18 May, 2009

New Buthus species

The taxonomy of the genus Buthus has a long and complex history with many subspecies and "variations". In the last 10 years, several new species have been raised from the "Buthus occitanus species complex" in Europe and North Africa.

The presence of the genus Buthus in the Arabian Peninsula has previously not been confirmed properly, but Wilson Lourenco has now described a new species from Yemen (and thereby confirming the presence of Buthus in the Arabian Peninsula:

Buthus yemenensis Lourenco, 2008 (Buthidae)

In the same paper, Buthus occitanus berberensis Pocock, 1900 from Somalia is raised to species status:

Buthus berberensis Pocock, 1900 (Buthidae)

Detailed justification for this new combination is not given in the paper, but other subspecies of B. occitanus have been given species status previously. A molecular study of the genus is strongly needed to sort out which species in the Buthus occitanus and Buthus atlantis species complexes that are valid. This is especially important because members of the Buthus occitanus species complex in North Africa cause serious morbidity in several countries.

In recent years several contributions to the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 (the family Buthidae) and in particular to the ‘Buthus occitanus’ complex of species were proposed. These led to the definition of several species, previously considered only as subspecies or varieties, but also the description of new species. The species considered in these studies come mostly from North and Western Africa. At present, the questionable presence of the genus Buthus in the Arabian Peninsula is rediscussed and one new record from Yemen is confirmed with the description of a new species.

Lourenco WR. About the presence of the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 in the Arabian Peninsula and description of a new species (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Entomol Mitt Zool Mus Hamburg. 2008;15 (179):45-52.

Family Buthidae

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