The Deathstalker Scorpion is one of the deadliest scorpions in the world, and is listed as the second most venomous of scorpion species on the LD-50 (LD:50) chart. LD-50 means lethal dose in 50 percent of test animals. The lethal dose for the Deathstalker Scorpion is 0.16 to 0.50 mg/kg. Many scorpions are not significantly toxic to humans, contrary to popular belief, but this species is an exception to this rule.
The Deathstalker Scorpion is seen more often than one might expect in the pet trade. But it is not a scorpion for anyone who lacks significant experience in scorpion husbandry. This species can and will kill people if it is not handled correctly. Unfortunately inexperienced hobbyists have purchased this species and as a result of their lack of experience and knowledge fatalities have occurred. Additionally there are reports of hobbyists releasing this species after they realize that the Deathstalker is not an ideal pet for the average keeper. This species should never be released into a non-native area or where it can harm people or animals. Even experienced hobbyists have been injured by this species and no one should obtain a Deathstalker Scorpion without being aware of the risks. In addition to the potency of its venom this species is known to have an aggressive and nervous temperament, which makes it even more dangerous. With that being said, one of the most important things to remember when caring for this scorpion is to never loose respect for the potency of its venom. An escape-proof enclosure is a must. In the wild this species can be found in deep desert and scrubland regions. It should be noted that lot of inexperienced hobbyists consider acquiring the Deathstalker Scorpion because they want a highly aggressive scorpion, and they erroneously believe that since it is very toxic it must also be one of the most aggressive scorpions available. While it is true that this is an aggressive species, but it is not as aggressive as some other popular species including the Desert Hairy and Androctonus Australis. Both of these are significantly less potent, but are generally much more aggressive. It should also be noted that the quinquestriatus' attitude varies greatly by individual. Some may attack anything that moves, while others will hide and act timid.
The Deathstalker Scorpion can have different color mutations depending on the region from which it was obtained. One of the reasons this species is popular among hobbyists is because of its bright and attractive coloring. Unlike many other venomous scorpions, the Deathstalker has a thin cauda (tail) and thin pedipalps (claws), which makes it fairly easy to distinguish from some species. It is, however, often confused with Sand Scorpion (Buthacus arenicola). The Deathstalker Scorpion is a large species, which grows at a medium to fast pace and obtains an adult length of 3.5 to 4.5 inches on average.
The Deathstalker Scorpion has two subspecies Leiurus quinquestriatus hebraeus and Leiurus quinquestriatus quinquestriatus, and is known by several names including Egyptian Scorpion, Five-keeled Gold Scorpion, Yellow Scorpion and Israeli Yellow Scorpion (not to be confused with the Yellow Scorpion Tityus serrulatus which is significantly less toxic). Some people also refer to this species as the Arabian Deathstalker Scorpion, but the name Arabian Deathstalker Scorpion usually refers to the Giant Arabian Deathstalker (Apistobuthus Pterygocerus), which is a completely different scorpion. This species is native to parts of Northern and Southwestern African as well as parts of the Middle East. It is especially common in Egypt. A new Leiurus species has been discovered in 2002, and its taxonomy is Leiurus jordanensi. This species is native to Jordan, but there is not much other information available at this time.
The toxin of the Deathstalker Scorpion is a neurotoxin that can quickly cause a number of signs and symptoms. Some of these include coma, convulsions, fever, elevated heart rate and blood pressure. Additionally fluid secretion to the lungs and bronchioles is increased. Death typically occurs by either heart or respiratory failure. These same neurotoxins produced by the Deathstalker Scorpion, which can so quickly produce death in humans, are now being tested to treat disease. One such potential treatment is for a disease called Glioma, which is a currently untreatable form of brain cancer. In addition other parts of these neurotoxins may be used for treatment of diabetes in the future.