The Deathstalker (Leiurus quinquestriatus), is a species of scorpion, a member of the Buthidae family. It is also known as an Omdurman scorpion, or Israeli desert scorpion. The name Leiurus quinquestriatus roughly translates to “five-striped smooth-tail”. Other species of the genus Leiurus are often referred to as “deathstalkers” as well.
The Deathstalker is straw yellow in color, and can grow 3.5 to 4.5 inches (9 to 11.5 cm) in length. It is of a slight build compared to other scorpions, with a long thin tail and slender pedipalps. A dark segment on the tail is sometimes faint or even missing, which can complicate identification.
Most scorpions have a life span of two to six years.
Deathstalker scorpions are very small often tan or reddish colored with small weak pincers. The stinger tip and pincer tips can be darker, almost black colored. Females are larger than males to accommodate reproductive tasks.
Deathstalker scorpions can be found (if one is foolhardy enough to look for one) in dry desert areas and dry scrublands in northern Africa and the Middle East. It prefers a dry climate, and makes its home in natural burrows or under stones.
Scorpions may capture their prey with their pincers but in the case of the Deathstalker, the pincers are fairly weak so a sting must be administered quickly.
The size of the pincers of a scorpion can be a good measure of the potency of its venom. Scorpions with large, powerful pincers have no need for powerful toxins. Scorpions with small, weak pincers need to have strong poisons to subdue their prey and ward off enemies.
The Deathstalker scorpion has the strongest poison of any scorpion. If stung, a person will experience extreme pain, convulsions, paralysis and even death due to heart and respiratory failure.