Tityus falconensis is a small brick red scorpion native to parts of Tropical Venezuela. They are approximately 2-2.5 inches in length. This species has been in European collections for several years and has just entered the US Hobby about 2 years ago. The specimans in the hobby are apparently decendants of a few collected in Venezuala several years back. In captivity they seem to thrive and are prolific breeders if the conditions are right.
Since the only specimens in the hobby now are captive born and bred, usually the ones being sold are early instars so I will begin with raising the young. When starting out, it is best to get at least 5 early instars with 10 or more being even better. This increases the likelihood of having at least 1 breeding pair when they become adults. Due to the fact that they have a relative short lifespan of about 2 years it will be neccessary to breed your own in order to keep a colony going.
This species being from the tropics will appreciate humid conditions. The young should be housed in separate vials in order to avoid cannibalism. The 50 Dram vials available from Thorton Plastics make really nice containers to keep the young in. It is best to fill each vial about 1/3 of the way up with slightly moist peat moss. This species does not burrow but the deeper substrate will help keep the container humid. When the substrate becomes a little dry the hobbyist should pour just enough water to make it thoroughly moist again. Making it too soggy will be harmful to the scorpion. It is also very important to supply a verticle climb which can be corkbark or any piece of wood. The reason for this is that during molting they often molt while hanging upside down from the climb. Without a climb, many will die during molting.
The young can mature in as little as 8 months if fed well and the temps are good. Generally they do really well at temps in the low 80sF. The young should be fed frequently around 2-3 times a week. Both adults and young will eagerly feed on crickets and small roaches. It is also important to note that the hobbyist should always inspect the vials the day after feeding in order to see if any uneaten remains are in the container. In humid conditions the uneaten remains will attract mites, phorid flies etc.
The babies will grow fast and by the time they are adult can be moved to a bigger container. The adults can be kept in large groups. Housing can be very simple. I usually keep all mine in plastic Sterlite or Rubbermade boxes. These boxes work much better than the Kritter Keepers available in Pet Shops because you can drill small holes around the box which reduces ventilation thus keeping the environment more humid. The "open" covers on the Kritter Keepers let the substrate dry out too fast. As with the vials for the early instars, a deep layer of slightly moist peat moss is needed. Also needed are stacks of cork bark or pieces of dead bark from local trees as long as they are free of pesticides and other chemicals. The stacks of bark are needed as this species is a climber.
Determining the sex of this species can be a little difficult. The pectinal tooth count method doesnt apply to this species as the tooth count of both sexes generally overlap. As a general rule the adult males are much thinner than the females
Male T falconensis
Female T falconensis
The males will mature at 5th instar (4 molts) whereas the females mature at 6th instar (5 molts). So naturally the males will mature a little quicker than the females. Adults will usually get along fine as long as they are fed well. They will also breed. One mating is all it takes for a female to have up to 3 broods about 2.5-3 months apart. Usually there are from 10-30 young with each brood.
A few days after giving birth it is a good idea to gently coax the Mother into a deli cup with slightly moist peat. The purpose of this is to make collecting the babies easier. When the babies leave the Mother in the larger adult enclosure they can be difficult to find due to all the bark stacked in the enclosure. The babies will molt a few days after birth and will stay on the Mother's back up to a week after that. Only after they have separated from the parent on their own should they be collected and rehoused in the vials.