21 October, 2014

A new species of Rhopalurus from Brazil

Wilson Lourenco has described a new species of Rhopalurus Thorell, 1876 (Buthidae) from the northeast of Brazil in a recent publication.

Rhopalurus brejo Lourenco, 2014

A new species, Rhopalurus brejo sp. n. (Buthidae) is described from a ‘Brejo’ formation located in the ‘Chapada do Araripe’, in the State of Ceará, Brazil. The new species is morphologically similar to other Rhopalurus species and, in particular to Rhopalurus lacrau Lourenço & Pinto da Rocha, which is distributed in the more southern arid formations of the State of Bahia, Brazil. The observed pattern of distribution suggests a case of a vicariant species between northern and southern populations in Northeast of Brazil.

Lourenco WR. The genus Rhopalurus Thorell, 1876 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) in northeast Brazil; a possible case of a vicariant species. Acta Biologica Paranaense, Curitiba. 2014;43(1-2):69-76.

Thanks to professor Lourenco for sending me his paper!

Family Buthidae

Kolotl - A new genus from Mexico

Carlos Santibanez-Lopez and co-workers have done phylogenetic analysis of the diverse genus Diplocentrus Peters, 1861 (Scorpionidae) from Mexico. Based on these results, two species of this genus was found to be special and a removal from Diplocentrus was justified. The genus Kolotl Santibanez-Lopez, Francke & Prendini, 2014 is created to accommodate the two species, Kolotl magnus (Beutelspacher and López-Forment, 1991) and Kolotl poncei (Francke and Quijano-Ravell, 2009).

The monophyly and phylogenetic position of Diplocentrus Peters, 1861, has remained ambiguous since the first published phylogenetic analysis of diplocentrid relationships, in which it was rendered paraphyletic by the placement of exemplar species from two other diplocentrid genera, Bioculus Stahnke, 1968, and Didymocentrus Kraepelin, 1905. The discovery of two diplocentrids with neobothriotaxic pedipalps, Diplocentrus magnus Beutelspacher and López- Forment, 1991, and Diplocentrus poncei Francke and Quijano-Ravell, 2009, from the central Mexican states of Guerrero and Michoacán, respectively, raised further questions about the limits of Diplocentrus. A recent phylogenetic analysis of 29 species of Diplocentrus and five exemplar species of the most closely related genera, based on 95 morphological characters and 4202 aligned nucleotides from DNA sequences of five markers in the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes, recovered the monophyly of Diplocentrus, excepting two neobothriotaxic species from central Mexico, justifying their removal from Diplocentrus. In the present contribution, Kolotl, n. gen. is created to accommodate the two species, Kolotl magnus (Beutelspacher and López-Forment, 1991), n. comb., and Kolotl poncei (Francke and Quijano-Ravell, 2009), n. comb., and both are redescribed.

Santibanez-Lopez CE, Francke OF, Prendini L. Kolotl, n. gen. (Scorpiones: Diplocentridae), a New Scorpion Genus from Mexico. American Museum Novitates. 2014 (3815):1-28.[Free full text]

Thanks to Dr. Santibanez-Lopez for sending me his paper.

Family Scorpionidae

20 October, 2014

A review of the genus Leiurus with several new species

The medical important genus Leiurus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Buthidae) is widespread across North Africa, the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula. For many years only one species was known in the genus, but in the last decade a couple of new species have been described.

Graeme Lowe, Ersen Yagmur and Frantisek Kovarik have now published a major review of Leiurus. Existing species are redescribed and the following taxonomical changes have been made.

Leiurus arabicus Lowe, Yagmur & Kovarik, 2014 (New species from Saudi Arabia).

Leiurus brachycentrus (Ehrenberg, 1829) (New status, restored from synonymy).

Leiurus haenggii Lowe, Yagmur & Kovarik, 2014 (New species from Oman, Saudi Arabia and Yemen).

Leiurus heberti Lowe, Yagmur & Kovarik, 2014 (New species from Oman).

Leiurus hebraeus (Birula, 1908) (New status, elevated from subspecies status. Previous name Leirurus quinquestriatus hebraeus (Birula, 1908).

Leiurus macroctenus Lowe, Yagmur & Kovarik, 2014 (New species from Oman).

Leiurus nasheri Kovarik, 2007 (Synonymized with L. brachycentrus).

An updated identification key for the genus is provided. Biogeography of the genus is also discussed.

The taxonomy of buthid scorpions belonging to the genus Leiurus Ehrenberg, 1828 is reviewed. Four new species are described from the Arabian Peninsula: L. macroctenus sp. n. from coastal fog deserts in Oman; L. haenggii sp. n. from mountains of the Red Sea coast, Hadramaut and Dhofar, in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Oman; L. arabicus sp. n. from the central Najd Plateau and eastern plains in Saudi Arabia; and L. heberti sp. n. from Jabal Samhan in Oman. L. brachycentrus (Ehrenberg, 1829) stat. n. from the Tihamah plain of the Red Sea coast in Saudi Arabia and Yemen is restored from synonymy and redescribed. Leiurus nasheri Kovařík, 2007 was found to be a junior synonym of L. brachycentrus stat. n. L. quinquestriatus hebraeus (Birula, 1908) is elevated to species level as L. hebraeus (Birula, 1908) stat. n. Revised diagnoses are given for L. quinquestriatus (Ehrenberg, 1828), L. abdullahbayrami Yağmur, Koç et Kunt, 2009, L. jordanensis Lourenço, Modrý et Amr, 2002, and L. hebraeus (Birula, 1908). Key characters used to diagnose and separate species include morphometrics, granulation, tricho-bothriotaxy, tarsal setation, dentition of metasomal carinae and color pattern. Detailed illustrations are provided and the affinities and biogeography of the genus are discussed.

Lowe G, Yagmur EA, Kovarik F. A Review of the Genus Leiurus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) with Description of Four New Species from the Arabian Peninsula. Euscorpius. 2014 (191):1-129. [Free full text]

Family Buthidae

14 October, 2014

Three new species of Euscorpius from Greece

Gioele Tropea and co-workers have recently published a new paper with a further analysis of the scorpion fauna of Greece. In this paper, three new species of Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 (Euscorpiidae) are described. The validity of the new taxa is confirmed both morphologically and by multiple DNA markers.

Euscorpius kinzelbachi Tropea, Fet, Parmakelis, Kotsakiozi & Stathi, 2014 (Mt. Olympus at the eastern border between Thessaly and Central Macedonia).

Euscorpius stahlavskyi Tropea, Fet, Parmakelis, Kotsakiozi & Stathi, 2014 (Epirus in the northwestern Greece).

Euscorpius vignai Tropea, Fet, Parmakelis, Kotsakiozi & Stathi, 2014 (Karpathos and Kasos Islands (eastern Aegean Sea)).

Three new species of the genus Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 are described from Greece: E. stahlavskyi sp.n. from Epirus in the northwestern Greece; E. kinzelbachi sp.n. from Mt. Olympus at the eastern border between Thessaly and Central Macedonia, and E. vignai sp.n. from Karpathos and Kasos Islands (eastern Aegean Sea). Species-level divergence of these taxa is also confirmed by multiple DNA markers in Parmakelis et al. (2013).

Tropea G, Fet V, Parmakelis A, Kotsakiozi P, Stathi I. Three new species of Euscorpius (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae) from Greece. Euscorpius. 2014 (190):1-22. [Free full text]

Family Euscorpiidae

08 October, 2014

A new species of Grosphus from Southwestern Madagascar

Wilson Lourenco is the leading expert on the scorpion fauna of Madagascar, which he has studied for several decades. Madagascar has a high scorpion diversity with a majority of the species being endemic for the island. In a recent paper, professor Lourenco has described a new species of the endemic genus Grosphus Simon, 1880 (Buthidae) from Southwestern Madagascar.

Grosphus magalieae Lourenco, 2014

The article also has description, habitat information and an identification key for the other species of Grosphus found in Southwestern Madagascar.

The South-Western portion of Madagascar appears to have one of the highest levels of scorpion diversity on the island. In this paper is presented an analysis of the known species of Grosphus Simon, 1880 from this region. Information on ecological aspects of the species is also given. A new species is also described from the region of Cap Sainte Marie, an area where micro-endemic patterns can be observed. The new species is characterized by a medium size with a total length of 50.3 mm. General coloration yellow to pale yellow without dark zones on body and appendages. Carapace yellow with an anterior reddish-orange zone, approximately forming an inverted triangle. Anterior margin of carapace strongly granular. Male pectines with 36-36 teeth. Fixed and movable fingers of pedipalps with 12-13 oblique rows of granules.

Lourenco WR. The genus Grosphus Simon, 1880 in South-Western Madagascar, with the description of a new species (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Zoosystema. 2014;36(3):631-45. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Professor Lourenco for sending me his article!

Family Buthidae

03 October, 2014

Analysis of the phylogeny of the vaejovid subfamily Syntropinae

Edmundo Gonzalez-Santillan & Lorenzo Prendini published last year a major redefinition and generic revision of the North American vaejovid scorpion subfamily Syntropinae Kraepelin, 1905 (Vaejovidae). They have now published a follow-up study with a rigorous analysis of the phylogeny of Syntropinae based on morphology, mitochondrial and nucelar DNA, confirming the conclusions of their 2013 study.

The first rigorous analysis of the phylogeny of the North American vaejovid scorpion subfamily Syntropinae is presented. The analysis is based on 250 morphological characters and 4221 aligned DNA nucleotides from three mitochondrial and two nuclear gene markers, for 145 terminal taxa, representing 47 species in 11 ingroup genera, and 15 species in eight outgroup genera. The monophyly and composition of Syntropinae and its component genera, as proposed by Soleglad and Fet, are tested. The following taxa are demonstrated to be para- or polyphyletic: Smeringurinae; Syntropinae; Vaejovinae; Stahnkeini; Syntropini; Syntropina; Thorelliina; Hoffmannius; Kochius; and Thorellius. The spinose (hooked or toothed) margin of the distal barb of the sclerotized hemi-mating plug is demonstrated to be a unique, unambiguous synapomorphy for Syntropinae, uniting taxa previously assigned to different subfamilies. Results of the analysis demonstrate a novel phylogenetic relationship for the subfamily, comprising six major clades and 11 genera, justify the establishment of six new genera, and they offer new insights about the systematics and historical biogeography of the subfamily, and the information content of morphological character systems.

Gonzalez-Santillan E, Prendini L. Phylogeny of the North American vaejovid scorpion subfamily Syntropinae Kraepelin, 1905, based on morphology, mitochondrial and nuclear DNA. Cladistics. 2014;Early View 1. October:1-65. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Dr. Gonzalez-Santillan for sending me their paper!

Family Vaejovidae

24 September, 2014

Updated info on the males of three species of Tityus

The description of males in population of scorpions is an important contribution, not only as regards taxonomic knowledge of the species, but also to enable understanding of its reproductive strategy. In a recent paper, Maria Dulcineia Sales dos Santos and co-workers describe the male of T. kuryi Lourenco, 1997 for the first time and report new records of T. serrulatus and T. stigmurus males, widening the known distribution of their sexual populations. The latter two species also have several populations in Brazil that are parthenogenetic.

The male of Tityus kuryi Lourenço, 1997 is described for the first time. Despite being very similar to the female, the male presents more robust metasomal segments. Additionally, the distribution of the sexual populations of another two species of the T. stigmurus complex is reported herein: T. serrulatus Lutz & Mello, 1922 and T. stigmurus (Thorell, 1877). Males of T. serrulatus were, until now, restricted to the Minas Gerais State (Southwestern region of Brazil), and with new records reported here, its known distribution now encompasses the Northeastern region of Brazil. Males of T. stigmurus were previously recorded only for two municipalities in the State of Bahia, and here we present eight new records for Bahia State and one for Pernambuco State. We present a key to related species of the T. stigmurus complex based on morphology and coloration pattern.

Dos Santos MD, Porto TJ, Lira-da-Silva RM, Brazil TK. Description of the male of Tityus kuryi Lourenco, 1997 and notes about males of Tityus stigmurus (Thorell, 1877) and Tityus serrulatus Lutz & Mello, 1922 (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Zookeys. 2014 (435):49-61. [Free full text]