorpion resulting in the medical condition known as scorpionism, which may vary in severity. The anatomical part of the scorpion that delivers the sting is called a "telson". In typical cases, scorpion stings usually result in pain, paresthesia, and variable swelling. In serious cases, scorpion stings may involve the envenomation of humans by toxic scorpions, which may result in extreme pain, serious illness, or even death depending on the toxicity of the venom.

Tityus fasciolatus is a species of scorpion from the family Buthidae. The species are 4.5–8.5 centimetres (1.8–3.3 in) in length and are yellowish-brown coloured. They also have three dark stripes over the mesosoma with either yellowish or orange pedipalps, which have dark spots as well. Their first to third segments of metasoma is yellowish-orange, with the fourth one being reddish. Their fifth and final segment id dark red coloured. The species have yellow coloured legs which have dark spots, which are the same as on pedilap. Their tarsus is dark in colour with pectines that have 17-25 teeth, in which they have 16-18 rows of granules. T. fasciolatus is a species of medical importance, its venom is molecular and very similar to T. serrulatus, its venom contains at least 10 toxic fractions, with molecular masses ranging from 6 to 10-80 kDa, the LD50 for this species is 2.984 mg / kg.

<i>Tityus stigmurus</i> Species of scorpion

Tityus stigmurus is a species of scorpion from the family Buthidae that can be found in Brazil. The species are 4.5–6 centimetres (1.8–2.4 in) in length and are either golden-tan or yellowish-brown coloured. It takes them a year to mature into an adult, which makes them a fast-growing species. They also have a dark stripe over the mesosoma with either yellowish or orange pedipalps.

TsIV is a toxin from the venom of the Brazilian scorpion Tityus serrulatus which slows the inactivation of sodium channels.

Ts15 is produced by the Brazilian yellow scorpion Tityus serrulatus. It targets voltage-gated potassium channels, primarily the subtypes Kv1.2 and Kv1.3.

Tityustoxin peptide 2 (TsPep2) is a peptide isolated from the venom of the Tityus serrulatus. It belongs to a class of short peptides, together with Tityustoxin peptide 1 and Tityustoxin peptide 3.

<i>Leiurus abdullahbayrami</i> Species of scorpion

Leiurus abdullahbayrami is a species of scorpion in the family Buthidae. Its venom is highly toxic to humans, but can be used in medical development.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Scorpionism in Central America</span>

Scorpionism is defined as the accidental envenomation of humans by toxic scorpions. If the injection of venom in a human results in death, this is defined as scorpionism. This is seen all over the world but is predominantly seen in the tropical and subtropical areas. These areas include Mexico, northern South America and southeast Brazil in the Western hemisphere. In the Eastern hemisphere, scorpionism possess a public health threat in the regions of South Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent.

<i>Tityus pachyurus</i> Species of scorpion

Tityus pachyurus is a species of arachnid endemic to Central America and South America.

Loxosceles similis, is a species of a venomous recluse spider endemic to South America.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tst26</span>

The Tst26 toxin is a voltage-gated potassium channel blocker present in the venom of Tityus stigmurus, a species of Brazilian scorpion. Tst26 selectively blocks Kv1.2 and Kv1.3 channels.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Animal attacks in Latin America</span>

List of reported attacks and species involved in Latin America.

Tityus asthenes is a significantly venomous scorpion endemic to South America. Sometimes it is known as Peruvian black scorpion.

Ts8 is a neurotoxin present in the venom of the Brazilian yellow scorpion, Tityus serrulatus. Ts8 is a selective inhibitor of the voltage-gated potassium channel Kv4.2

Tb1 is a neurotoxin that is naturally found in the Brazilian scorpion venom Tityus bahiensis and is thought to act on voltage-gated sodium channels. This causes an excessive glutamate release, which leads to both behavioral and electrographic epileptiform alterations, as well as neuronal injury.


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