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The Deathstalker Scorpion’s Venom Is The Most Expensive Liquid On The Planet—Here’s Why

Wow.
deathstalker scorpion, deathstalker venom, deathstalker cancer

The venom from the deathstalker scorpion is now thought to be a treatment for brain cancer. Photographed at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County on Wednesday, August 23, 2006. (Photo by Stephen Osman/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

There are few times when anyone is actually glad to come upon a scorpion. With loathsome pincers and painful venom, the creatures are widely regarded as terrifying and sometimes even deadly.

But in the case of the Deathstalker scorpion, its venom is proving to be quite useful—so useful that it’s become the most expensive liquid on the planet.

At $39 million for a single gallon, the sums paid for the venom make other expensive liquids like oil and fine liquor seem cheap. What’s more, an entire gallon isn’t easy to come by. Most Deathstalkers only release millimeters of the venom at a time, so the process is long and hazardous.

But the venom’s potential justifies the price, with many of its components setting the stage for a number of revelatory scientific breakthroughs.

Watch Business Insider‘s scoop below:

The potential profit has some joking about starting their own Deathstalker farm.

But the benefits of the Deathstalker venom are no laughing matter. Chlorotoxins in the liquid are ideal for binding with cancer cells in the brain, allowing researchers to more precisely identify the size and scope of tumors and malignant cell clusters without sacrificing healthy tissue.

Other components in the venom are helping fight everything from malaria to bone disease.

As the uses for the venom continue to grow, researchers are trying to find a more efficient way of gathering the venom, which is almost always extracted by hand.

But being one of the most dangerous scorpions in the world, extracting the venom brings a wealth of hazards.

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  • Evan Brechtel

    Evan is a writer and editor based in New York. In addition to his work with Second Nexus, he freelan... keep reading

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