09 June, 2016

First molecular phylogeny of scorpions of the family Buthidae from India

As the title implies, as recent article by Vivek Suranse and co-workers presents the first molecular phylogeny of buthid scorpions from India (or more precisely central western India). This is a preliminary study as not all Indian species in Buthidae have been sampled, but the current results confirm the taxonomical placement of many taxa. In addition, the data also add new information and insight on the phylogeny of several taxa and raises questions that need to be looked into in future research. Especially the results for the infamous Hottentotta tamulus Fabricius, 1798 should be further investigated because of its medical significance.

Scorpions of the family Buthidae are widespread species in India. While studies are available on diversity and distribution of Indian buthid scorpions, no information is available on the phylogenetic relationships among the members of the family, within India and Asia in general. In the current study, we provide the first molecular phylogeny of buthid scorpions from central western India based on the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) gene. Our analysis confirms the current placement of the species, previously assigned to Mesobuthus in the genus Hottentotta. However, the analysis also suggests that the member of this genus from India form a monophyletic group distinct from the members of Hottentotta from Africa. Species of Lychas formed a monophyletic group. Although Orthochirus was nested within the larger clade of buthidae comprising genera such as Androctonus, Buthacus, Buthus and Odontobuthus, the exact phylogenetic placement will require more taxonomic sampling of the known genera of Buthidae. We also show that there is a substantial genetic variation among the populations of medically important scorpion species Hottentotta tamulus, and the genetic distance is linearly correlated with the geographical distance between the populations.

Suranse V, Sawant NS, Paripatyadar SV, Krutha K, Paingankar MS, Padhye AD, et al. First molecular phylogeny of scorpions of the family Buthidae from India. Mitochondrial DNA Part A DNA mapping, sequencing, and analysis. 2016 Jun 1:1-6. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Carlos Turiel for informing me about this article!

Family Buthidae

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