03 July, 2009

A new eyeless forest litter scorpion from Indonesia

Pale and eyeless scorpions are a fascinating phenomena that is usually associated with cave adapted species (troglobites). Eyeless scorpions living outside caves and among leaf litter are rare, but are found in Belisarius, Typhlochactas and Troglotayosicus. Such scorpions are said to have troglomorphic adaptions. The origin of such characteristics are under debate. One theory is that the ancestors of eyeless leaf litter species were true troglobites (cave dwellers) that moved outside again, but this theory has not been confirmed.

Wilson Lourenco has now described the first eyeless rain forest litter species in the genus Chaerilus from the island of Halmahera (Moluccas), Indonesia.

Chaerlius telnovi Lourenco, 2009 (Chaerilidae)

The theories about the origin of troglomorphic characters among leaf litter scorpions are also discussed.

A new species belonging to the genus Chaerilus Simon, 1877, Chaerilus telnovi sp. n., is described from the south of the island of Halmahera (Moluccas) in Indonesia. The new species is the first eyeless scorpion of the genus Chaerilus to be found in leaf litter. A short discussion about the evolutionary meaning of eyeless scorpions living in leaf litter or soil is also attempted.

Lourenco WR. Eyeless forest litter scorpions; A new species from the island of Halmahera (Moluccas), Indonesia (Scorpiones, Chaerilidae). Boletin Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa. 2009; (44):93-7.

Family Chaerilidae

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