Urodacus manicatus Click to enlarge image
A black rock scorpion, Urodacus manicatus Image: Reiner Richter
© Reiner Richter

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    manicatus
    Genus
    Urodacus
    Family
    Urodacidae
    Order
    Scorpiones
    Class
    Arachnida
    Phylum
    Arthropoda
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    5.5cm body length

Identification

Black Rock Scorpions are a redish brown or dark brown in colour (but can also be a yellowish brown). They are smaller than other species in the Urodacus genus.

Black Rock Scorpions are a long lived species with females living for up to 8 years.

Habitat

Black Rock Scorpions are found in shallow burrows (10cm deep) in earth or sand in open forests and woodlands. The burrow is found under rocks and logs and the entrance is usually covered with a stone. Directly beneath the burrow entrance is a large cleared area that is thought to be some where for the scorpion to manoeuvre while eating or mating, and has been termed the "living area".

Distribution

Found in eastern Australia including Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia



Feeding and diet

Black Rock Scorpions eat other invertebrates, such as cockroaches, beetles, millipedes, centipedes, spiders and occasionally earthworms and even small reptiles

Other behaviours and adaptations

Black Rock Scorpions are ‘lie and wait’ ambushers, they sit near the entrance of their burrow and can detect passing prey by the vibrations on the ground caused by the movement of the prey.

All scorpions fluoresce under ultraviolet light, which is a good way for scientists to find them in the field. The fluorescence is thought to serve as an ultraviolet sensitivity mechanism, perhaps allowing the scorpion to avoid damaging light levels.

Breeding behaviours

Females give birth to live young. The pale young scorpions are carried on their mothers back for the first few days or weeks, once the juveniles have had their first moult they usually disperse to find food and shelter for themselves.

Danger to humans

The sting can cause inflammation and pain for several hours, and medical advice should be sought.

References

  • Koch, LE 1977. The taxonomy, geographic distribution and evolutionary radiation of Australo-Papuan scorpions. Records of the Western Australian Museum 5(2):83–367.
  • Stockmann, Roland and Ythier , Eric 2010. Scorpions of the World. N.A.P. Editions, France.
  • Walker, K. L., Yen, A. L. and Milledge, G. A. 2003. Spiders and Scorpions commonly found in Victoria. Royal Society of Victoria: Melbourne.