28 May, 2015

A new species in the rare genus Cicileus from Libya


The desert Sahara in North Africa hosts a lot of scorpions species. Among these are a few genera with limited distributions, representing endemic elements in the region. The rare genus Cicileus Vachon, 1948 (Buthidae) is one of them. Wilson Lourenco and Andrea Rossi have now discovered the third species in the genus from Libya.

Cicileus latellai Lourenco & Rossi, 2015

The biogeography of the genus is also discussed.

Abstract:
New considerations are proposed on the enigmatic genus Cicileus Vachon, 1948 (Scorpiones, Buthidae) and a new species Cicileus latellai sp. .n. is described from Libya based on one female and one male, collected respectively from Wadi Teshuinat and Tin Alkoum (Jabal Akakus), both in the Fezzan Province. The genus Cicileus was previously only known by two species, Cicileus exilis (Pallary, 1928) from Djanet in Algeria, and cicileus cloudsleythompsoni Lourenco, 1999 from Niger. At present, the number of species is raised to three and the distribution of the genus enlarged to Algeria, Niger and Libya.

Reference:
Lourenco WR, Rossi A. New considerations on the genus Cicileus Vachon, 1948 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) and descritpion of a new species from Libya. Arachnida - Rivista Arachnologica Italiana. 2015;1(1):22-37.

Thanks to Andrea Rossi for sending me this article!

Family Buthidae

27 May, 2015

A redescription of the male of Megacormus granosus


Even though many species are described many years ago, their descriptions may be inadequate and not following today's taxonomical standards. Edmundo González-Santillán1 and Fernando Alvarez-Padilla have recently published a paper redescribing the male of Megacormus granosus (Gervais, 1844) (Euscorpiidae).

Abstract:
The male of Megacormus granosus is described for the first time and the female redescribed. A homology scheme proposed recently is applied to hemispermatophore structures. The specimens were collected in an oak forest from Pico de Orizaba Volcano at an average altitude of 2340 m. All adult males were collected by pitfall traps, whereas all adult females and both sex immatures were collected using Berlese funnels, suggesting that males are comparatively more mobile within the leaf litter layer, probably due to mating season.

Reference:
Gonzalez-Santillan E, Alvarez-Padilla F. The male of Megacormus granosus (Gervais, 1844) with comments on its hemispermatophore (Scorpiones, Euscorpiidae). ZooKeys. 2015;504:75-91. [Open Access]

Thanks to Dr. González Santillán for sending me their article!

Family Euscorpiidae


Variability in venom volume, flow rate and duration in defensive stings of five scorpion species


The venom optimization hypothesis says that scorpions (and other taxa using venom in defense and in prey capture) should use the venom carefully because the venom used can sometimes represent a large, costly, metabolic investment, and can take a long time to replenish. Several studies support this hypothesis for scorpions.

Arie van der Meijden and co-workers have now published a study investigating the variability in venom volume, flow rate and duration in defensive stings of five scorpion species. Both venom flow rate and flow duration correlate highly with the total expelled volume, indicating that scorpions may control both variables in order to achieve a desired end volume of venom during a sting.

Abstract:
Scorpions have been shown to control their venom usage in defensive encounters, depending on the perceived threat. Potentially, the venom amount that is injected could be controlled by reducing the flow speed, the flow duration, or both.We here investigated these variables by allowing scorpions to sting into an oil-filled chamber, and recording the accreting venom droplets with high-speed video. The size of the spherical droplets on the video can then be used to calculate their volume. We recorded defensive stings of 20 specimens representing 5 species. Significant differences in the flow rate and total expelled volume were found between species. These differences are likely due to differences in overall size between the species. Large variation in both venom flow speed and duration are described between stinging events of single individuals. Both venom flow rate and flow duration correlate highly with the total expelled volume, indicating that scorpions may control both variables in order to achieve a desired end volume of venom during a sting.

Reference:
van der Meijden A, Coelho P, Rasko M. Variability in venom volume, flow rate and duration in defensive stings of five scorpion species. Toxicon. 2015 Apr 24;100:60-6. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Arie van der Meijden for sending me his article!

Three new articles with new fossil taxa from Cretaceous amber of Myanmar


Scorpions are rare among the arthropods fossilized in amber, but several species have been described from Dominican and Baltic amber. Wilson Lourenco has now published three new papers with several new taxa based on scorpions found in Cretaceous amber of Myanmar.

Please note that the The Scorpion Files only lists extant taxa.

Abstract 1:
A fossil scorpion belonging to a new subfamily, Archaeoscorpiopinae subfam. nov., and to a new genus and species, Archaeoscorpiops cretacicus gen. n., sp. n., is described from the Cretaceous amber of Myanmar (Burma). This is the seventh species and the eighth fossil of scorpions to be described from Burmese amber. In addition to the previously described families and subfamilies (Electrochaerilinae, Chaerilobuthidae and Palaeotrilineatidae), the description of the new subfamily Archaeoscorpiopinae subfam. nov., provides further evidence about the phylogenetic position of certain Burmese Cretaceous amber scorpions and attests to a considerable degree of diversity in the Burmese amber-producing forests.

Abstract 2:
The study of four new scorpion specimens from the Cretaceous amber of Myanmar (Burma) lead to the description of three new species and to the clarification of the status of the genus Palaeoburmesebuthus Lourenço, the first scorpion described from Burmese amber. To present, ten species and twelve fossil scorpions have been described from Burmese amber. This attests to a considerable degree of diversity in the Burmese amber-producing forests.

Abstract 3:
The study of a new scorpion specimen from the Cretaceous amber of Myanmar (Burma) lead to the description of one new genus and species belonging to the subfamily Palaeoburmesebuthinae Lourenço, 2015. The new descriptions bring also further elements to the clarification of the status of this subfamily, proposed in the previous note of this volume. The new descriptions attest once again to the considerable degree of diversity in the Burmese amber-producing forests.

Reference 1:
Lourenco WR. A new subfamily, genus and species of fossil scorpions from cretaceous Burmese amber (Scorpiones: Palaeoeuscorpiidae). Beiträge zur Araneaologie. 2015;9:457–64.

Reference 2:
Lourenco WR. Clarification of the familiar status of the genus Palaeoburmesebuthus Lourenço, 2002 from cretaceous Burmese amber (Scorpiones: Archaeobuthidae: Palaeoburmesebuthinae). Beitraege zur Araneologie. 2015;9:465–75.

Reference 3:
Lourenco WR, Beigel A. A new genus and species of Palaeoburmesebuthinae Lourenço, 2015 (Scorpiones: Archaeobuthidae) from cretaceous amber of Myanmar. Beitraege zur Araneologie. 2015;9:476–80.

Thanks to professor Lourenco for sending me these papers!

19 May, 2015

A new species of Protoiurus found in a cave in Turkey


Ersen Yagmur and co-workers have recently discovered a new species of Protoiurus Soleglad, Fet, Kovarik & Yagmur, 2012 (Iuridae) from the Hıdırellez Cave, Antalya, Turkey.

Protoiurus kumlutasi Yagmur, Soleglad, Fet & Kovarik 2015

 The new species have only been found inside (and around the cave opening), but lacks troglomorphic characteristics.

Abstract:
A new iurid species, Protoiurus kumlutasi sp. nov. is described from the Hıdırellez Cave, located in the coastal southwestern Antalya Province, Turkey. This species was collected both inside and at the entrance of the cave, and does not exhibit any troglomorphic characteristics. Its closest relative is P. kraepelini, which shares the distinctive shape of pedipalp chela in mature males. The new species can be distinguished from P. kraepelini, however, by its hemispermatophore, which conforms to subtype 1a. Additional hemispermatophores were analyzed from several specimens of P. kraepelini collected in close proximity to its type locality, further endorsing existence of unique subtype 1b in this species. The description of the new species brings the number of species in the genus Protoiurus to six.

Reference:
Yagmur EA, Soleglad ME, Fet V, Kovarik F. Etudes on Iurids, VIII. A New Protoiurus Species from the Hıdırellez Cave in Antalya, Turkey (Scorpiones: Iuridae). Euscorpius. 2015 (200):1-25. [Open Access]

Family Iuridae

13 May, 2015

A new buthid genus and species from Ghana


Andrea Rossi and Wilson Lourenco have discovered a new genus and species in the family Buthidae from the Tamale Region in Ghana.

Microananteroides Rossi & Lourenço, 2015 (New genus)

Microananteroides mariachiarae Rossi & Lourenço, 2015 (New species)

Abstract:
A new genus and species of buthid scorpion, associated with the ‘Ananteris group’ are described from the region of Tamale in Ghana. The new genus shows affinities with the genus Ananteroides Borelli, 1911 but can be clearly diagnosticated by a number of particular characters. This new scorpion taxon may represent an endemic element to the Western region of Africa.

Reference:
Rossi A, Lourenco WR. New comments on the scorpions belonging to the ‘Ananteris group’ and description of a new genus and species from Ghana (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Onychium. 2015;11:3-9. [Open Access]

Thanks to Andrea Rossi for sending me this paper!

Family Buthidae

06 May, 2015

New species in the rare genus Alloscorpiops from Vietnam

The members of the genus Alloscorpiops Vachon, 1980 (Euscorpiidae) are scarce and several of the species are found in caves systems. Wilson Lourenco and Din-Sac Pham have now discovered a new species in this genus from a cave in the Song Thanh Nature Reserve, Cha Vanh Commune, Nam Giang District in Vietnam. The only specimen found were located 60 meters inside the cave.

Alloscorpiops troglodytes Lourenco & Pham, 2015

In the same paper, Alloscorpiops lindstroemii (Thorell, 1889) is restored from synonymy.

The paper has an identification key for the genus.

Abstract:
Among the genera of the subfamily Scorpiopinae Kraepelin, 1905 Alloscorpiops remains rather discrete. Only recently new species were added to this genus, increasing its number from two to five. Therefore, species of Alloscorpiops remain rare. One remarkable new species, Alloscorpiops troglodytes sp. n., is described on the basis of a single male specimen collected inside a cave from Song Thanh Nature Reserve, Cha Vanh Commune, Nam Giang District in Vietnam. The new species presents most features exhibited by scorpions of the genus Alloscorpiops, but it is characterized by reduced size, slender body and elongated pedipalps. This new scorpion taxon represents the third species of Scorpiopinae discovered in a cave system, and may be another endemic element in the fauna of Vietnam.

Reference:
Lourenco WR, Pham D-S. A remarkable new species of Alloscorpiops Vachon, 1980 from a cave in Vietnam (Scorpiones, Euscorpiidae, Scorpiopinae). ZooKeys. 2015;500:73-82. [Open Access]

Thanks to professor Lourenco for sending me this paper!

Family Euscorpiidae