21 January, 2016

A major review on Mexican scorpions, their biology, distribution and medical importance

Carlos Santibáñez-López and co-workers have recently published an extensive review article summing up the current knowledge on Mexican scorpions. The article covers taxonomy, distribution, biology, venom and medical importance, and is an important work for those interested in the diverse and interesting scorpion fauna of Mexico.

Scorpions are among the oldest terrestrial arthropods, which are distributed worldwide, except for Antarctica and some Pacific islands. Scorpion envenomation represents a public health problem in several parts of the world. Mexico harbors the highest diversity of scorpions in the world, including some of the world’s medically important scorpion species. The systematics and diversity of Mexican scorpion fauna has not been revised in the past decade; and due to recent and exhaustive collection efforts as part of different ongoing major revisionary systematic projects, our understanding of this diversity has changed compared with previous assessments. Given the presence of several medically important scorpion species, the study of their venom in the country is also important. In the present contribution, the diversity of scorpion species in Mexico is revised and updated based on several new systematic contributions; 281 different species are recorded. Commentaries on recent venomic, ecological and behavioral studies of Mexican scorpions are also provided. A list containing the most important peptides identified from 16 different species is included. A graphical representation of the different types of components found in these venoms is also revised. A map with hotspots showing the current knowledge on scorpion distribution and areas explored in Mexico is also provided.

Santibanez-Lopez CE, Francke OF, Ureta C, Possani LD. Scorpions from Mexico: From Species Diversity to Venom Complexity. Toxins (Basel). 2015;8(1). [Open Access]

Thanks to Dr. Santibáñez-López and Carlos Turiel for both sending me this paper!

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