16 October, 2018

A global review of medically important scorpions and scorpionism


Micaiah Ward and co-workers at Florida State University recently published an extensive review of medically important scorpions, epidemiology and scorpionism. The number of medical important species is raised to 104 (Buthidae: 101, Hemiscorpiidae: 2, Scorpionidae: 1). Of these, 36 species are considered dangerous (causing class II and III symptoms).

It is important to understand that a list like this can not be perfect. The species identification in many sting cases can be missing or wrong. Taxonomy is changing, and a species may turn out to be a species complex with potentially different venom potency (e.g. The Buthus occitanus complex). We should be careful not to label all species not on this list as harmless. A dangerous species may never have stung a human or the sting case was never reported. Also, many stings are dry or a reduced amount of venom is used, causing minor/mild symptoms and by this camouflaging a dangerous species. The article discuss some of these conserns.

 The article also has information about the distribution of medically important species, venom composition and the use of scorpion venom in biomedical research.

Abstract:
Scorpions are an ancient and diverse venomous lineage, with over 2200 currently recognized species. Only a small fraction of scorpion species are considered harmful to humans, but the often life-threatening symptoms caused by a single sting are significant enough to recognize scorpionism as a global health problem. The continued discovery and classification of new species has led to a steady increase in the number of both harmful and harmless scorpion species. The purpose of this review is to update the global record of medically significant scorpion species, assigning each to a recognized sting class based on reported symptoms, and provide the major toxin classes identified in their venoms. We also aim to shed light on the harmless species that, although not a threat to human health, should still be considered medically relevant for their potential in therapeutic development. Included in our review is discussion of the many contributing factors that may cause error in epidemiological estimations and in the determination of medically significant scorpion species, and we provide suggestions for future scorpion research that will aid in overcoming these errors.

Reference:
Ward MJ, Ellsworth SA, Nystrom GS. A global accounting of medically significant scorpions: Epidemiology, major toxins, and comparative resources in harmless counterparts. Toxicon. 2018;151:137-55. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Matt Simon for informing me about this article!

10 October, 2018

A review of the scorpions (and other arachnid groups) from Sudan


The Republic of the Sudan is one of the largest countries in East Africa with a large diversity when it comes to habitats and climate. A few new scorpion taxa have been described from Sudan in the last years, but no recent review of the scorpion fauna has been published.

Jason Dunlop and co-workers have recently published a review of the scorpions and other arachnid groups from Sudan. 17 species from the families Buthidae (15) and Scorpionidae (2) were recorded.

Abstract:
Literature-based species lists for arachnids, excluding spiders and mites, found in the Republic of the Sudan are provided. We summarize records, references, and localities for 17 scorpions (Scorpiones), one harvestman (Opiliones), nine pseudoscorpions (Pseudoscorpiones), 21 camel spiders (Solifugae) and one whip spider (Amblypygi). There are no published records of palpigrades (Palpigradi), whip scorpions (Thelyphonida), schizomids (Schizomida) or ricinuleids (Ricinulei), although at least whip scorpions and ricinuleids would not be expected in East Africa based on their current distribution. Key literature for mites and ticks (Acari) is also mentioned. In general, the Sudanese arachnid fauna has not been documented in detail. Many more species, particularly among the harvestmen and pseudoscorpions, are to be expected, and we offer the data gathered here as a baseline for future work.

Reference:
Dunlop JA, Siyam M, Kovarik F. Smaller orders of Arachnida in Sudan: a literature review. Arachnology. 2018;17:449-57.

Thanks to Frantisek Kovarik for sending me their article!

08 October, 2018

Several synonymizations and redescriptions in the family Buthidae


Frantisek Kovarik has conducted a critical review on several taxa in the family Buthidae. These are the main conclusions:

Buthacus armasi Lourenço, 2013 is synonymized with Buthacus leptochelys (Ehrenberg, 1829).

Buthacus maliensis Lourenço & Qi,2007 is synonymized with Androctonus aleksandrplotkini Lourenço & Qi, 2007.

Compsobuthus williamsi Lourenço, 1999 is synonymized with Compsobuthus matthiesseni (Birula, 1905).

In addition a couple of old synonymzations are confirmed and several taxa have been revised and new descriptions are presented.

Abstract:
The taxonomic position of Buthacus armasi Lourenço, 2013, B. clevai Lourenço, 2001, B. huberi Lourenço, 2001, B.maliensis Lourenço & Qi, 2007, B. nigerianus Lourenço & Qi, 2006, Compsobuthus andresi Lourenço, 2004, C.simoni Lourenço, 1999, C. tassili Lourenço, 2010, C. tofti Lourenço, 2001, C. williamsi Lourenço, 1999, and Sabinebuthus elegans Lourenço, 2001 is revised and fictitious characters in their original descriptions are discussedand corrected. Buthacus armasi Lourenço, 2013 is synonymized with Buthacus leptochelys (Ehrenberg, 1829) syn. n., B. huberi Lourenço, 2001 is confirmed to be a synonym of Buthacus occidentalis Vachon, 1953, B. maliensis Lourenço & Qi,2007 is synonymized with Androctonus aleksandrplotkini Lourenço & Qi, 2007 syn. n., Compsobuthus williamsi Lourenço, 1999 is synonymized with Compsobuthus matthiesseni (Birula, 1905) syn. n., and Sabinebuthus elegans Lourenço, 2001 is confirmed to be a junior synonym of Lanzatus somalicus Kovařík, 2001.

Reference:
Kovarik F. Notes on the Genera Buthacus, Compsobuthus, and Lanzatus with Several Synonymies and Corrections of Published Characters (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2018(269):1-12. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

04 October, 2018

Sexual dimorphism and reproductive behavior in Tityus pusillus from Brazil


Behavior studies of scorpions are not that common and we still have much to learn about different types of scorpion behavior. Andre Lira and co-workers have now published a new study investigating the sexual dimorphism and reproductive behavior in Tityus pusillus Pocock, 1893 (Buthidae) from Brazil. They have mapped the different behavior components involved in reproduction in this species and have analyzed the sexual dimorphism present in T. pusillus. See abstract and article for further details.

Abstract:
We studied sexual dimorphism (SD) and reproductive behavior in the litter-dwelling scorpion, Tityus pusillus. SD was determined by measuring seven body structure attributes (prosoma, mesosoma, and metasoma lengths, and pedipalp chelae and metasomal segment V lengths and widths) in 634 individuals (211 males and 423 females) from the Arachnological Collection of the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco. Reproductive behavior was observed in 55 couples during nocturnal activity observations conducted in the laboratory. In addition, we evaluated gestation time, hemispermatophore replacement, and sequential courtship. Individuals of T. pusillus exhibited typical reproductive behavior, with a short courtship time (averaging 10 5 min). Males only accepted new partners at least 48 h after first mating, suggesting that this period may be necessary for hemispermatophore production. Females did not accept new partners for 24–48 h after their first mating. The average gestation period was 85 12 d, ranging 60–100 d. Our results showed a more complex picture of SD than previously described for this species, including features characteristic of both sexual size dimorphism (SSD) and sexual body component dimorphism in scorpions. In general, considering the relatively large size of the prosoma and mesosoma in T. pusillus, it seems reasonable to conclude that female-biased SSD exists in the species, and that male-biased sexual body component dimorphism is evident in the metasoma and chelae.

Reference:
Lira AF, Pordeus LM, Rego FN, Iannuzzi K, Albuquerque CMJIB. Sexual dimorphism and reproductive behavior in the Brazilian scorpion Tityus pusillus (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Invertebr Biol. 2018;137(3):221-30. [Subscritpion required for full text]

Thanks to Andre Lira for sending me their article!

21 September, 2018

Three new species of Chaerilus from Malaysia and Thailand


Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers have recently published a new article describing three new species of Chaerilus Simon, 1877 (Chaerilidae) from Malaysia and Thailand.

Chaerilus majkusi Kovarik, Lowe & Stahlavsky, 2018 (Malaysia)

Chaerilus neradorum Kovarik, Lowe & Stahlavsky, 2018 (Thailand)

Chaerilus stockmannorumi Kovarik, Lowe & Stahlavsky, 2018 (Thailand)

The articles have pictures of live speciemens of the new species.

Abstract:
Chaerilus majkusi sp. n. from Malaysia (Tioman Island), C. neradorum sp. n. and C. stockmannorum sp. n. from Thailand are described and fully illustrated with color photographs of live and preserved specimens, as well as of their habitat. They are compared to the species C. cimrmani Kovařík, 2012, C. sejnai Kovařík, 2005, and C. tichyi Kovařík, 2000, which we also illustrate with color photographs of live unpublished specimens. Hemispermatophores of C. cimrmani, C. majkusi sp .n., C. stockmannorum sp. n., and C. tichyi are illustrated and compared, and we also describe the karyotypes of C. cimrmani, C. majkusi sp. n., C. neradorum sp. n., C. stockmannorum sp. n., C. sejnai and C. tichyi. The diploid numbers of chromosomes range from 76 to 186 and the karyotypes show distinct inter-specific variability among analyzed species. C. stockmannorum sp. n. (2n=186) possesses the highest number of chromosomes within the order Scorpiones and the class Arachnida.

Reference:
Kovarik F, Lowe G, Stahlavsky F. Three New Chaerilus from Malaysia (Tioman Island) and Thailand (Scorpiones: Chaerilidae), with a Review of C. cimrmani, C. sejnai, and C. tichyi. Euscorpius. (268):1-27. [Open Access]

Family Chaerilidae

13 September, 2018

A review on the epidemiology and distribution of medical important scorpions in North America


It is well known that North America and especially Mexico is a hotspot for medical important scorpions. Canada has no dangerous species, while USA has only one (Centruroides sculpturatus Ewing, 1928). Mexico, on the other side, has several species that have great consequences for the public health.

Gonzalez-Santillan & Possani have recently published a review summing up the current knowledge on the distribution and epidemiology of the medical important scorpions of North America. 21 species and one subspecies, all in the genus Centruroides, are identified as medical important, and their distribution is given. The different aspects of scorpionism in North America is also discussed.

Abstract:
Scorpionism is a severe threat to public health in North America. Historically, few species of Centruroides have been considered to be the offending taxa, but we know now that their diversity is greater and our knowledge incomplete. Current distribution maps are inadequate for some species. Epidemiologic studies are sporadic and local, and a complete synthesis for North America is missing. We analyze historical and recent knowledge about the identity, distribution and epidemiology of species of medical importance in North America. PubMed, Google Scholar, the National Collection of Arachnids, and results of recent field work were consulted in the preparation of our analysis. We recognized 21 species and one subspecies of medically important scorpions in need of precise geographical delimitation. All these species are found in Mexico, which is clearly a hotspot for scorpionism. Although mortality has been steadily decreasing, deaths still occur, and morbidity remains high. Mortality is most common at age classes of 0–10 years and>50. Morbidity is highest in age class 15–50 years, including the most economically active segment of the population. The season of the highest incidence of scorpion sting peaks between spring and summer but there appears to be a second, lower peak at the end of the summer. Although the systematics of the genus Centruroides has advanced considerably, our knowledge of its diversity remains fragmentary. There is a disconnection between the actual distribution of the scorpions and the incidence maps constructed from scorpion sting records. Despite a historically robust knowledge of the distribution of wellknown species, most recently described species are known from only a few localities. Some of the epidemiological parameters are consistent among studies reported herein.

Reference:
Gonzalez-Santillan E, Possani LD. North American scorpion species of public health importance with a reappraisal of historical epidemiology. Acta Trop. 2018;187:264-74. [Subscription required for full text]

17 August, 2018

Genus Babycurus split into a new genus and two new species from the Arabian Peninsula



Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers recently published a review of the genus Babycurus Karsch, 1886 (Buthidae) resulting into splitting this genus into two genera. The taxanomical decisions from this study are:

Barbaracurus Kovarik, Lowe & Stahlavsky, 2018 (New genus distributed mainly in the Arabian Peninsula and The Horn of Africa). Species included after review:
B. exquisitus (Lowe, 2000) (Previously in Babycurus)
B. prudenti Lourenço, 2013 (Previously in Babycurus)
B. somalicus (Hirst, 1907) (Previously in Babycurus)
B. sofomarensis (Kovarik, Lowe, Seiter, Pliskova &Stahlavsky, 2015) (Previously in Babycurus)
B. subpunctatus (Borelli, 1925) (Previously in Babycurus)
B. ugartei (Kovarik, 2000) (Previously in Babycurus)
B. winklerorum Kovarik, Lowe &Stahlavsky, 2018 (New species from Oman)
B. yemenensis Kovarik, Lowe, Seiter, Pliskova &Stahlavsky, 2015 (New species from Yemen)
B. zambonellii (Borelli, 1902) (Previously in Babycurus)

Babycurus Karsch, 1886 (Strictly African distribution). Species included after review:
B. ansorgei Hirst, 1911
B. brignolii Lourenço & Rossi, 2017 (Declared Nomen Dubia)
B. buettneri Karsch, 1886
B. centrurimorphus Karsch, 1886
B. dunlopi Kovarik, Lowe, Seiter, Pliskova &Stahlavsky, 2015
B. gigas Kraepelin, 1896
B. jacksoni (Pocock, 1890)
B. kirki (Pocock, 1890)
B. melanicus Kovarik, 2000
B. multisubaculeatus Kovarik, 2000
B. pictus Pocock, 1896
B. solegladi Lourenço, 2005
B. taramassoi Borelli, 1919
B. wituensis Kraepelin, 1913

Babycurus ornatus Werner, 1936 is declared as a junior synonym of Lychas burdoi (Simon, 1882).

The article has an identification key for Barbaracurus.

Abstract:
The genus Babycurus Karsch, 1886 sensu lato is split into two genera, a strictly African genus Babycurus, and the new genus Barbaracurus gen. n., which mainly includes species from the Horn of Africa and Arabian Peninsula. Two new species Barbaracurus winklerorum sp. n. from Oman and B. yemenensis sp. n. from Yemen are described, compared with other species, and fully illustrated with color photos of morphology, habitus, live specimens and collection localities. Males of Barbaracurus somalicus (Hirst, 1907) comb. n. and Barbaracurus zambonellii (Borelli, 1902) comb. n. are recorded for the first time and fully illustrated. Babycurus ornatus Werner, 1936 from Mozambique is shown to be a junior synonym of Lychas burdoi (Simon, 1882), a species from the same area. Babycurus brignolii Lourenço et Rossi, 2017 is designated to be a nomen dubium. Hemispermatophores are des-cribed and illustrated to show their differences between the species and genera. Analyses of karyotypes reveal a similar degree of interspecific variability of diploid chromosomal numbers within the genera Babycurus (2n=16–30) and Barbaracurus gen. n. (2n=22–36).

Reference:
Kovarik F, Lowe G, Stahlavsky F. Review of the genus Babycurus Karsch, 1886 (Arachnida, Scorpiones, Buthidae), with descriptions of Barbaracurus gen. n. and two new species from Oman and Yemen. Euscorpius. 2018(267):1-41. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

03 August, 2018

A new species in the genus Alloscorpiops from Myanmar (Burma)


Wilson R. Lourenço and Ondřej Košulič recently published a new article describing a new species of the genus Alloscorpiops Vachon, 1980 (Euscorpiidae) from the northern part of central Myanmar (Burma).

Alloscorpiops viktoriae Lourenço & Košulic, 2018

The article also has information about the habitat for the new species and the distribution and the biogeography of the genus Alloscorpiops.

Abstract:
Among the genera of the family Scorpiopidae Kraepelin, 1905 Alloscorpiops remains yet rather discrete. New species were added to this genus only recently, increasing its number from two to six. Therefore, species of Alloscorpiops can be considered rare and uncommonly collected. One particular new species, Alloscorpiops viktoriae sp. n., is described based on two females and one pre-adult male collected from the northern part of central Myanmar (Burma). The new species presents most features exhibited by scorpions of the genus Alloscorpiops, but it is characterised by a moderate to small size, very strongly marked granulation, and a particular trichobothrial pattern. Aspects of the ecology and distribution of the new species are discussed and compared with those of other species of genus Alloscorpiops.

Reference:
Lourenco WR, Kosulic O. A new remarkable species of Alloscorpiops Vachon, 1980 from Myanmar (Burma) (Scorpiones, Scorpiopidae). Zookeys. 2018(775):47-58. [Open Access]

Family Euscorpiidae

02 August, 2018

A new high altitude species of Scorpiops from China


Wilson Lourenco recently published a new species of Scorpiops Peters, 1861 (Euscorpiidae) from Taxkorgan Reserve, Xinjiang, China.

Scorpiops taxkorgan Lourenco, 2018

The new species was collected under stones at 4500-4600 meters. High altitude scorpions are discussed in the article.

Abstract:
Although scorpions have been described from China since the 19th century, it was only in the early 2000s that this fauna has seen a noticeable improvement in terms of the number and diversity of the described taxa. Some regions of China have been extensively prospected, while others remain largely unexplored. The latter is the case for the Province of Xinjiang, in the Extreme West of the country. A few contributions dealing with scorpions from this region are available, but these mainly concern representatives of the family Buthidae. In the present paper, a new species belonging to the genus Scorpiops Peters, of the family Scorpiopidae Kraepelin, is described from the Taxkorgan Natural Reserve. The description is based on one male and one female collected under stones at altitudes of 4500–4600 m. To our knowledge, this is the first species ever described from the Taxkorgan Natural Reserve and may represent an endemic element within the fauna of Xinjiang Province.

Reference:
Lourenco WR. Scorpions at high altitudes: A new species of Scorpiops Peters, 1861 (Scorpiones: Scorpiopidae) from the Taxkorgan Reserve, Xinjiang, China. Comptes Rendus - Biologies. 2018;341:362-9. [Open Access]

Family Euscorpiidae

01 August, 2018

A new species of Buthus from Algeria


Wilson Lourenco and co-workers have recently published a new species of Buthus Leach, 1815 (Buthidae) from the region Bou Sâada-M’Sila in Algeria.

Buthus boussaadi Lourenço, Chichi & Sadine, 2018

Abstract:
Since the early 2000s the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 has been the subject of an increasing number of studies. These have concerned in most cases the species belonging to the ‘Buthus occitanus’ complex and have led to a revision of the status of many populations previously considered as subspecies or varieties of Buthus occitanus (Amoreux, 1889) which have been raised to the rank of species. A noticeable number of new species have also been described. The majority of the species considered in these studies come from North Africa but only four new species were recorded from Algeria. One more new species of Buthus is herein described from the region of Bou-Sâada-M’Sila, in the northern range of the country. This new species may represent a possible vicariant element of Buthus saharicus, known from the central deserts of Algeria. The number of confirmed species of Buthus found in Algeria is raised to seven.

Reference: 
Lourenco WR, Chichi S, Sadine SE. A new species of Buthus Leach, 1815 from the region of Bou Sâada-M’sila, Algeria; A possible case Of vicariance for the genus (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Revista Iberica de Arachnologia. 2018(32):15-20.

Thanks to Dr. Salah Eddine Sadine for sending me their article!

Family Buthidae

31 July, 2018

A new species of Microtityus from the British Virgin Islands


Luis de Armas has recently published a new species of the small buthid genus Microtityus Kjellesvig-Waering, 1966 from the British Virgin Islands.

Microtityus eustatia Armas, 2018

Abstract:
Microtityus (Parvabsonus) eustatia sp. n. is herein described from the British Virgin Islands (West Indies): Eustatia Island (type locality), Virgin Gorda Island, and Camanoe Island, based on seven specimens (three males and four females). The new species closely resembles M. waeringi Francke & Sissom, 1980 from St. John Island and St. Thomas Island, U.S. Virgin Islands, differing mainly by the fixed finger of pedipalp having ten rows of denticles (nine in M. waeringi) and more attenuated metasoma. Also, new localities are recorded for Heteronebo yntemai Francke & Sissom, 1980 (Scorpionidae) and Centruroides griseus (C. L. Koch, 1844) (Buthidae).

Reference:
de Armas LF. A New Species of Microtityus from the British Virgin Islands, West Indies, and New Localities for Other Scorpions (Scorpiones: Buthidae, Scorpionidae). Euscorpius. 2018(264):1-10.

Family Buthidae

30 July, 2018

Two new species of Hottentotta from Iran


Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers recently published an article describing two new species of Hottentotta Birula, 1908 (Buthidae) from Iran.

Hottentotta navidpouri Kovarik, Yagmur & Moradi, 2018

Hottentotta sistaensis Kovarik, Yagmur & Moradi, 2018

In addition, Hottentotta saulcyi (Simon, 1880) is redescribed.

Abstract:
Two new buthid species from Iran, Hottentotta navidpouri sp. n. (Hormozgan Province) and H. sistanensis sp. n. (Sistan and Baluchestan Province) are described, compared with H. saulcyi (Simon, 1880), and fully illustrated with color photos. The two new species differ from H. saulcyi mainly in shape of chela, which is strongly elongated in both new species.

Reference:
Kovarik F, Yagmur EA, Moradi M. Two New Hottentotta Species from Iran, with a Review of Hottentotta saulcyi (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2018(265):1-14. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae


A new species of Gint from Kenya


Frantisek Kovarik has described a new species of Gint Kovarik, Lowe, Pliskova & Stahlavsky, 2013 (Buthidae) from Kenya.

Gint childsi Kovarik, 2018

Abstract:
Gint childsi sp. n. from Kenya is described and compared with other species of the genus. Additional information is provided on the taxonomy and distribution of the genus Gint, fully complemented with color photos of preserved specimens of both sexes of the new species, as well as of their habitat.

Reference:
Kovarik F. A New Scorpion Species from Kenya, Gint childsi sp. n. (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2018(266):1-9. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

06 July, 2018

A surprise from Crete - A second Mesobuthus species discovered


Mesobuthus gibbosus (Brulli, 1832) (Buthidae) has been well known from the Greek island Crete, but very recently Eric Ythier has published an article describing a second species from the Lassithi Plateau in Crete.

Mesobuthus gallianoi Ythier, 2018

Abstract:
A new species of scorpion belonging to the genus Mesobuthus Vachon, 1950 (family Buthidae C. L. Koch, 1837) is described on the basis of one specimen collected on the Lassithi Plateau, in Crete (Greece). The new species is characterised by a high number of rows of granules on mobile (14 rows) and fixed fingers (13 rows), lateromedian carinae vestigial on metasomal segment IV, an interspace between median carina and each paramedian carina 1.2-1.7 times as wide as the paramedian carina on tergites IV-VI, and a rather high pectinal tooth count with 26-27 teeth in female. This is the second species of the genus Mesobuthus reported from Crete.

Reference:
Ythier E. A new species of Mesobuthus Vachon, 1950 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Crete (Greece). Revista Iberica de Arachnologia. 2018(32):87-92.

Thanks to Eric for sending me his new article!

Family Buthidae

04 July, 2018

Environmental variation and seasonal changes as determinants of the spatial distribution of scorpion in Neotropical forests

Andre Lira and co-workers have recently published a new article on the population dynamics of scorpions in Neotropical forests. They found 12 species in the study area and collected data on microhabitat preferences, foraging activity, spatial distribution, seasonal changes effects etc.

Their main conclusion is that spatiotemporal resource partitioning and refuge sharing are important drivers of the population dynamics and spatial distribution of scorpion species in Neotropical forests. See abstract or article for more details.

Abstract:
Habitat selection and seasonal changes are key drivers of the population dynamics of many species. We analyzed how the environmental structure influences species establishment in an area by comparing microhabitat preference and functional richness of scorpions (Arachnida: Scorpiones) in wet (Atlantic forest) and semiarid (Caatinga) areas. Variations in superficial foraging activity and microhabitat colonization during dry and rainy seasons were evaluated as an indication of the climatic impact on population dynamics. We collected twelve scorpion species using ultraviolet light lamps. We found that differential patterns in spatial distribution were independent of forest type, and we provide evidence for partial niche partitioning among scorpion species based on age class and climatic conditions. Foraging activity was also seasonally influenced. Functional richness was higher in wet forests than in dry forests, whereas taxonomical richness exhibited an opposite pattern. We conclude that spatiotemporal resource partitioning and refuge sharing are important drivers of the population dynamics and spatial distribution of scorpion species in Neotropical forests.


Reference:
Lira A, DeSouza A, Albuquerque C. Environmental variation and seasonal changes as determinants of the spatial distribution of scorpion (Arachnida: Scorpiones) in Neotropical forests. Can J Zool. 2018;In Press. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Andre Lira for sending me their article!

03 July, 2018

The response to edge effects in two sympatric litter-dwelling scorpions in a Brazilian Atlantic forest


The edge effects in ecology are changes in population or community structures that occur at the boundary of two or more habitats (Wikipedia). Welton Dionisio-da-Silva and co-workers have recently published a study on how the abundance of two sympatric scorpion species (Tityus pusillus Pocock, 1893 and Ananteris mauryi Lourenço, 1982 (Buthidae)) and their potential prey varied as a function of microhabitat changes from edge to interior forest habitats.

The results show a different response to the edge effects in the two species, A. mauryi being not so much influenced by edge effects as T. pusillus. Se abstract and article for more details.

Abstract:
Edge effects have drastically affected species living in tropical forests. However, understanding how species respond to edge effects remains a challenge, owing to the many factors involved and different responses of each species thereto. Here, we analyzed how the abundance of two sympatric scorpion species (Tityus pusillus and Ananteris mauryi) and their potential prey varied as a function of microhabitat changes (litter depth, dry mass, and leaf shape) from edge to interior forest habitats. We further analyzed the contribution of potential prey to scorpion abundance and reproductive periods. Data were collected monthly at three 300-m² transects/site at distances of 10, 100, and 200 m from the forest edge in a fragment of the Atlantic forest in northeastern Brazil, between April 2016 and March 2017. Scorpions responded differentially to edge effects, with A. mauryi abundance being similar along the edge-interior gradient, whereas T. pusillus had a higher abundance in the interior. As T. pusillus inhabit the top layer of the leaf litter, this species will possibly be more influenced by edge effects. In contrast, being a humicolous scorpion and inhabiting the bottom layers of leaf litter, A. mauryi would not be influenced by edge effects as much as T. pusillus. The reproductive period also was distinct between the two species, with T. pusillus reproducing in the dry season and A. mauryi in the rainy season. The oscillation in the abundance of different groups of prey at different periods maintained the overall prey abundance at a relatively constant level throughout the year, mitigating the effects of prey availability on the abundance and reproductive period of the scorpions. These results suggest that microhabitat exploitation is a key factor to sustain litterdwelling scorpions in disturbed forest remnants and that T. pusillus can be an ecological indicator of edge effects.

Reference:
Dionisio-da-Silva W, de Araujo Lira AF, de Albuquerque CMR. Distinct edge effects and reproductive periods of sympatric litter-dwelling scorpions (Arachnida: Scorpiones) in a Brazilian Atlantic forest. Zoology. 2018;129:17-24. [NB! Open Access until 17.08.18, then subscription required for access]

Thanks to Welton Dionisio da Silva and Andre Lira for informing me about their article!

Family Buthidae


02 July, 2018

A revision of the cryptic genus Microbuthus and the description of a new species


Graeme Lowe and co-workers have recently published a review of the cryptic genus Microbuthus Kraepelin, 1898 (Buthidae) from western and eastern coasts of North Africa and the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. A new species is also described.

Microbuthus satyrus Lowe, Kovarik, Stockmann & Stahlavsky, 2018 (Oman, Yemen)

Abstract:
The taxonomy of the genus Microbuthus is reviewed, and a new species from Oman and Yemen, M. satyrus sp. n., is described and fully illustrated with color photographs of live and preserved specimens, as well as of its habitat. It is compared to the closely similar species M. litoralis, which we also illustrate. Synonymy of the type species M. pusillus Kraepelin, 1898 with M. litoralis (Pavesi, 1885) is confirmed, and the species is recorded for the first time from Yemen. Hemispermatophores of M. satyrus sp. n., M. gardneri Lowe, 2010, and M. kristensenorum Lowe, 2010 are illustrated and compared, and we also describe the karyotypes of these three Microbuthus species. The number of chromosomes is the same in all analyzed species (2n=26).

Reference:
Lowe G, Kovarik F, Stockmann M, Stahlavsky F. Review of Microbuthus with description of M. satyrus sp. n. (Scorpiones, Buthidae) from Oman and Yemen. Euscorpius. 2018(263):1-22. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

27 June, 2018

A revision of three vaejovid genera and three new Thorellius species


Edmundo González-Santillán and Lorenzo Prendini have recently published a systematic review of the three North American genera Balsateres González-Santillán and Prendini, 2013, Kuarapu Francke and Ponce-Saavedra, 2010 and Thorellius Soleglad and Fet, 2008 (Vaejovidae). Three new species is described and one taxa is synonymized.

New species:

Thorellius tekuani Gonzalez-Santillan & Prendini, 2018 (Mexico)
Thorellius wixarika Gonzalez-Santillan & Prendini, 2018 (Mexico)
Thorellius yuyuawi Gonzalez-Santillan & Prendini, 2018 (Mexico)

Synonymization:

Thorellius atrox (Hoffmann, 1931) is synonymized with Thorellius cristimanus (Pocock, 1898).

The article present new distributional data and an identification key for the genus Thorellius.

Abstract:
Four genera formed a monophyletic group, referred to as the Kochius clade, in the phylogeny of the North American vaejovid scorpion subfamily Syntropinae Kraepelin, 1905: Balsateres González-Santillán and Prendini, 2013; Kochius Soleglad and Fet, 2008; Kuarapu Francke and Ponce-Saavedra, 2010; and Thorellius Soleglad and Fet, 2008. In the present contribution, all except Kochius, treated elsewhere, are revised. The monotypic Balsateres and Kuarapu are redescribed. Thorellius cristimanus (Pocock, 1898) and Thorellius intrepidus (Thorell, 1876) are redescribed and their type localities discussed and clarified. Three new species of Thorellius are described: Thorellius tekuani; Thorellius wixarika; and Thorellius yuyuawi. Vaejovis intrepidus atrox Hoffmann, 1931, is newly synonymized with T. cristimanus based on examination of the type material. A key to identification of the species of Thorellius is presented, and new locality records and updated distribution maps provided for all species covered.

Reference:
Gonzalez Santillan E, Prendini L. Systematic revision of the North American syntropine vaejovid scorpion genera Balsateres, Kuarapu, and Thorellius, with descriptions of three new species. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 2018(420):1-81. [Open Access]

Thanks to Edmundo González-Santillán for informing me about their article!

Family Vaejovidae

21 June, 2018

Scorpion fear


Arachnophobia actually means fear for arachnids, but in most cases this term is used for spider fear or phobia. There haven't been many studies investigating the presence of fear of scorpions or other arachnids. In a recent study, Richard Vetter and co-workers studied the presence of scorpion fear compared to fear of spiders in 850 university students from five different campuses in USA.

The results were surprising. The researchers expected expected a higher fear for spiders than for scorpions, but they found the opposite - a higher fear for scorpions that for spiders. The authors provide to explanation for this result and recommend that more research should be done into this interesting topic.

Abstract:
No abstract available.

Reference:
Vetter RS, Draney ML, Brown CA, Trumble JT, Gouge DH, Hinkle NC, et al. Spider Fear Versus Scorpion Fear in Undergraduate Students at Five American Universities. American Entomologist. 2018;64(2):79-82. [Subscription required for full text]

08 June, 2018

A desert scorpion can smell its enemies


Avoid being eaten or killed is one of the fundamental drives in all animals and an impressive range of anti-predator tactics have been described. Scorpions have their powerful claws and a venomous sting, but other tools are also available.

Zia Nisani and co-workers have now published a very interesting article showing that the desert scorpion Paruroctonus marksi (Haradon, 1984) (Vaejovidae) can actually smell the proximity of a potential predator (in this case the much larger scorpion Hadrurus arizonensis (Ewing, 1928) (Caraboctonidae)) and then avoid approaching it. This is the first evidence of airborne chemoreception as an anti-predator strategy in scorpions.

One of the experiments in this study point to a special constellation array of sensilla (or a yet unidentified structure) on the pedipalps as the "sense organ" used to detect the odors of predators.

Abstract:
Chemically induced predator avoidance behaviors exist in many arthropods. In this paper, we examined the behavioral responses of the desert scorpion, Paruroctonus marksi (Haradon, 1984), to airborne chemical cues from a natural predator, the larger scorpion Hadrurus arizonensis (Ewing, 1928). We used a Y-shaped, dual-choice olfactometer to test for avoidance behavior in the presence of a known predator, H. arizonensis. Prior to this study there has been little research done on chemically induced predator avoidance behaviors in scorpions. The results of this study suggest that P. marksi is capable of detecting a predator’s airborne cues, though the nature and identity of these cues remain unknown, and it appears that the constellation array of the fixed finger does function in detecting these cues. We also discuss the importance of adaptive predator avoidance behaviors.

Reference:
Nisani Z, Honaker A, Jenne V, Loya F, Moon H. Evidence of airborne chemoreception in the scorpion Paruroctonus marksi (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae). Journal of Arachnology. 2018;46:40-4. [Open Access]

Thanks to Matt Simon for informing me about this article!

07 June, 2018

An interesting study on prey capture behavior in Bothriurus bonariensis


I'm always happy to read new studies on scorpion behavior. There are not that many of them, and my background is in animal behavior and I did my master thesis on sting use and prey capture behavior in two species of Parabuthus Pocock, 1890.

Yuri Simone and co-workers have now published an interesting study on prey capture behavior in female Bothriurus bonariensis (C.L. Koch, 1842) (Bothriuridae). The study describes the consumption, subduing time, feeding strategy and stinger use against different types of prey from the scorpions habitat (the prey differed in size, morphology and/or defense capabilities).

The main conclusion is that Bothriurus bonariensis is able to use different predatory strategies which might allow it to include prey with diverse defensive strategies in its diet. I refer to the abstract and the articles for further details on the results and discussion.

Abstract:
Scorpions are dominant predators in some environments. Nevertheless, most studies of predatory behavior in scorpions have focused on diet composition whereas some other relevant aspects, such as predatory strategy, have been poorly explored. Herein we evaluate the prey acceptance and predatory strategy of the scorpion Bothriurus bonariensis against sympatric prey with different defenses. As prey, we selected earwigs (Forficula cf. auricularia) which use pincer-like defensive appendages, hard-bodied isopods (Armadillium vulgare) known for their conglobation defensive strategy, soft bodied isopods (Porcellio cf. scaber), which secrete noxious substances as defense mechanisms, cockroaches with limited defensive mechanisms (Blatta cf. orientalis.) and spiders (Lycosa cf. poliostoma) which possess venomous fangs. Prey were offered to 21 adults of B. bonariensis in random order until all prey had been offered to all scorpions. Prey consumption and the number of attempts needed for capture were recorded. We also evaluated the effect of sting use on immobilization time as well as the prey capture strategies on the most consumed prey. We found that despite using a similar number of attempts for capturing all prey, spiders and armadillid isopods were less consumed than other prey. Immobilization times were longer for earwigs than for armadillid isopods and cockroaches. Scorpions used alternative predatory strategies against these aforementioned prey, although the stinger was used against all of them. These results show that scorpions are able to use different predatory strategies which might allow them to include prey with diverse defensive strategies in their diet.

Reference:
Simone Y, Garcia LF, Lacava M, van der Meijden A, Viera C. Predatory Versatility in Females of the Scorpion Bothriurus bonariensis (Scorpiones: Bothriuridae): Overcoming Prey with Different Defensive Mechanisms. Journal of Insect Behavior. 2018;First Online 01 June 2018. [Subscription required for full text]

06 June, 2018

The scorpion fauna of French Guiana and description of four new species


Eric Ythier has just published a synopsis of the scorpion fauna of French Guiana. In the paper, four new species are described.

Buthidae:
Ananteris kalina Ythier, 2018

Chactidae:
Auyantepuia aluku Ythier, 2018*
Auyantepuia aurum Ythier, 2018*
Hadrurochactas cristinae Ythier, 2018

*The genus Auyantepuia was synonymized with other genera by Soleglad & Fet. 2005. Lourenço & Qi (2007) and Eric Ythier have chosen not to accept this synonymization, and described the new species in Auyantepuia, but no justifying the revalidation of the genus have been provided. The taxonomy of The Scorpion Files follows Soleglad & Fet (2005), but it is impossible for me to know where to put the new species. I have chosen to reinstate Auyantepuia in The Scorpion Files for this species until a new revision on the family Chactidae is published. Auyantepuia is not counted in the number of genera for the family, but the species are included.

The articles has habitat description and pictures. The species list for French Guiana is updated and an identification key for the 30 species in the country is provided.

Abstract:
A synopsis is provided for all scorpion species collected in French Guiana, including thorough diagnoses and additional distributional records for each documented species. Four new species are also described in this paper (one Ananteris from northeastern Guiana, two Auyantepuia from central and northeastern Guiana and one Hadrurochactas from western Guiana), raising the total number of species described from French Guiana to 30. Most of the species are illustrated, geographical distribution maps are presented, and a key to the species is proposed.

Reference:
Ythier E. A synopsis of the scorpion fauna of French Guiana, with description of four new species. ZooKeys. 2018(764):27-90. [Open Access]

Thanks to Eric Ythier for sending me his article!

Family Buthidae
Family Chactidae

05 June, 2018

A new Vaejovis from Arizona, USA


Richard Ayrey has recently described a new species of Vaejovis C. L. Koch, 1836 (Vaejovidae) from the Patagonia Mountains, Southern Arizona.

Vaejovis patagonia Ayrey, 2018

Abstract:
A new scorpion species, Vaejovis patagonia sp. nov. is described and placed in the “vorhiesi” group. This small, dark brown species is found near Patagonia, Arizona. It is geographically closest to V. troupi Ayrey & Soleglad, V. grahami Ayrey & Soleglad and V. vorhiesi Stahnke. Those three species are found in a triangle surrounding the Patagonia Mountains, the locality of Vaejovis patagonia. The pedipalp fixed finger has 5 ID denticles and the movable finger has 6, like most, but not all, of the other southern Arizona Vaejovis. Carapace of female is shorter than metasomal segment V.

Reference:
Ayrey RF. A New Species of Vaejovis from the Patagonia Mountains, Southern Arizona (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae). Euscorpius. 2018(262):1-12. [Open Access]

Family Vaejovidae

31 May, 2018

A new scorpion book has been published in Dutch


Dutch scorpion enthusiast Jeroen Kooijman has recently authored a scorpion book written in Dutch. Kooijman is an experienced scorpion enthusiast that has been keeping and breeding scorpions for more than 20 years. He has also given lectures, courses and more about scorpions in The Netherlands for many years. This is the first scorpion book in Dutch, complimenting the books already available in English and German.

I haven't seen the book yet, but based on my knowledge of Jeroen and the Dutch scorpion community I'm quite sure that this will be an important information source about scorpions in captivity and in general.

The book is published by the Dutch Scorpion Society and can be ordered from info@schorpioen.org.


29 May, 2018

A new species of Vaejovis from Sonora, Mexico


Diego A. Barrales-Alcalá and co-workers have recently published an article describing a new species of Vaejovis C. L. Koch, 1836 (Vaejovidae) from Sonora, Mexico.

Vaejovis islaserrano Barrales-Alcalá, Francke, Van Devender & Contreras-Félix, 2018

Abstract:
Vaejovis islaserrano sp. n. is described from the Sierras Elenita and La Mariquita, Municipio de Cananea, Sonora, Mexico. This species belongs to the “vorhiesi” group of the genus Vaejovis and inhabits pine-oak forests in northern Mexico. This species is compared to its most similar species. This new species presents an interesting morphological difference from the rest of the species in the species-group: the absence of a subaculear tubercle or spine.

Reference:
Barrales-Alcalá DA, Francke OF, Van Devender TR, Contreras-Félix GA. A new Sky Island species of Vaejovis C. L. Koch, 1836 from Sonora, Mexico (Scorpiones, Vaejovidae). ZooKeys. 2018(760):37-53. [Open Access]

Thanks to Oscar Francke for sending me this article!

Family Vaejovidae

28 May, 2018

A revision of the genus Butheolus with a new genus and species


Graeme Lowe has recently published a revision of the genus Butheolus Simon, 1882 (Buthidae) mainly based on materials from Oman. The main conclusions are:

Xenobuthus Lowe, 2018 (new genus distributed in Oman, Saudi Arabia and Yemen).
Xenobuthus anthracinus (Pocock, 1895) (redescribed and moved from Butheolus).
Xenobuthus arabicus ((Lourenço & Qi, 2006) (moved from Butheolus).
Xenobuthus xanthus Lowe, 2018 (new species from Oman).

Butheolus harrisoni Lowe, 2018 (new species from Oman).

The article has has an identification guide for the genera Butheolus and Xenobuthus.

Abstract:
The genus Butheolus Simon, 1882 is revised based on new material from Dhofar Province in Oman. B. gallagheri Vachon, 1980 is redescribed, and a related new species, B. harrisoni sp. n., is also described. The species B. anthracinus (Pocock, 1895) is redescribed and moved to a new genus Xenobuthus gen. n., that is differentiated from Butheolus by size, pedipalp finger dentition, setation, granulation and hemispermatophore structure, and a related new species, X. xanthus sp. n., is also described. Revised diagnoses are provided for the genus Butheolus, and for the species B. thalassinus Simon, 1882, and B. villosus Hendrixson, 2006, a key is given for the species examined in this study, and the status of other related species discussed.

Reference:
Lowe G. The genera Butheolus Simon, 1882 and Xenobuthus gen. nov. (Scorpiones: Buthidae) in Oman. Euscorpius. 2018(261):1-73. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

22 May, 2018

Catalog of the Scorpions of the World (1758-1998) is now freely available in full text


The Catalog of the Scorpions of the World (1758-1998) was the first publication in 100 years trying to list all scorpion taxa in the world when it was published in 2000. Since then, a lot of changes and new updates have been published, but this book is still an essential source for all researchers working on scorpion taxonomy.

I recently learned that the Catalog of the Scorpions of the World (1758-1998) is now freely available in full text for all in Marshall Digital Scholar. This is great news for the scorpion community.

Catalog of the Scorpions of the World (1758-1998)

Due to the size of the book, each chapter can be downloaded separately.

Reference:
Fet, Victor, W. David Sissom, Graeme Lowe, and Matt E. Braunwalder. Catalog of the Scorpions of the World (1758-1998). New York Entomological Society, 2000.

18 April, 2018

A new species of Compsobuthus from Somaliland


Frantisek Kovarik recently published an article presenting a new species of Compsobuthus Vachon, 1949 (Buthidae) from Somaliland.

Compsobuthus maidensis Kovarik, 2018

Abstract:
Compsobuthus maidensis sp. n. from Somaliland is described and fully complemented with color photos of specimens, as well as its habitat. Data on the occurrence of the genus Compsobuthus Vachon, 1949 in the Horn of Africa is summarized.

Reference:
Kovarik F. Scorpions of the Horn of Africa (Arachnida, Scorpiones). Part XVI. Compsobuthus maidensis sp. n. (Buthidae) from Somaliland. Euscorpius. 2018(260):1-11. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

13 April, 2018

A revision of some Italian populations of Euscorpius with five new species


Gioele Tropea published an article in 2017 where he studied several populations of Euscorpius sicanus (C. L. Koch, 1872) (Euscorpiidae) in Italy. I just recently learned about this article, but better late than never.

Tropea's analyses show that Euscorpius sicanus is a species complex and he have done the following taxonomical deccisions:

New species:

Euscorpius altadonnai Tropea, 2017 (Northeastern Sicily and southern Calabria, Italy)
Euscorpius salentinus Tropea, 2017 (Southern Puglia (Salento), Italy)

The following species have been raised to species status from synonymy with Euscorpius sicanus:

Euscorpius calabriae Di Caporiacco, 1950 (Calbria and Basilicata (southern part), Italy)
Euscorpius canestrinii (Fanzago, 1872) (Sardinia, Italy)
Euscorpius garganicus Di Caporiacco, 1950 (Puglia, Molise, Campania and Basilicata, Italy and Pelagosa Island, Croatia)

Abstract:
After Fet et al. (2003), Euscorpius sicanus (C. L. Koch, 1837) was considered a highly polymorphic species, widespread in Italy, North Africa, Malta and Greece, having the characters eb = 5 + eba = 45. In this study, a neotype is designated for E. sicanus. The following forms, synonymized with E. sicanus by Fet et al. (2003), are herein revalidated and elevated to species status: E. calabriae Di Caporiacco, 1950 stat. n.; E. canestrinii (Fanzago, 1872) stat. n.; E. garganicus Di Caporiacco, 1950 stat. n. The latter species is herein recorded for the first time in the Italian regions of Molise and Campania, and in Pelagosa Island, Croatia. Two new species and one new subspecies are described, E. salentinus sp. n. from southern Apulia, E. altadonnai sp. n. from northeastern Sicily and southern Calabria, and E. garganicus molisanus subsp. n. from northeastern Apulia, Molise and southeastern Abruzzo. With these taxonomic changes the number of species in Italy has increased to 18.

Reference:
Tropea G. Reconsideration of some populations of Euscorpius sicanus complex in Italy (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae). Arachnida - Rivista Aracnologica Italiana. 2017;3(11):2-60.

Thanks to Gioele Tropea for sending me his interesting article!

Family Euscorpiidae
 

06 April, 2018

Three new species of Gint from Somaliland and a revision of the genus


Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers have published a new article in their ongoing research on the scorpion fauna of the Horn of Africa. This time they have done a revision of the genus Gint Kovarik, Lowe, Pliskova & Stahlavsky, 2013 (Buthidae) and theree new species are described from Somaliland.

Gint amoudensis Kovarik, Lowe, Just, Awale, Elmi & Stahlavsky, 2018

Gint gubanensis Kovarik, Lowe, Just, Awale, Elmi & Stahlavsky, 2018

Gint maidensis Kovarik, Lowe, Just, Awale, Elmi & Stahlavsky, 2018

Additional information is provided on the taxonomy and distribution of the other species in the genus. The following three species are declared nomen dubium because of insufficient descriptions and justifications:

Gint insolitus (Borelli, 1925)
Gint marialuisae Rossi, 2015
Gint monicae Rossi, 2015

The three species are still listed in The Scorpion Files, but are labeled nomen dubium until future research clarify their status.

An identification key for the members of the genus is provided.

Abstract:

We describe herein three new species of Buthidae: Gint amoudensis sp. n., G. gubanensis sp. n., and G. maidensis sp. n. from Somaliland. Additional information is provided on the taxonomy and distribution of other species of the genus Gint, fully complemented with color photos of live and preserved specimens, as well as of their habitat. The hemispermatophores of most Gint species are illustrated and described for the first time. In addition to the analyses of external morphology and hemispermatophores, we also describe the karyotype of four Gint species. The number of chromosomes is different for every one of the analysed species (G. dabakalo 2n=23, G. gaitako 2n=30, G. amoudensis sp. n. 2n=35–36, and G. maidensis sp. n. 2n=34).

Reference:
Kovarik F, Lowe G, Just P, Awale AI, Elmi HSA, Stahlavsky F. Scorpions of the Horn of Africa (Arachnida: Scorpiones). Part XV. Review of the genus Gint Kovařík et al., 2013, with description of three new species from Somaliland (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2018(259):1-41. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae