30 July, 2015

An updated checklist of the scorpion fauna of Ecuador and a review on their medical importance

Gabriel Brito and Adolfo Borges have recently published an interesting article on the scorpion fauna of Ecuador. Ecuador is a hotspot for scorpion biodiversity and the authors present an updated checklist of the scorpion fauna of this country. Details of distribution and habitat are also presented.

The article also discuss the medical importance of the scorpion fauna of Ecuador.

Ecuador harbors one of the most diverse Neotropical scorpion faunas, hereby updated to 47 species contained within eight genera and five families, which inhabits the “Costa” (n = 17), “Sierra” (n = 34), “Oriente” (n = 16) and “Insular” (n = 2) biogeographical regions, corresponding to the western coastal, Andean, Amazonian, and the Galápagos archipelago regions, respectively. The genus Tityus Koch, in the family Buthidae, responsible for severe/fatal accidents elsewhere in northern South America and the Amazonia, is represented in Ecuador by 16 species, including T. asthenes, which has caused fatalities in Colombia and Panama, and now in the Ecuadorian provinces of Morona Santiago and Sucumbíos. Underestimation of the medical significance of scorpion envenoming in Ecuador arises from the fact that Centruroides margaritatus (Gervais) (family Buthidae) and Teuthraustes atramentarius Simon (family Chactidae), whose venoms show low toxicity towards vertebrates, frequently envenom humans in the highly populated Guayas and Pichincha provinces. This work also updates the local scorpion faunal endemicity (74.5 %) and its geographical distribution, and reviews available medical/biochemical information on each species in the light of the increasing problem of scorpionism in the country. A proposal is hereby put forward to classify the Ecuadorian scorpions based on their potential medical importance.

Brito G, Borges A. A checklist of the scorpions of Ecuador (Arachnida: Scorpiones), with notes on the distribution and medical significance of some species. J Venom Anim Toxins Incl Trop Dis. 2015;21:23. [Open Access]

Thanks to Dr. Borges for sending me this article!

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