07 December, 2011

Scorpion fauna of northern Saudi Arabia

Mahmoud Desouky and Ahmed Alshammari have published a survey of the scorpion fauna of the Ha'il Region of northern Saudi Arabia. A molecular phylogenetics for Androctonus crassicauda (Buthidae) and Scorpio maurus kruglovi (Scorpionidae) is also presented.

The present work is a systematic approach to the scorpion fauna of the Ha'il region (Saudi Arabia), based on morphology. In addition, a phylogenetic study of two common species, Androctonus crassicauda and Scorpio maurus kruglovi, was carried out, based on 16S gene sequences. The purpose is to provide an updated account of the scorpion fauna, and to present a brief description on the distribution of the scorpions of this
region, which has been largely neglected and remains poorly known. Eight species of scorpions were identified: seven species and one subspecies belonging to the family Buthidae, and one subspecies belonging to Scorpionidae. Geographic distribution and relative abundance of the species collected were recorded in the study area. We report the 16S gene sequence for two scorpion species, Androctonus crassicauda aud Scorpio maurus krug!ovi, which are the most abundant scorpions in the study area and represent the two reported scorpion families. The gene sequences of these two species were deposited into GenBank with accession numbers HM125965 and 1-IM 125964 for A. crassicauda and S. m. kruglovi respectively. 16S gene sequences from these two taxa were compared with those from other species prevalent in Saudi Arabia, retrieved from GenBank, and aligned sequences were used to constnjct a phylogenetic tree. The results presented provide the first molecular phylogenetic study of the scorpion fauna of Saudi Arabia. Moreover, searching the data base revealed that the 16S gene of S. m. kruglovi was sequenced for the first time. The goal was to evaluate the potential of 16S gene sequencing to provide better resolution of the systematic problems of the Saudi scorpion fauna, and to resolve the phylogenetic relationships among them.

Desouky MMA, Alshammari AM. Scorpions of the Ha'il Region, northern Saudi Arabia, and molecular phylogenetics of two common species, Androctonus crassicauda and Scorpio maurus kruglovi. Bull Br Arach Soc. 2011;15(6):193-200.

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