Parabuthus transvaalicus, P. granulatus, and P. villosus are three medically important scorpion species occurring in southern Africa which can cause severe envenoming among people. In contrast to many other genera, no data is available on the venom composition of scorpions belonging to the genus Parabuthus. Here we have investigated the components which may contribute to the venomous potential. The constancy of venom composition within each of the three species and between the three species was investigated by means of gel filtration chromatography. The venoms of the three species each were characterized by a constant and typical elution pattern, resulting in a 'gel filtration fingerprint' which allows distinction between each species. It appears that certain components in the venoms are common to either all three species, or to two of the three species. This points to a clear interspecies relationship within the genus. We also describe the isolation and characterization of some of the polypeptide toxins present in the venoms of P. villosus, P. transvaalicus and P. granulatus by means of reversed phase chromatography and screening of the toxic components on voltage-activated potassium and sodium channels. Our results confirm that toxins which inhibit potassium channels and alter sodium channel gating are present in the venoms studied.