01 October, 2015

Biogeography of the Malagasy genus Neogrosphus and a description of a new species

Only two species have been known in the endemic Malagasy genus Neogrosphus Lourenco, 1995 (Buthidae). Wilson Lourenco and co-workers have now discovered a third species.

Neogrosphus andrafiabe Lourenco, Wilme & Waeber, 2015

The article also sums up the biogeographical status of the genus and try to explain the genus' distribution in Madagascar.

The distributional patterns of Malagasy scorpions belonging to the endemic genus Neogrosphus Lourenco, 1995 are revised. Up to now only two species were known for this genus: Neogrosphus griveaudi (Vachon, 1969), restricted to the dry forests formations in the southern and western portions of Madagascar, and Neogrosphus blanci Lourenco, 1996 only known from the Massifs of the Central region. Diagnoses are proposed for the genus and known species and a new vicariant species is described from the Ankarana Massif. The actual range of distribution of the members of this genus is currently patchy and fragmented over a large area extending from subarid to subhumid bioclimates.Based on the eco-biogeographical analyses of the genus Neogrosphus, we formulate a global rule to explain species diversity and vicariance.

Lourenco WR, Wilme L, Waeber PO. More about the geographical distribution of the Malagasy genus Neogrosphus Lourenco, 1995 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) and description of a vicariant new species. C R Biol. 2015 Sep 1. [Subscription required for full text]

Family Buthidae

The first phylogenetic analysis of the genus Brachistosternus based on molecular and morphological data has been published

Brachistosternus Pocock, 1893 (Bothriuridae) is a very abundant taxa in most arid to semi-arid habitats of southern and western South America. Andres Ojanguren-Affilastro and co-workers have recently published the first phylogenetic analysis of Brachistosternus based on molecular and morphological data.

See abstract and article for further details.

A phylogenetic analysis of the scorpion genus Brachistosternus Pocock, 1893 (Bothriuridae Simon, 1880) is presented, based on a dataset including 41 of the 43 described species and five outgroups, 116 morphological characters and more than 4150 base-pairs of DNA sequence from the nuclear 18S rDNA and 28S rDNA gene loci, and the mitochondrial 12S rDNA, 16S rDNA, and Cytochrome c Oxidase Subunit I gene loci. Analyses conducted using parsimony, Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian Inference were largely congruent with high support for most clades. The results confirmed the monophyly of Brachistosternus, the nominal subgenus, and subgenus Ministernus Francke, 1985, as in previous analyses based only on morphology, but differed in several other respects. Species from the plains of the Atacama Desert diverged basally whereas the high altitude Andean species radiated from a more derived ancestor, presumably as a consequence of Andean uplift and associated changes in climate. Species limits were assessed among species that contain intraspecific variation (e.g., different morphs), are difficult to separate morphologically, and/or exhibit widespread or disjunct distributions. The extent of convergence in morphological adaptation to life on sandy substrata (psammophily) and the complexity of the male genitalia, or hemispermatophores, was investigated. Psammophily evolved on at least four independent occasions. The lobe regions of the hemispermatophore increased in complexity on three independent occasions, and decreased in complexity on another three independent occasions.

Ojanguren-Affilastro AA, Mattoni CI, Ochoa JA, Ramirez MJ, Ceccarelli FS, Prendini L. Phylogeny, species delimitation and convergence in the South American bothriurid scorpion genus Brachistosternus Pocock 1893: Integrating morphology, nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2015 Aug 28;94(Pt A):159-70. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Victor Fet and Andres Ojanguren for both sending me this article!

Family Bothriuridae

30 September, 2015

A revision of the North American genus Konetontli

Edmundo González-Santillán and Lorenzo Prendini have recently published a systematic revision of the North American syntropine vaejovid scorpions with a Subaculear Tubercle, Konetontli González-Santillán & Prendini, 2013 (Vaejovidae). Four new species are described from Mexico.

Konetontli ignes González-Santillán & Prendini, 2015*

Konetontli ilitchi González-Santillán & Prendini, 2015*

Konetontli juxtlahuaca González-Santillán & Prendini, 2015*

Konetontli migrus González-Santillán & Prendini, 2015*

In addition, Konetontli zihuatanejensis (Baldazo-Monsivaiz, 2003) is removed from synonymy with Konetontli acapulco (Armas and Martin-Frias, 2001) and reinstated as a valid species.

An identification key for the genus is presented.

The article also discuss the presence of a subaculear tubercle in vaejovid scorpions.

The Mexican vaejovid scorpion genus Konentontli Gonzalez-Santillan and Prendini, 2013, was created to accommodate five species united, among other characters, by a subaculear tubercle on the telson. Species of Konetontli are among the smallest vaejovid scorpions. Their very small size, cryptic coloration, and apparently seasonal surface activity may explain their rarity in collections and it is likely that more undescribed species await discovery. In the present contribution, we describe four new species (Konetontli ignes, sp. nov.; Konetontli ilitchi, sp. nov.; Konetontli juxtlahuaca, sp. nov.; Konetontli migrus, sp. nov.) and revalidate Konetontli zihuatanejensis (Baldazo-Monsivaiz, 2003), comb. nov., previously synonymized with Konetontli acapulco (Armas and Martı´n-Frı´as, 2001), raising to 10 the number of species in the genus; redescribe previously described species, including the first description of the female of Konetontli nayarit (Armas and Martin-Frias, 2001); and present new records, comprehensive distribution maps, and a key to the identification of the species.

González-Santillán E, Prendini L. Systematic Revision of the North American Syntropine Vaejovid Scorpions With a Subaculear Tubercle, Konetontli González-Santillán and Prendini, 2013. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 2015 (397):1-78. [Open Access]

Thanks to Edmundo González-Santillán for sending me his article!

25 September, 2015

Two new species of the enigmatic genus Gint from East Africa

Frantisek Kovarik and Tomas Mazuch have investigated new materials from East Africa and discovered two new species of Gint Kovarik, Lowe, Pliskova & Stahlavsky, 2013 (Buthidae).

Gint dabakalo Kovarik & Mazuch, 2015 (Somaliland)

Gint puntlandus Kovarik & Mazuch, 2015 (Somalia)

 The article provides an identification key for the genus.

We describe herein two new species, Gint dabakalo sp. n. from Somaliland and G. puntlandus sp. n. from Somalia (Puntland) (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Additional information is given on taxonomy and distribution of all four species of genus Gint Kovařík et al., 2013, fully complemented with color photos of live and preserved specimens, as well as their habitats. True male of G. calviceps is documented for first time, and validates original decisions to create separate genus Gint, and to transfer Buthacus calviceps Pocock, 1900, to that genus.

Kovarik F, Mazuch T. Review of the Genus Gint Kovařík et al., 2013, with Description of Two New Species from Somaliland and Somalia (Puntland) (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2015 (209):1-23. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

23 September, 2015

Two new buthids from Puerto Rico

Rolando Teruel and co-workers have recently described two new species in the family Buthidae from the island of Vieques, Greater Antilles, Puerto Rico.

Microtityus vieques Teruel, Rivera & Santos, 2015

Tityus alejandroi  Teruel, Rivera & Santos, 2015

A checklist of scorpions confirmed to occur in Puerto Rico (including Mona and excluding the Virgin Islands) is presented in the article.

Two new scorpion species of the family Buthidae are described herein: Microtityus vieques sp. n. (a member of the subgenus Parvabsonus Armas, 1974) and Tityus alejandroi sp. n. (belonging to the “quisqueyanus” species-group). Both were collected from pitfall traps in the Puerto Rican satellite island of Vieques, in the Greater Antilles, and the former represents the first official record of the occurrence there of the gens Microtityus Kjellesvig-Waering, 1966. As expected, the new species have their closest relatives in Puerto Rico. Fully illustrated descriptions and detailed comparisons are provided. Additionally, two other Puerto Rican species of Tityus currently not assigned to any group are herein formally transferred to the “quisqueyanus” species group: Tityus angelesae Santiago-Blay, 2009 and Tityus juliorum Santiago-Blay, 2009. After this contribution, the scorpion fauna of Puerto Rico is now composed of 19 species.

Teruel R, Rivera MJ, Santos CJ. Two new scorpions from the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, Greater Antilles (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2015 (208):1-15. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

16 September, 2015

Growth and maturation of a male Alloscorpiops wongpromi

Members of the Asian genus Alloscorpiops Vachon, 1980 (Euscorpiidae) are rare in collections and many species descriptions are based on one or a few specimens. Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers have now published a redescription of the male Alloscorpiops wongpromi Kovarik, Soleglad & Kosulic, 2013 based on a specimen raised in captivity.

The status of Alloscorpiops troglodytes Lourenço & Pham, 2015 is also discussed.

An adult male of Alloscorpiops wongpromi Kovařík et al., 2013  was raised from birth, and its five exuviae (instars 2  through  6)  were  compared  to  the  resulting  adult.  This  adult  was  contrasted  with  the  original  holotype  male  specimen,  which  was  determined  to  be  only  a  subadult  after  the  fifth  ecdysis.  The  hemispermatophore  of  A.  wongpromi is illustrated and described here for the first time. In addition to morphological analysis we also describe  the  karyotype  of  Alloscorpiops  wongpromi (2n=95).  Based  on  comparative  analysis  of  pectinal  tooth  counts,  it  is  determined that the holotype of  A. troglodytes Lourenço & Pham (2015)  represents a juvenile.

Kovarik F, Soleglad ME, Lowe G, Pliskova J, Stahlavsky F. Observations on Growth and Maturation of a Male Alloscorpiops wongpromi (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae). Euscorpius. 2015 (206):1-19. [Open Access]

Family Euscorpiidae

11 September, 2015

New data on Mesobuthus gibbosus distribution in the Balkan

Wiśniewski and Olech have recently published a paper with new distributional data for Mesobuthus gibbosus (Brulle, 1832) (Buthidae) in Montenegro. This is probably the northernmost record for this species in Europe.

A new locality close to northwestern boundary of the geographic range is reported for Mesobuthus gibbosus (Brullé, 1832), from Montenegro, Crmnica Region, near Virpazar (42º13' N 19º06' E)

Wiśniewski O, Olech B. A New Locality of Mesobuthus gibbosus (Brullé, 1832) from Montenegro (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2015(205):1-5. [Open Access]