Monday, May 24, 2010

Algeria (1997)

Date of issue: June 18th, 1997
Name of issue: Les scorpions (Scorpions)
Number of arachnid related stamps in issue: 2/2

Information from the postal services booklet that I have translated from French (please note that the information about the animals may or may not be accurate, I am simply re-typing the information).

I- Morphological characteristics of the most common scorpions

Scorpions are distinguished from other arachnidsby the venom glandlocated on the last segment of the tail, the telson.

The Androctonus australis hector scorpion or "man killer" is distinguised from Buthus occitanus tunetanus by it's size, reaching up to 10 cm at adulthood, while B. occitanus does not grow past 7,5 cm. The body is seperated into the cephalothorax and the abdomen. Buthus occitanus tunetanus is uniform brown overall and Androctonus australis hector is pale yellow, but not uniform all over since the coloration of it's thick tail is darker, specially at the level of ring 4 and 5 and the telson is black. The jaw-legs and the stinger of Androctonus australis hector are swollen-like, while the ones from Buthus occitanus tunetanus are thin. The stinger of Androctonus australis hector  is curved.

II- Habitat

Scorpions are generally nocturnal animals living in colonies, in warm countries. Some of them live in humid places. Others prefer desert regions. They are however able to adapt to different biotopes. In Algeria, they are distributed in the south of the Hauts plateaux.

III- Envenomation by scorpions caused anormous public health issues

Dangers for men are real and the fight against scorpion stings is an important public health problem in many of the most affected regions of Algeria. The most affected are in the south and in the Hauts plateaux (El-Bayadh, M'Sila, Laghouat, Béchar, Naâma, Ouargla, Biskra, Tamanrasset, Illizi, etc.)

The Ministry of Health and Population accounts in average 30000 stings per year, with roughly 100 of those being deadly. The number of people being stung is great during the warm season and the most affected people are in the age group between 13 and 30 years old.

In Algeria, the monitoring and the fight against this scourge is garenteed by the competent services of the Ministry of Health and Population.

Treatment of stung people is done by the injecttion of antivenom, produced by the Pasteur Institute in Algeria.

By collaborating with the other Pasteur Institues of the Maghreb and Paris, studies are currently in progress at the laboratory of research about venoms at the Pasteur Institute of Algeria. These studies are undertaken in order to improve the quality of the antivenom and a better serotherapy of stung victims.

We need also to mention that the fight against scorpion stings is also linked to improved habitat conditions, hygiene and life of the affected populations.

Michel #: 1183
Yvert #: 1135
order: Scorpiones
family: Buthidae
*Buthus tunetanus (Herbst, 1800)
Buthus occitanus tunetanus (on stamp)


Michel #: 1184
Yvert #: 1136
order: Scorpiones
family: Buthidae
Androctonus australis hector C.L. Koch, 1839


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