28 June, 2013

New Buthus species described from Sicily, Italy

Wilson Lourenco and Andrea Rossi have recently published a very interesting discovery of a new species of Buthus Leach, 1815 (Buthidae) from Sicily, Italy. This is the first discovery of a member of the family of Buthidae from Italy.

Buthus trinacrius Lourenco & Rossi, 2013

Unfortunately, the species is probably extinct. The new species is described from old museum materials, and field work on Sicily has not revealed any specimens. Urbanization and habitat destruction is suggested as potential causes for the extinction. If anyone finds Buthus on Sicily, please let me know!

The paper also discuss biogeographical and ecological implications of the disovery, and the authors also discuss the validity of their finding.

A new species belonging to the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) is described from Palermo province, in Sicily. Buthus trinacrius sp. n. shows morphological affinities with Buthus occitanus (Amoreux), originally described from southern France, but, in some characters, also with some African Buthus species. For morphological, biogeographical and geological reasons, the new species could represent a link between African and European Buthus populations. If Buthus inhabited the Italian Peninsula in past geological times, it probably regressed and became extinct due to severe climatic modifications which took place since the end of the Tertiary period. Regarding the occurrence in Sicily of Buthus, surely still present on the island during the 19th century but maybe extinct now, a possible explanation could be the heavy urbanization of the Palermo region.

Lourenco WR, Rossi A. Confirmation of a new species of Buthus Leach, 1815 from Sicily (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Biogeographical implications. Revista Iberica de Arachnologia. 2013 (22):9-14.

Thanks to professor Lourenco for sending me his paper!

Family Buthidae

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