15 December, 2009

Several African Scorpio subspecies given species status

Scorpio maurus Linnaeus, 1758 (Scorpionidae) has for a long time been considered a very widespread and highly polymorphic species with 19 subspecies. Wilson Lourenco has now studied the African subspecies and raised several subspecies to species rank. One new species is also described from Cameroon:

S. birulai Fet, 1997 New status
S. fuliginosus (Pallary, 1928) New status
S. hesperus Birula, 1910* New status
S. mogadorensis Birula, 1910 New status
S. occidentalis Werner, 1936 New status
S. punicus Fet, 2000 New status
S. savanicola Lourenço, 2009 New species
S. weidholzi Werner, 1929 New status

Previous status for the taxa can be found in the Scorpion Files Scorpionidae updates.

For almost a century, Scorpio maurus L., 1758 (Scorpiones, Scorpionidae) has been considered to be no more than a widespread and presumably highly polymorphic species. Past classifications by Birula and Vachon have restricted the status of different populations to subspecific level. In the present paper, and in the light of new evidence, several African populations are now raised to the rank of species. One of these, Scorpio occidentalis Werner, 1936, is redescribed and a neotype proposed to stabilise the taxonomy of the group. A new species is also described from the savannah areas of Cameroon. This is the second to be recorded from regions outside the Sahara desert zone.

Lourenco WR. Reanalysis of the genus Scorpio Linnaeus 1758 in sub-Saharan Africa and description of one new species from Cameroon (Scorpiones, Scorpionidae). Entomol Mitt Zool Mus Hamburg. 2009;15(181):99-113.

Thanks to professor Lourenco for sending me the paper!

Family Scorpionidae

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