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LEXICON

 

 

maengpong (แมงป่อง)

Thai for ‘scorpion’. Having eight legs and no wings, these venomous, predatory arthropods officially belong to the invertebrate category of maeng, though they are sometimes erratically called malaengpong, thus placing them unjustly in the category of malaeng, i.e. invertebrates with only  6 legs. Scorpions belong to the class of Arachnida, i.e. joint-legged invertebrates, which includes all spiders, with the Greek word arachne (άράχνη) meaning spider. Among the estimated 11-18 (depending on the source) species of scorpion found in Thailand are the Asian Forest Scorpion (Heterometrus spinifer), known in Thai as maengpong pah asia (แมงป่องป่าเอเชีย), maengpong yak (แมงป่องยักษ์) or maeng ngao (แมงเงา), meaning ‘Asian forest scorpion’, ‘giant scorpion’ and ‘shadow scorpion’ respectively, the latter perhaps referring to its photophobic nature or its preferred habitat, i.e. out of the sun, due to its aversion to sunlight; the Asian Giant Black Forest Scorpion (Heterometrus longimanus); and the very aggressive species Vietnamese Forest Scorpion (Heterometrus laoticus - fig.), which is known in Thai as maengpong chang (แมงป่องช้าง), i.e. ‘elephant scorpion’, and that in Thailand is mainly found in Isaan. Scorpions prefer shady places and often dwell underneath forest litter, though during the day, they may also hide in burrows, the entrance of which they will defend against foreign intruders with their huge pincers (fig.). When in the open and threatened, scorpions will curl their tail up forward in defense (fig.), in a way similar to when killing prey while hunting. Also transcribed maeng pong. See also scorpion orchid (fig.) and Water Scorpion. See also WILDLIFE PICTURES.