3 species occur in southern Africa. All species are characterized by lyre shaped markings on the carapace and three distinct longitudinal keels on the tergites. This genus is considered medically important as all of its members can inflict a very painful sting. Not as venomous of some Parabuthus sp.
These medium sized scorpion range from 20mm to 70mm in length. They are robust scorpions with stout appendages Each species is clearly distributed in different regions of southern Africa. Two species inhabit Namibia and the Northern Cape, the third species inhabits South Africa north of the Soutpansberg mountains and northwards into Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Zambia.
H. arenaceus often construct burrows 6 to 10cm deep into the sand at the base of bushes in sandy habitats. Colouration is pale orange-yellow, getting slightly darker towards the southern most populations. Females do not wander about and generally stay near or on vegetation. Males on the other hand are known to wander about at night, seeking shelter under different bushes during the day. This small (up to 43mm) species many be found crawling about on bushes at night when foraging. They lie in wait for small insects on vegetation. Since they inhabit arid areas, insects are attracted to such vegetation to feed. Due to their small size and cryptic colouration this species is best located using an ultraviolet light at night.
Another species, H. conspersus is a medium sized (up to 62mm) scorpion. It can be found sheltering under large rocks or boulders in sandy areas, under logs or under the bark of dead trees lying on the ground. Rocks and boulders are this species preferred habitat; trees are used an alternative. Dark yellow to brown in overall colouration. This species has been observed wandering about in the shade of trees during the day. In the northern parts of their range many females have almost smooth and shiny sternites.
The third and last southern Africa member is H. trilineatus.
Males of this genus are smaller and more slender than females. Males also have more bulbous hands. Members of this genus do not stridulate in any way. This Genus was previously named Buthotus.