20 November, 2020

A new species of Pandinurus from Somaliland and a couple of restored species from synonymization


 Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers recently published an article with the description of a new species of Pandinurus Fet, 1997 (Scorpionidae) from Somaliland.

Pandinurus awalei Kovarik, Lowe & Elmi, 2020

The authors also discuss a couple of the synonymizations done by Prendini & Loria (2020) in their recent revision of parts of the family Scorpionidae. Their conclusion is that Pandinurus intermedius (Borelli, 1919) is restored from synonymy with Pandinurus citernii (Borelli, 1919) and Pandipalpus lowei (Kovařík, 2012) is restored from synonymy with Pandipalpus viatoris (Pocock, 1890).

Abstract:
A new species Pandinurus awalei sp. n. is described from Somaliland. The male of Pandiborellius somalilandus (Kovařík, 2012) is also described for the first time and sexual dimorphism of the species is defined. The habitus, morphology and habitats of both species are illustrated in detail with color and UV fluorescence images, including both live and preserved specimens. The species Pandinurus intermedius (Borelli, 1919) and Pandipalpus lowei (Kovařík, 2012) of Pandininae that were synonymized by Prendini & Loria (2020) are reinstated as valid species.

Reference:
Kovarik F, Lowe G, Elmi HSA. Scorpions of the Horn of Africa (Arachnida: Scorpiones). Part XXV. Description of Pandinurus awalei sp. n. and the male of Pandiborellius somalilandus (Kovařík, 2012), with remarks on recent synonymies (Scorpionidae: Pandininae). Euscorpius. 2020(322):1-21. [Open Access]

Family Scorpionidae

 

18 November, 2020

Systematic revision of the Asian Forest Scorpions (Heterometrinae simon, 1879) with many taxonomical changes in the family Scorpionidae

 


As I posted in a previous blog post, Lorenzo Prendini and Stephanie Loria published a huge systematic revision of the Asian Forest Scorpions (Heterometrinae Simon, 1879) in October. This revision is mainly focused on the genus Heterometrus Ehrenberg, 1828  which is split into several new genera, but has also taxonomical decisions for other taxa in Scorpionidae.

Here are some of the main higlights from this impressive work.

Rugodentidae Bastawade et al., 2005 is raised to family status (from subfamily status) including the genus Rugodentus Bastawade et al., 2005.



Pandinopsis Vachon, 1974. Raised to genus status.



Pandipalpus Rossi, 2015. Raised to family status.


Chersonesometrus Couzijn, 1978. Raised to genus status.

Chersonesometrus bastawadei
Prendini & Loria, 2020. New species from India.

Chersonesometrus hendersoni
Prendini & Loria, 2020. New species from India.

Chersonesometrus nathanorum Prendini & Loria, 2020. New species from India.

Chersonesometrus shivashankari Prendini & Loria, 2020. New species from India.



Deccanometrus Prendini & Loria, 2020. New genus.

Deccanometrus obscurus
(Couzijn, 1981). Raised to species status.


Gigantometrus Couzijn, 1978. Raised to genus status.



Javanimetrus Couzijn, 1981. Raised to genus status.



Sahyadrimetrus Prendini & Loria, 2020. New genus.

Sahyadrimetrus mathewi Prendini & Loria, 2020. New species from India.

Sahyadrimetrus rugosus (Couzijn, 1981). Raised to species status.

Sahyadrimetrus tikaderi Prendini & Loria, 2020. New species from India.



Srilankametrus Couzijn, 1981. Raised to genus status.

Srilankametrus couzijni
Prendini & Loria, 2020. New species from India.

Srilankametrus pococki Prendini & Loria, 2020. New species from Sri Lanka.

There are also several new combinations (species transferred from Heterometrus to one of the new genera) and synonymizations for many species in this article. I will refer to the abstract and appendix 4 (p. 479) in the article for a list of these as it will be too extensive  to list all of these here. Also check out the Scorpionidae family page to see the alle the new taxa and their content.

The article has several identification key for the relevant taxa in Scorpionidae.

Abstract:
[Due to lack of time I have omitted italics for species and genus names as this had to be done manually]
The genera and species of the Asian forest scorpions (Scorpionidae Latreille, 1802) are revised  based on a phylogenetic analysis of 186 morphological characters and 4188 base pairs of concatenated DNA sequence from three mitochondrial loci and two nuclear loci. Revision of the Asian  scorpionids required a critical reappraisal of the suprageneric classification of Scorpionidae, on  the basis of which the monotypic Indian scorpionoid genus, Rugodentus Bastawade et al., 2005, stat.  rev., and its type species, Rugodentus keralaensis Bastawade et al., 2005, stat. rev., are  revalidated, and subfamily Rugodentinae Bastawade et al., 2005, revalidated and elevated to the  rank of fam- ily, Rugodentidae Bastawade et al., 2005, stat. nov. et stat. rev.; Heterometrinae  Simon, 1879, stat. nov., and Opistophthalminae Rossi, 2016, stat. nov., are elevated to the rank of  subfamily; Pandi­ nopsis Vachon, 1974, stat. nov., and Pandipalpus Rossi, 2015, stat. nov., are  elevated to the rank of genus, resulting in two new combinations: Pandinopsis dictator (Pocock,  1888), comb. nov., and Pandipalpus viatoris (Pocock, 1890), comb. nov.; and 10 new synonyms are  presented: Pandinopsini Rossi, 2016 = Pandininae Thorell, 1876, syn. nov.; Protophthalmini Rossi,  2016 = Opistoph- thalminae Rossi, 2016, syn. nov.; Protophthalmus Lawrence, 1969 = Opistophthalmus  C.L. Koch, 1837, syn. nov.; Pandinoides (Dunlopandinoides) Rossi, 2016 = Pandinoides Fet, 2000,  syn. nov.; Pandinurus (Pandicaporiaccous) Rossi, 2015 = Pandiborellius Rossi, 2015, syn. nov.;  Buthus defensor C.L. Koch, 1837 = Pandinurus gregoryi (Pocock, 1896), syn. nov.; Buthus heros C.L. Koch, 1837 = Pandinurus exitialis (Pocock, 1888), syn. nov.; Pandinus lowei Kovařík, 2012 = Pandipalpus viatoris  (Pocock, 1890), syn. nov.; Pandinurus (Pandipalpus) pygmaeus Rossi, 2015 = Pandipalpus viatoris  (Pocock, 1890), syn. nov.; Pandinus intermedius Borelli, 1919 = Pandinurus citernii (Borelli,  1919), syn. nov. The following revisions are implemented to the classification of the Asian forest scorpions (Heterometrinae). Three former subgenera of Heterometrus Ehrenberg, 1828 are revalidated  and elevated to the rank of genus: Chersonesometrus Couzijn, 1978, stat. nov. et stat. rev.;  Javanimetrus Couzijn, 1981, stat. nov. et stat. rev.; and Srilankametrus Couzijn, 1981, stat. nov.  et stat. rev. One subgenus is elevated to the rank of genus: Gigantometrus Couzijn, 1978, stat.  nov. Two new genera and eight new species are described: Deccanometrus, gen. nov.; Sahyadrimetrus,  gen. nov.; Cher­ sonesometrus bastawadei, sp. nov.; Chersonesometrus hendersoni, sp. nov.;  Chersonesometrus natha­ norum, sp. nov.; Chersonesometrus shivashankari, sp. nov.; Sahyadrimetrus mathewi, gen. et sp. nov.; Sahyadrimetrus tikaderi, gen. et sp. nov.; Srilankametrus couzijni, sp.  nov.; Srilankametrus pococki, sp. nov. Heterometrus sensu stricto is restricted to eight species of  the nominotypical subgenus, all other species, formerly placed in Heterometrus, are transferred to  appropriate genera, five species are revalidated, and two subspecies elevated to the rank of  species, resulting in 28 new combinations: Chersonesometrus beccaloniae (Kovařík, 2004), comb.  nov.; Chersonesometrus fulvipes (C.L. Koch, 1837), comb. nov.; Chersonesometrus madraspatensis  (Pocock, 1900), comb. nov.; Chersonesometrus pelekomanus (Couzijn, 1981), comb. nov. et stat. rev.;  Chersonesometrus tristis (Henderson, 1919), comb. nov.; Chersonesometrus wroughtoni (Pocock, 1899),  comb. nov.; Deccanometrus bengalensis (C.L. Koch, 1841), comb. nov.; Deccanometrus latimanus  (Pocock, 1894), comb. nov.; Deccanometrus liurus (Pocock, 1897), comb. nov.; Deccanometrus obscurus  (Couzijn, 1981), comb. et stat. nov.; Dec­ canometrus phipsoni (Pocock, 1893), comb. nov.;  Deccanometrus ubicki (Kovařík, 2004), comb. nov.; Deccanometrus xanthopus (Pocock, 1897), comb.  nov.; Gigantometrus swammerdami (Simon, 1872), comb. nov.; Gigantometrus titanicus (Couzijn, 1981),  comb. nov. et stat. rev.; Heterometrus glaucus (Thorell, 1876), comb. nov. et stat. rev.;  Heterometrus laevigatus (Thorell, 1876), comb. nov. et stat. rev.; Heterometrus silenus (Simon,  1884), comb. nov. et stat. rev.; Javanimetrus cyaneus (C.L. Koch, 1836), comb. nov.; Sahyadrimetrus  barberi (Pocock, 1900), comb. nov.; Sahyadrimetrus kanarensis (Pocock, 1900), comb. nov.;  Sahyadrimetrus rugosus (Couzijn, 1981), comb. et stat. nov.; Sahyadrime­ trus scaber (Thorell,  1876), comb. nov.; Srilankametrus caesar (C.L. Koch, 1841), comb. nov. et stat. rev.;  Srilankametrus gravimanus (Pocock, 1894), comb. nov.; Srilankametrus indus (DeGeer, 1778), comb. nov.; Srilankametrus serratus (Pocock, 1900), comb. nov; Srilankametrus yaleensis (Kovařík et al., 2019), comb. nov. Twenty-seven new synonyms are presented: Scorpio leioderma Dufour, 856 = Sahyadrimetrus scaber (Thorell, 1876), syn. nov.; Palamnaeus costimanus var. β borneensis Thorell, 1876 = Heterometrus longimanus (Herbst, 1800), syn. nov.; Palamnaeus liophysa Thorell, 1888 = Heterometrus longimanus (Herbst, 1800), syn. nov.; Palamnaeus oatesii Pocock, 1900 = Heterometrus petersii (Thorell, 1876), syn. nov.; Palamnaeus swammerdami flavimanus Pocock, 1900 = Gigantometrus swammerdami (Simon, 1872), syn. nov.; Heterometrus liophysa var. madoerensis Kopstein, 1921 = Heterometrus glaucus (Thorell, 1876), syn. nov.; Heterometrus laevifrons Roewer, 1943 = Heterometrus glaucus (Thorell, 1876), syn. nov.; Heterometrus (Chersonesometrus) granulomanus Couzijn, 1981 = Srilankametrus caesar (C.L. Koch, 1841), syn. nov.; Heterometrus (Heterometrus) liophysa separatus Couzijn, 1981 = Heterometrus glaucus (Thorell, 1876), syn. nov.; Heterometrus (Heterometrus) liophysa spartanicus Couzijn, 1981 = Heterometrus glaucus (Thorell, 1876), syn. nov.; Heterometrus (Heterometrus) longimanus bengkalitensis Couzijn, 1981 = Heterometrus longimanus (Herbst, 1800), syn. nov.; Heterometrus (Heterometrus) longimanus marmoratus Couzijn, 1981 = Heterometrus longimanus (Herbst, 1800), syn. nov.; Heterometrus (Heterometrus) petersii mindanaensis Couzijn, 1981 = Heterometrus silenus (Simon, 1884), syn. nov.; Heterometrus (Heterometrus) spinifer solitarius Couzijn, 1981 = Heterometrus spinifer (Ehrenberg, 1828), syn. nov.; Heterometrus (Srilankametrus) indus laevitensus Couzijn, 1981 = Srilankametrus indus (DeGeer, 1778), syn. nov.; Heterometrus (Heterometrus) keralaensis Tikader and Bastawade, 1983 = Sahyadrimetrus rugosus (Couzijn, 1981), syn. nov.; Heterometrus cimrmani Kovařík, 2004 = Heterometrus laevigatus (Thorell, 1876), syn. nov.; Heterometrus mysorensis Kovařík, 2004 = Chersonesometrus tristis (Henderson, 1919), syn. nov.; Heterometrus nepalensis Kovařík, 2004 = Deccanometrus bengalensis (Pocock, 1900), syn. nov.; Heterometrus rolciki Kovařík, 2004 = Sahyadrimetrus scaber (Thorell, 1876), syn. nov.; Heterometrus sejnai Kovařík, 2004 = Javanimetrus cyaneus (C.L. Koch, 1836), syn. nov.; Heterometrus tibetanus Lourenço et al., 2005 = Deccanometrus bengalensis (Pocock, 1900), syn. nov.; Heterometrus liangi Zhu and Yang, 2007 = Heterometrus silenus (Simon, 1884), syn. nov.; Heterometrus telanganaensis Javed et al., 2010 = Deccanometrus xanthopus (Pocock, 1897), syn. nov.; Heterometrus atrascorpius Mirza et al., 2012 = Chersonesometrus beccaloniae (Kovařík, 2004), syn. nov.; Heterometrus minotaurus Plíšková et al., 2016 = Heterometrus laevigatus (Thorell, 1876), syn. nov.; Heterometrus bastawadei Rossi, 2016 = Rugodentus keralaensis Bastawade et al., 2005, syn. nov. Another 25 synonyms by previous authors are confirmed, for a total of 51 synonyms in subfamily Heterometrinae. Revised diagnoses with comparative images, and a key and distributional atlas of the genera and species are provided, along with a summary of available data for their ecology and conservation status, where applicable.

Reference:
Prendini L, Loria SF. Systematic revision of the Asian Forest Scorpions (Heterometrinae simon, 1879), revised suprageneric classification of Scorpionidae latreille, 1802, and revalidation of Rugodentidae Bastawade et al., 2005. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 2020(442):1-480. [Open Access]

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for sending me this article.

Family Scorpionidae

16 November, 2020

Two new species of Chaerilus from southern Asia

 

Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers have recently published an article describing two new species of Chaerilus Simon, 1877 (Chaerilidae) from Laos and Thailand.

Chaerilus kautti Kovarik, Lowe, Stockmann & Stahlavsky, 2020 (Thailand)

Chaerilus pulcherrimus Kovarik, Lowe, Stockmann & Stahlavsky, 2020 (Laos)

Abstract:
Chaerilus kautti sp. n. from Thailand and C. pulcherrimus sp. n. from Laos are described and fully illustrated with color photographs of live and preserved specimens. C. kautti sp. n. is characterized by the unique combination of two characters: movable finger of pedipalp with 11 imbricated rows of granules; and pedipalp chela length/width ratio in male 4.55. C. pulcherrimus sp. n. is characterized by the unique combination of four characters: movable finger of pedipalp with 8 imbricated rows of granules; total length 16–19 mm; pedipalp chela length/width ratio in male 2.57, in female 2.69; and sternite VII smooth. In addition to analysis of external morphology and hemispermatophores, we also specify the number of chromosomes of both species: C. kautti sp. n. (2n=118) and C. pulcherrimus sp. n. (2n=102).

Reference:
Kovarik F, Lowe G, Stockmann M, Stahlavsky F. Two new Chaerilus from Thailand and Laos (Scorpiones: Chaerilidae). Euscorpius. 2020(324):1-20. [Open Access]

Family Chaerilidae

13 November, 2020

Life history aspects of the buthid scorpion Tityus forcipula from Colombia


 Knowledge of the life history of an animal is important and for scorpions there are very few life history studies that cover most of the lives of a species. In a recent article Michael Seiter and co-workers present a study of the embryonic and post-embryonic development of Tityus forcipula (Gervais, 1843) (Buthidae) from Colombia under different climate regimes in the laboratory (which may follow the climate changes the world is now experiencing).

The results showed that  T. forcipula reared under laboratory conditions was not able to thrive under constant higher temperatures. This may be an indication that this species will be vulnerable for an increase in temperature due to global warming.

Abstract:
Observations on the entire life history of scorpion species are uncommon, and these studies primarily focus on postembryonic development. So far, little is known on how changes in temperature or humidity could affect communities of scorpions. Here, we present data on the embryonic and postembryonic development of Tityus forcipula (Gervais, 1843), a scorpion living in the Colombian Central Cordillera that was subjected to different climate regimes. For a comparative approach, one group was raised under lower conditions (23–248C) and another group was raised under higher temperatures (25–278C, meaning a 2–38C increase). Our results clearly demonstrate that T. forcipule reared under laboratory conditions is not able to thrive under constant higher temperatures. A minority of the latter group (, 10%) reached adulthood, but never reproduced. Of the 43 specimens kept under lower temperatures (with a mild diapause), 21 females and 19 males reached maturity in the 5th instar; only one female and two males required an extra molt to mature. Tityus forcipula specimens reached maturity after 463 days of postembryonic development. The average for embryonic development was 208 days, with an average of 12 neonates per litter. Twenty-four different morphometric measurements were taken from all specimens for each exuvium of the juveniles and the adult stage. The results indicated a relationship albeit partly poorly developed, between the sexes, in several measured structures and the instars.

References:
Seiter M, Friedl N, Cozijn MA. Life history aspects of the buthid scorpion Tityus forcipula (Gervais, 1843) with remarks on its thermal limits. The Journal of Arachnology. 2020;48(2):161-8.[Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Michael Seiter and Michiel Cozijn for sending me their article!

 

Characterization of aspects of fluorescence in the exoskeleton of scorpions


Scorpions glow (fluorescence) when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. At present, the biological functionality –if any– of this intriguing fluorescence is unknown and awaits further investigation.

Daniel López-Cabreraa and co-workers recently published an article investigating some aspects of fluorescence in the exoskeleton of 24 species of scorpions. The study suggests that the intensity of fluorescence is heterogeneous throughout the scorpion's exoskeleton (some parts fluoresce more intensely than other). Also, they conclude that fluorescence may correlate directly to the ecomorphotype of the scorpions.

Abstract:
Scorpions are a mesodiverse and nocturnal group of arachnids inhabiting most biomes worldwide. Different species of scorpions have divergent adaptations to the substrate they live in, but most of them share an intriguing characteristic: their exoskeleton contains fluorophores that emit blue-greenish fluorescence under ultraviolet radiation. Although there are some reports in the literature on the study of fluorescence in scorpions, the biological functionality of this light emission is currently unknown and is under debate. In this work, the properties of emission from the scorpion's exoskeleton are studied by means of digitally processed photographs taken of living specimens under ultraviolet illumination and complemented with standard spectroscopic measurements of emission and excitation spectra. With the aim of identifying possible correlations between the fluorescence, the characteristics color of the exoskeleton and the biology of the scorpions, 4 families, 9 genera and 24 species were studied. Our results suggest that the intensity of fluorescence is heterogeneous throughout the scorpion's exoskeleton studied here in such a way that pedipalps and metasomal segments fluoresce more intensely than the mesosomal segments. The spectrum of fluorescence across species is practically identical, suggesting that the same fluorophores are present in their exoskeletons. However, the fluorescence intensity emitted by each species varies according to their characteristic color (associated with the exoskeleton optical reflectance). Since the coloration of the exoskeleton is determined by the concentration of melanin and other pigments according to the substrate where scorpions live in, we conclude by suggesting that fluorescence may correlate directly to the ecomorphotype of the scorpions.

Reference:
López-Cabrera D, Ramos-Ortiz G, González-Santillán E, Espinosa-Luna R. Characterization of the fluorescence intensity and color tonality in the exoskeleton of scorpions. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology. 2020;209:111945. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Edmundo González Santillán for sending me their article!

 

06 November, 2020

Two new species in the genus Chiromachetes from India


 
Shauri Sulakhe and several co-workers recently published an article presenting two new species in the small genus Chiromachetes Pocock, 1899 (Hormuridae) from India, raising the number of species in the genus to five.

Chiromachetes parakrami Sulakhe, Deshpande, Dandekar, Ketkar, Gowande, Padhye & Bastawade, 2020

Chiromachetes ramdasswamii Sulakhe, Deshpande, Dandekar, Ketkar, Gowande, Padhye & Bastawade, 2020

Abstract:
Two new species of Chiromachetes Pocock, 1899 (Hormuridae) are described from the northern Western Ghats of India using an integrated taxonomic approach. Chiromachetes parakrami sp. n. and C. ramdasswamii sp. n. are closely related and differ from each other and C. sahyadriensis by morphological features and raw genetic divergence of 7.9–9.4 %.

Reference:
Sulakhe S, Deshpande S, Nikhil D, Ketkar M, Gowande G, Padhye A, et al. Two new species of Chiromachetes (Scorpiones: Hormuridae) from the northern Western Ghats, India. Euscorpius. 2020(320):1-27. [Open Access]

Family Hormuridae

04 November, 2020

A new study on scorpion life history traits and the effect of different feeding regimes

 


There is not much published on the life history traits in scorpions and especially on the influence of different feeding regimes. Michael Seiter and co-workers have recently published a study investigating the embryonic and postembryonic development in the species Tityus neibae Armas, 1999 (Buthidae) exposed to different feeding regimes. 

The results indicated a strong relationship between different feeding regimes, sex, morphometrics and life stages. Se abstract or article for further details.

Abstract:
Scorpions often experience food shortages, yet information on their baseline nutritional input is lacking. In many life histories, there is a trade-off between adult size and development time that is interrelated with food availability. We present precise data on the influence of two different feeding regimes that affect development in the buthid scorpion Tityus neibae. The results indicate a strong relationship between the treatment group, sex, morphometrics and life stages. The different diet inputs had no influence on the embryonic development or the litter size but had a major effect on the postembryonic development time and on the life stage when individuals reached maturity. No females or males reached maturity by the 4th instar when fed every two weeks and only males that were fed weekly were able to reach maturity by the 4th. Thus, a trade-off in T. neibae males is apparent, since they can reach maturity earlier in life, resulting in an overall smaller body size that may reduce the risk of predation. By contrast, females may have been selected to reach full development with an overall larger body size that results in an increase in the fitness, the number, or the size of the offspring.

Reference:
Seiter M, Mosetig L, Milasowszky N. The trade-off between adult size and development time due to different feeding regimes in the scorpion Tityus neibae. Invertebrate Reproduction & Development. 2020:1-7. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Michael Seiter for sending me their article!