Scorpionism and Dangerous Scorpions in Central America and the Caribbean Region

  • Adolfo Borges
Reference work entry
Part of the Toxinology book series (TOXI, volume 4)


This chapter assesses scorpionism and noxious scorpions in Central America and the Caribbean area, scarcely surveyed previously despite the presence of potentially dangerous scorpions of the genera Centruroides and Tityus, family Buthidae. In Central America, most scorpion stings in Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama are caused by Centruroides spp. which are mildly toxic to humans, including C. edwardsii, C. granosus, and C. gracilis, with the highest regional morbidity corresponding to Panama. Lethal Tityus species from Panama are T. asthenes, T. festae, T. pachyurus, T. cerroazul, and T. championi, the last three shared with Costa Rica, where at least one death has been reported. In the West Indies, T. trinitatis, endemic to Trinidad and Tobago, is the only species accountable for human deaths. In the Greater Antilles, synanthropic species are responsible for mild accidents, such as C. gracilis and Rhopalurus junceus (Cuba), C. insulanus (Jamaica), C. griseus (Puerto Rico/Virgin Islands), C. margaritatus (Jamaica/Cuba), and probably C. nitidus (Hispaniola). In the Lesser Antilles, mild envenomations are produced by C. barbudensis and C. testaceus. The regional distribution of scorpions, and scorpionism thereof, is the result of physiographic, environmental, and anthropic factors. The latter have contributed with extinction of Lesser Antillean Tityus spp., which niches are now occupied by opportunistic Centruroides spp., whereas the former explains the phylogenetic and toxinological relatedness of Panamanian/Costa Rican and Trinidad/Tobago Tityus spp. to congeners from northern South America.


Dominican Republic Virgin Island Scorpion Venom Cayman Island Scorpion Sting 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Molecular Biology of Toxins and Receptors, Institute of Experimental Medicine, Faculty of MedicineCentral University of VenezuelaCaracasVenezuela

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