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Scorpion languedocien, buthus occitanus © ONEM - Philippe GARCELON

The Languedoc scorpion

The Languedoc scorpion is the largest European scorpion (8 cm from the claws to the end of the tail). Its colour is uniformly yellow.

Souvenirs entomologiques

“In attacking small game, his usual fare, the Scorpion hardly uses his weapon. He seizes the insect with his two pincers and thus holds it the whole time within reach of his mouth, which nibbles slowly. Sometimes, if the victim struggles and disturbs the repast, the tail comes curving down and, with a series of little taps, deprives the patient of the power of movement. When all is said, the sting plays but a very subordinate part in the acquisition of food.

It is really of no use to the animal except in a moment of danger, face to face with an enemy. I do not know against what foes the formidable beast may have to defend itself. Who among the frequenters of the stony wastes would venture to attack it? Though I do not know on what occasions, in the normal course of things, the Scorpion is obliged to take measures of defence, I can at least resort to artifice and arrange encounters which will force him to fight in grim earnest. To judge of the violence of his poison, I propose to place him in the presence of various powerful foes, without leaving the domain of entomology.”

Souvenirs entomologiques, Jean-Henri Fabre, 1905, 9th series, Chap. 19.

Scorpion languedocien © wikimédia - Fanck Buchter

Languedoc Scorpion (Buthus occitanus) © Wikimedia - Fanck Buchter

Find out more about this species

The Languedoc scorpion is the largest European scorpion (8 cm from the claws to the end of the tail). Its colour is uniformly yellow. It cannot be mistaken for the small black scorpion with yellow legs (Euscorpius flavicaudis), common in all houses in the Midi.
The sting of the French species is very painful, but not fatal, while the more eastern species (Greece, Turkey) seem to have a worse reputation.
It is nocturnal and spends its days under a rock in the garrigue. Its preferred prey is spiders. Fabre organised and observed fights between this scorpion and a number of insects (mantis, spiders, crickets, etc.).

More information about the Praying Mantis on the Inventaire national du patrimoine naturel (INPN) site:
Buthus occitanus (Amoreux, 1789)

The mission of the INPN is to catalogue the environmental, faunal, floral, geological, mineralogical and paleontological wealth on France’s national territory, an inventory for which the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle has scientific responsibility:
inpn.mnhn.fr

Also discover the Museum’s collections:

The collection of Polyneoptera to which the Mantis belongs
The entire collection of terrestrial arthropods including insects, arachnids and myriapods