23 April, 2015

Two new species of Euscorpius from Central-Western Greece

As seen in previous blog postings, the scorpion fauna of Europe is increasing. This is especially the case for the genus Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 (Euscorpiidae). The existence of cryptic species complexes and lack of specimens from many areas have made the progress of research into this interesting genus slow. Gioele Tropea and Victor Fet have now published two new species from Central-Western Greece, increasing the number of species in this country to 21.

Euscorpius giachinoi Tropea & Fet, 2015

Euscorpius vailatii Tropea & Fet, 2015

Two new Euscorpius species are described, based on specimens collected by P.M. Giachino & D. Vailati in central-western Greece in neighboring Aitoloakarnania (Western Greece) and Fokida (Central Greece) regional units. No Euscorpius specimens were previously available from this area. The first new species, Euscorpius giachinoi sp. n., is very similar to a recently described E. birulai Fet et al., 2014 from Euboea Island, and is also characterized by a low trichobothrial count (Pv = 7, et = 5), a low pectinal teeth count (Dp = 7 in males, 6 in females), and long-limbed features. The second species, E. vailatii sp. n., is widely found in the studied area, and it is characterized by a high trichobothrial and pectinal teeth count (Pv = 9–11, et = 6–8; Dp = 9–10 in males, 7–8 in females).

Tropea G, Fet V. Two New Euscorpius Species from Central-Western Greece (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae). Euscorpius. 2015 (199):1-16. [Open Access]

Family Euscorpiidae

21 April, 2015

The medical risk of Hottentotta saulcyi

Hottentotta saulcyi (Simon, 1828) (Buthidae) is distributed in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Turkey. Ersen Yagmur and co-workers have conducted a study to determinate if this species is potentially medical important in Turkey.

A LD50 value of 0.73 mg/kg was determinated, and based on the lethal potency in mice, it is concluded that H. saulcyi must be considered a risk for humans in the southeastern regions of Turkey.

Background: In this study, we investigated the lethal potency, electrophoretic protein pattern and in vivo effects of Hottentotta saulcyi scorpion venom in mice.
Methods: Scorpions were collected at night, by using a UV lamp from Mardin Province, Turkey. Venom was obtained from mature H. saulcyi scorpions by electrical stimulation of the telson. The lethality of the venom was determined by i.v. injections using Swiss mice. In vivo effects of the venom were assessed by using the intraperitoneal route (ip) injections into mice (20±1g) and monitored for 24 h. The protein profiles of the scorpion venom were analyzed by NuPAGE® Novex® 4–12 % gradient Bis-Tris gel followed by Coomassie blue staining.
Results: The lethal assay of the venom was 0.73 mg/kg in mice. We determined the electrophoretic protein pattern of this scorpion venom to be 4, 6, 9, 31, 35, 40, 46 and 69 kDa by SDS-PAGE. Analysis of electrophoresis indicated that H. saulcyi scorpion intoxicated mice exhibited autonomic nervous system symptoms (tachypnea, restlessness, hyperexcitability, convulsions, salivation, lacrimation, weakness).
Conclusions: Hottentotta saulcyi scorpion venom includes short-chain neurotoxins and long-chain neurotoxins according to the electrophoretic protein patterns. The stings of H. saulcyi scorpion must be considered of risk for humans in the southeastern region, Turkey.

Yagmur EA, Ozkan O, Karaer KZ. Determination of the median lethal dose and electrophoretic pattern of Hottentotta saulcyi (Scorpiones, Buthidae) scorpion venom. Journal of Arthropod-Borne Diseases. 2015;9(2):238-45. [Open Access]

15 April, 2015

A new species of Scorpiops from China

Shijin Yin and co-workers recently published an article with a new species of Scorpiops Peters, 1861 (Euscorpiidae) from China.

Scorpiops ingens Yin, Qiu, Pan, Li & Di, 2015

 The article also presents an updated identification key for the species.

A new species, Scorpiops ingens sp. n., from Xizang, is described and illustrated. Scorpiops ingens sp. n. is characterized by yellow-brown color, large size (length of adults above 70.0 mm), small and dense granules on tegument, a pair of small median eyes, 17 external trichobothria (5 eb, 2 esb, 2 em, 4 est, 4 et), and 7 or 8 (usually 7) ventral trichobothria in the pedipalp patella, chela with a length/width ratio average of 2.2 in males and females, pedipalp chela fingers on adult females and males scalloped, pectinal teeth count 6–8, pectinal fulcra absent. With the description of this new species, the number of known species of Scorpiops from China is raised to 12. An updated identification key to Scorpiops from China is presented.

Yin S, Zhang Y, Pan Z, Li S, Di Z. Scorpiops ingens sp. n. and an updated key to the Scorpiops from China (Scorpiones, Euscorpiidae, Scorpiopinae). ZooKeys. 2015;495:53-61. [Open Access]

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for sending me this article!

Family Euscorpiidae

14 April, 2015

A new species of Chaerilus from China

Shijin Yin and co-workers have recently described a new species of Chaerilus Simon, 1877 (Chaerilidae) from China.

Chaerilus pseudoconchiformus Yin, Qiu, Pan, Li & Di, 2015

The article has an identification key for the genus in China.

A new species, C. pseudoconchiformus sp. n., is described from Xizang, China. The new species is distinguished from its congeners by a body length of 32−40 mm, carapace with the anterior margin straight, chela with length/width ratio average of 3.3 in males (3.2−3.4, two adults), and 2.5 in females (2.3−2.6, nine adults), eight or nine (eight usually) rows of denticles on fixed and movable fingers of pedipalp chelae, five pectinal teeth in males and three or four in females. To date, the chaerilid species fauna of China consists of nine species. An updated identification key to Chaerilus from China is presented.

Yin S, Qiu Y, Pan Z, Li S, Di Z. Chaerilus pseudoconchiformus sp. n. and an updated key of the chaerilid scorpions from China (Scorpiones, Chaerilidae). ZooKeys. 2015;495:41-51. [Open Access]

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for sending me this article!

Family Chaerilidae

Two new species of Euscorpiops from Thailand and Myanmar

Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers have recently described two new species of Euscorpiops Vachon, 1980 (Euscorpiidae) from Asia.

Euscorpiops artemisae Kovarík, Kosulic, Stahlavsky, Dongkhamfu & Wongprom 2015 (Myanmar)

Euscorpiops orioni Kovarík, Kosulic, Stahlavsky, Dongkhamfu & Wongprom 2015 (Thailand)

The article has an updated identification key for the genus.

Euscorpiops artemisae sp. nov. from Myanmar and Euscorpiops orioni sp. nov. from Thailand are described and compared with other species of the genus Euscorpiops Vachon, 1980. A key to the species of Euscorpiops is provided. Sexual dimorphism is present, as males of some species have a narrower pedipalp chela than females, while in other species the shape of the chela is the same in both sexes. Males of both new species have the pedipalp chela very narrow, in the male holotype of E. artemisae sp. nov. the chela length to width ratio is 4.13 and in the male holotype of E. orioni sp. nov. it is 4.58. In addition to morphological analysis, we describe also the karyotype of male holotype and paratype of E. orioni sp. nov. Both analyzed specimens have achiasmatic meiosis and the same number of chromosomes (2n=103) with predominance of acrocentric chromosomes gradually decreasing in size. During the first meiotic division we observed one trivalent in both males. This type of multivalent indicates centric fusion or fissions that may cause the differentiation of the karyotypes within the genus Euscorpiops.

Kovarik F, Kosulic O, Stahlavsky F, Pliskova J, Dongkhamfu W, Wongprom P. Two new species of Euscorpiops Vachon, 1980 from Thailand and Myanmar (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae: Scorpiopinae). Annales Zoologici. 2015;65(1):109-22. [Subscritpion required for full text]

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for sending me this article!

Family Euscorpiidae

09 April, 2015

A new Centruroides species from The Dominican Republic

Rolando Teruel and co-workers have recently described a new species of Centruroides Marx, 1890 (Butidae) from Southern Hispaniola, The Dominican Republic.

Centruroides lucidus Teruel, Armas & Kovarik, 2015

The new species probably also inhabits Haiti.

We describe herein a new species of buthid scorpions, Centruroides lucidus sp. n., from southwestern Dominican Republic
(Pedernales and Barahona Provinces), in the Greater Antillean island of Hispaniola. It is most similar to Centruroides nitidus
(Thorell, 1876) and Centruroides bani Armas & Marcano, 1987 (both of which occur together with it along the same general
area), against which a very detailed comparison is provided. The new species is fully illustrated with color photos of habitus,
key diagnostic morphological characters, and habitat.

Teruel R, De Armas LF, Kovarik F. A New Species of Centruroides Marx, 1890 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Southern Hispaniola, Greater Antilles. Euscorpius. 2015 (198):1-18. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

24 March, 2015

Venom spraying in scorpions

It is well known that scorpions use venom in prey capture and defense. This is normally done by injecting venom thought the scorpion's stinger. It is less known that a few species also can spray venom up 50 cm away. This behavior has only been reported from seven species in the South African genus Parabuthus Pocock, 1890 (Buthidae). It has been assumed that the venom spraying behavior has an anti-predator effect against potential predators of scorpions. Getting venom spray into the eyes is probably also harmful for humans, as many Parabuthus scorpions are of medical importance.

Nissani and Hayes have now published a very interesting analysis of the venom spraying behavior in Parabuthus transvaalicus Purcell, 1899, a medical important species from South Africa. Their study supported the hypothesis that that P. transvaalicus modulates venom spraying depending on level of threat. The authors argue that venom spraying increase the likelihood that venom makes contact with sensitive tissues of the predator, particularly its eyes. The authors believe that there is a possibility that scorpions modulate the quantity of venom expelled during spraying, but this requires further investigations.

Many animals use chemical squirting or spraying behavior as a defensive response. Some members of the scorpion genus Parabuthus (family Buthidae) can spray their venom. We examined the stimulus control and characteristics of venom spraying by Parabuthus transvaalicus to better understand the behavioral context for its use. Venom spraying occurred mostly, but not always, when the metasoma (tail) was contacted (usually grasped by forceps), and was absent during stinging-like thrusts of the metasoma apart from contact. Scorpions were significantly more likely to spray when contact was also accompanied by airborne stimuli. Sprays happened almost instantaneously following grasping by forceps (median = 0.23 s) as a brief (0.07 - 0.30 s, mean = 0.18 s), fine stream (< 5 * arc) that was not directed toward the stimulus source; however, rapid independent movements of the metasoma and/or telson (stinger) often created a more diffuse spray, increasing the possibility of venom contact with the sensitive eyes of potential scorpion predators. Successive venom sprays varied considerably in duration and velocity. Collectively, these results suggest that venom spraying might be useful as an antipredator function and can be modulated based on threat.

Nisani Z, Hayes WK. Venom-spraying behavior of the scorpion Parabuthus transvaalicus (Arachnida: Buthidae). Behavioural Processes. 2015 Mar 3;115:46-52. [Subscription required for full text]