20 October, 2014

A review of the genus Leiurus with several new species

The medical important genus Leiurus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Buthidae) is widespread across North Africa, the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula. For many years only one species was known in the genus, but in the last decade a couple of new species have been described.

Graeme Lowe, Ersen Yagmur and Frantisek Kovarik have now published a major review of Leiurus. Existing species are redescribed and the following taxonomical changes have been made.

Leiurus arabicus Lowe, Yagmur & Kovarik, 2014 (New species from Saudi Arabia).

Leiurus brachycentrus (Ehrenberg, 1829) (New status, restored from synonymy).

Leiurus haenggii Lowe, Yagmur & Kovarik, 2014 (New species from Oman, Saudi Arabia and Yemen).

Leiurus heberti Lowe, Yagmur & Kovarik, 2014 (New species from Oman).

Leiurus hebraeus (Birula, 1908) (New status, elevated from subspecies status. Previous name Leirurus quinquestriatus hebraeus (Birula, 1908).

Leiurus macroctenus Lowe, Yagmur & Kovarik, 2014 (New species from Oman).

Leiurus nasheri Kovarik, 2007 (Synonymized with L. brachycentrus).

An updated identification key for the genus is provided. Biogeography of the genus is also discussed.

The taxonomy of buthid scorpions belonging to the genus Leiurus Ehrenberg, 1828 is reviewed. Four new species are described from the Arabian Peninsula: L. macroctenus sp. n. from coastal fog deserts in Oman; L. haenggii sp. n. from mountains of the Red Sea coast, Hadramaut and Dhofar, in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Oman; L. arabicus sp. n. from the central Najd Plateau and eastern plains in Saudi Arabia; and L. heberti sp. n. from Jabal Samhan in Oman. L. brachycentrus (Ehrenberg, 1829) stat. n. from the Tihamah plain of the Red Sea coast in Saudi Arabia and Yemen is restored from synonymy and redescribed. Leiurus nasheri Kovařík, 2007 was found to be a junior synonym of L. brachycentrus stat. n. L. quinquestriatus hebraeus (Birula, 1908) is elevated to species level as L. hebraeus (Birula, 1908) stat. n. Revised diagnoses are given for L. quinquestriatus (Ehrenberg, 1828), L. abdullahbayrami Yağmur, Koç et Kunt, 2009, L. jordanensis Lourenço, Modrý et Amr, 2002, and L. hebraeus (Birula, 1908). Key characters used to diagnose and separate species include morphometrics, granulation, tricho-bothriotaxy, tarsal setation, dentition of metasomal carinae and color pattern. Detailed illustrations are provided and the affinities and biogeography of the genus are discussed.

Lowe G, Yagmur EA, Kovarik F. A Review of the Genus Leiurus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) with Description of Four New Species from the Arabian Peninsula. Euscorpius. 2014 (191):1-129. [Free full text]

Family Buthidae

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