31 January, 2012

A revision of Neobuthus with a new species

Neobuthus Hirst 1911 (Buthidae) is a genus with very small and rare scorpions distributed in Eastern Africa. Frantisek Kovarik and Greame Low have now published a review of this genus based on a lot of new materials. Some important results:

New species:
Neobuthus awashensis Kovarik & Lowe, 2012

New combination:
Neobuthus ferrugineus (Kraepelin, 1898) (previously in the genus Butheolus)

The paper has many color pictures of species, taxonomical details and habitats. A partial identification key for the genus is presented.

We define key characters distinguishing between the genera Neobuthus Hirst, 1911 and Butheolus Simon, 1882. Butheolus ferrugineus Kraepelin, 1898 is transferred to the genus Neobuthus which includes only African species, in contrast to the genus Butheolus which now includes only species inhabiting the Arabian Peninsula. Neobuthus awashensis sp. n. from Ethiopia is described and compared with two closely related species, Neobuthus ferrugineus (Kraepelin, 1898) comb. n. and Neobuthus berberensis Hirst, 1911. Recent collection of 78 specimens enabled direct comparisons of all three closely related species from their respective localities and discovery of characters hitherto not apparent from discolored specimens preserved for many years in alcohol. We photographically illustrate true coloration and pubescence for these three species, provide first information about their ecology, and present photographs of their habitats and localities. Neobuthus berberensis Hirst, 1911, is lightest colored with pubescence nearly absent, and is adapted to sandy desert conditions in the vicinity of Berbera City (Somaliland). Rocky deserts in Djibouti, Ethiopia (first report), Somaliland and Somalia host the widely distributed Neobuthus ferrugineus (Kraepelin, 1898) comb. n., which varies in color and bears sparse long setae (female) or spiniform setae (male). Neobuthus awashensis sp. n. is the darkest-colored of the three and possesses pubescence similar to N. ferrugineus comb. n., from which it differs in having a longer and narrower pedipalp femur. We document strong sexual dimorphism in all three species, the lack of knowledge of which had caused the female holotype of Neobuthus ferrugineus (Kraepelin, 1898), comb. n. and the male holotype of Neobuthus berberensis Hirst, 1911 to be placed in different genera Butheolus Simon, 1882 and Neobuthus Hirst, 1911.

Kovarik F, Lowe G. review of the genus Neobuthus Hirst, 1911 with description of a new species from Ethiopia (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2012(138):1-25. [Free fultext]

Family Buthidae

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