11 November, 2019

A fatal case of Jaguajir rochae scorpion sting in Brazil due to allergic reaction

Death and serious morbidity are known from scorpion stings from a few species, especially in the family Buthidae. Most of not all cases are caused by the toxic effect of the venom. Serious morbidity caused by allergic reactions to the venom is known from many venomous animals, but rarely reported in scorpions.

Iva Maria Lima Araújo Melo and co-workers have recently reported about a fatal case in Brazil where a man died after been stung by Jaguajir rochae (Borelli, 1910) Buthidae). This species was formerly in the genus Rhopalurus Thorell, 1876. Sting of Jaguajir/Rhopalurus have been considered mildly, and the few case reports that exist describe a mild course.

The present case had a very rapid course and the patient died before arriving to a hospital. All factors point to an allergic reactions as cause of death. The patient had a history of allergic reactions attributed to bee stings, and a cross reaction may explain why this patient develop such serious symptoms. Previously, a death from anaphylaxis due to a sting from Centruroides exilacauda has been reported from USA.

In conclusion, even though it is probably rare, sting from assumed harmless species may cause life-threatening allergic reactions. Especially in peoples with allergies.

A 44-year-old healthy farmer, was stung by a scorpion on his right hand while preparing soil for planting in the Caatinga area (a large area in the north-east of Brazil characterized by semiarid scrub forest), in the Catarina Municipality countryside, Ceará State, Brazil. According to the reports of carers and family members, the patient initially reported mild pain at the site of the sting, but within a few minutes he developed malaise, pruritus in the body and throat, edema in the nostrils, and a dry mouth which led to looking for water to drink. It rapidly evolved into sphincter, urinary and fecal release, salivation and a convulsive episode with loss of the senses. He was dead on arrival at Catarina Municipality Hospital emergency department. The necroscopic report indicated suffocation due to glottal edema and acute lung edema as the “cause of death”. The animal which caused the accident was under a rock that the patient was manipulating at the time of the incident, and has been identified by experts as Jaguajir rochae (Borelli, 1910) scorpion species, formerly synonymized Rhopalurus rochae. This is the first report of a fatality due to an allergic reaction to the venom of this species. This leads to the possibility that deaths caused by stings from other scorpion species may be due to anaphylaxis, whose symptoms in some situations may be confused with severe envenomation.

Melo IMLA, Ramalho RD, Bezerra MMV, de Oliveira Filho IE, Medeiros CR, da Costa Gadelha MA, et al. Fatal anaphylaxis to Jaguajir rochae (borelli, 1910) (Scorpiones, Buthidae) in Brazil: A case report. Journal of Tropical Pathology. 2019;48(3):1-8. [Open Access]

06 November, 2019

A new species of Centruroides from Mexico

Edmundo Gonzalez-Santillan and co-workers have recently published a new species of Centruroides Marx, 1890 (Buthidae) from Colima, Mexico.

Centruroides possanii Gonzalez-Santillan, Galan-Sanchez & Valdez-Velazquez, 2019

As part of an ongoing survey of scorpion diversity in Colima, Mexico, the isolated mountain Cerro Grande, part of the Biosphere Reserve Sierra de Manantla´ n, was investigated. Centruroides possanii sp. nov., the fifth species of the genus from the state, was discovered during fieldwork in the massif and is described in the present paper. Physiographical and climatic features of Cerro Grande may restrict the range of this new species; thus, we hypothesized that it may be a microendemic species that requires priority conservation. The new species is not assigned to any Centruroides species group recognized because some of its morphological features do not fit the current diagnosis of any of these groups, and these different groups are non-monophyletic and consequently ill-diagnosed. The new species is profusely illustrated, particularly the hemispermatophore. A distribution map is presented along with the other two more common species distributed in Colima. Because only indirect data on the potency of its venom is available, the medical importance of this new species described here is yet to be known.

Gonzalez-Santillan E, Galan-Sanchez MA, Valdez-Velazquez LL. A new species of Centruroides (Scorpiones, Buthidae) from Colima, Mexico. C R Biol. 2019. Available online 31.10.19. [Subscription required for full text]

Family Buthidae

01 November, 2019

A new species of Kochius from Arizona, USA

Richard Ayrey and co-workers have recently published a description of a new species of Kochius Soleglad & Fet, 2008 (Vaejovidae) from southern Arizona, USA.

Kochius colluvius Ayrey, Jones & Myers, 2019

A new scorpion species, Kochius colluvius sp. n. is described (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae). This small brown species is found in the Avra Valley near Tucson, Arizona, USA. It appears to be most similar to Kochius sonorae (Williams, 1971) and K. hirsuticauda (Banks, 1910). On all fingers examined, the fixed finger has 6 ID denticles and the movable finger has 7. There is no scalloping of the chela fingers. This species differs from all other vaejovids in Arizona by having a coarsely granulated exoskeleton.

Ayrey RF, Jones LLC, Meyers B. A new species of Kochius from Avra Valley, southern Arizona (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae). Euscorpius. 2019(292):1-13. [Open Access]

Family Vaejovidae

23 October, 2019

New information on Euscorpius feti from the Balkans

Gioele Tropea and Roman Ozimec have recently published an article with new information on Euscorpius feti Tropea, 2013 (Euscorpiidae). The adult male is described for the first time. In addition, the occurrence of E. feti in cave habitats (especially the habitat of cave entrance) is discussed.

The adult male of Euscorpius feti Tropea, 2013 (Euscorpiidae) is described for the first time. A large series (45 specimens including the type material) has been studied, most of the material previously unpublished. E. feti has been found in as many as 17 caves in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, including the Adriatic islands, which makes it the most common Euscorpius species so far found in caves. Ecological notes on this species are presented.

Tropea G, Ozimec R. Description of the adult male of Euscorpius feti Tropea, 2013 (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae), with notes on cave ecology of this species. Euscorpius. 2019(291):1-10. [Open Access]

Family Euscorpiidae

22 October, 2019

The daily activity of two intraguild predators, Tityus pusillus and Ananteris mauryi

How to eat and how to avoid being eaten naturally have a great impact on the behavior of scorpions, especially if two or more species inhabit the same habitat/niche (intraguild predation).

Welton Dionisio-da-Silva and co-workers have now published a study on the daily activity of two intraguild predators, Tityus pusillus Pocock, 1893 and Ananteris mauryi Lourenço, 1982 (both Buthidae), and looked for differences in behavior in the presence and absence of each other. Not surprisingly, the presence of a potential predator in the habitat changed the behavior of a potential prey, and vica versa. See abstract and full article for further details.

Intraguild predators can have behavioral mechanisms to maximize foraging and/or avoid predation. However, there is a lack of information about the influence of such prey-predator interactions on the daily activity of the species involved. Therefore, we investigated the daily activity of two intraguild predators, Tityus pusillus Pocock, 1893 and Ananteris mauryi Lourenço, 1982, in the presence and absence of each other. Animals were observed in three experimental conditions, containing individuals of T. pusillus (control 1), A. mauryi (control 2), and both species (treatment). In addition, we evaluated the correlation between the number of active individuals with air temperature and humidity. Our results showed that T. pusillus and A. mauryi have similar daily activity between 18:00 and 05:00 h. However, T. pusillus was more active and shifted from a sit-and-wait hunting mode to actively hunting when in the presence of A. mauryi. In contrast, under predation risk, A. mauryi did not change its level of activity but became more vigilant by reducing the frequency of rest, hydration, and mating attempts. Activity of A. mauryi was positively correlated with air humidity whereas activity of T. pusillus was negatively correlated. This work highlights the influence of intraguild predators in the behavioral decisions during daily activities of each other, indicating adaptive behaviors in both prey and predator.

Dionisio-da-Silva W, de Araujo Lira AF, de Albuquerque CMR. Prey-predator interactions between two intraguild predators modulate their behavioral decisions. Acta Ethologica. 2019:1-7 (Published online 12. September 2019).

Thanks to Welton Dionisio-da-Silva for sending me their article!

18 October, 2019

Five new Parabuthus species from Somaliland and Ethiopia

Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers recently published part 21 in their ongoing article series on the scorpion fauna in the Horn of Africa. In their latest article, they look further into Parabuthus heterurus Pocock, 1897 (Buthidae) and conclude that this is actually a species complex consisting of four species (three new species). In addition, two more new species are described from Somaliland.

Parabuthus erigavoensis Kovarik, Lowe, Elmi & Stahlavsky, 2019 (new species from Somaliland).

Parabuthus kabateki Kovarik, Lowe, Elmi & Stahlavsky, 2019 (new species from Somaliland).

Parabuthus mazuchi Kovarik, Lowe, Elmi & Stahlavsky, 2019 (new species from Somaliland).

Parabuthus robustus Kovarik, Lowe, Elmi & Stahlavsky, 2019 (new species from Ethiopia and Somaliland).

Parabuthus somalilandus Kovarik, Lowe, Elmi & Stahlavsky, 2019 (new species from Somaliland).

Parabuthus terzanii Rossi, 2017 is synonymized with Parabuthus hamar Kovařík et al., 2016. The former was never listed in The Scorpion Files.

New data on the distribution of Parabuthus of the Horn of Africa are given and an identification key for the genus in the same area is available.

The complex of Parabuthus heterurus Pocock, 1897 is split into four species: P. heterurus Pocock, 1897 s. str. whose type locality and real distribution are discussed and corrected, and three herein described species, P. kabateki sp. n., P. robustus sp. n. and P. somalilandus sp. n. In the species complex of Parabuthus liosoma (Ehrenberg, 1828), P. erigavoensis sp. n. from Somaliland is described. Also described are P. mazuchi sp. n., sympatric with P. cimrmani Kovařík, 2004 and P. eritreaensis Kovařík, 2003 from Somaliland. New data are presented on the distribution of the genus Parabuthus Pocock, 1890 in the Horn of Africa, mainly in Somaliland, acquired during expeditions in 2017–2019. Information is provided about Parabuthus species from Somaliland, their taxonomy, distribution, and ecology, fully complemented with color photos of live and preserved specimens, as well as their habitats. The hemispermatophores of P. kabateki sp. n., P. mazuchi sp. n., P. robustus sp. n. and P. somalilandus sp. n. are illustrated and described. In addition to the analyses of external morphology and hemispermatophores, we also described the karyotypes of P. kabateki sp. n., P. robustus sp. n., and P. somalilandus sp. n. All three species have karyotypes with 2n=16 and chromosomes gradually decreasing in length. Included is a key to Parabuthus Pocock, 1890 in the Horn of Africa. Parabuthus terzanii Rossi, 2017 is synonymized with Parabuthus hamar Kovařík et al., 2016 syn. n. as a junior synonym because the description dated July 2016 was in reality published/accessible in March 2017.

Kovarik F, Lowe G, Elmi HSA, Stahlavsky F. Scorpions of the Horn of Africa (Arachnida: Scorpiones). Part XXI. Parabuthus (Buthidae) (Part II), with description of five new species from Somaliland and Ethiopia. Euscorpius. 2019(290):1-63. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

17 October, 2019

Description of the female of Diplocentrus lachua from Guatemala

Rony E. Trujillo and co-workers have recently published a description of the adult female of the species  Diplocentrus lachua  (Diplocentridae) from Guatemala. Information of the known distribution of all described Guatemalan Diplocentrus species is also presented.

The female of the scorpion Diplocentrus lachua Armas, Trujillo & Agreda, 2011 is herein described, on the basis of a single specimen collected at Parque Nacional Laguna Lachuá, Alta Verapaz Department, Guatemala, type locality for this species. An emended diagnosis is provided and the known distribution of all described Guatemalan Diplocentrus species is graphically presented.

Trujillo RE, de Armas LF, Gaitan CA. Description of the adult female of Diplocentrus lachua (Scorpiones: Scorpionidae: Diplocentrinae) from northeastern Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. Euscorpius. 2019(289):1-9. [Open Access]

Family Diplocentridae