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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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)

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).

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)


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.

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.

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.

No abstract available.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Ananteris kalina Ythier, 2018

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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)

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.

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.


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).

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

05 April, 2018

Two new, troglobitc species discovered 3000-5000 meters inside a cave system in Vietnam

The family Pseudochactidae Gromov, 1998 contains several enigmatic genera and species, many of them troglobites living in cave systems in Asia. In a recent article, Wilson Lourenco and co-workers present the discovery of two new, troglobitic species in the genus Vietbocap Lourenço & Pham, 2010 from the Thien Duong cave in Vietnam.

Vietbocap aurantiacus Lourenço, Pham, Tran & Tran, 2018

Vietbocap quinquemilia Lourenço, Pham, Tran & Tran, 2018

The two species were discovered 3000-5000 meters inside the cave system. This is a new record of distance from a cave entrance for scorpions.

Two new species of scorpion belonging to the family Pseudochactidae and to the genus Vietbocap are described based on specimens collected in the Thien Duong cave, which belongs to the Vom cave system, in the Phong Nha–Ke Bang National Park, Quang Binh Province, Vietnam. The previously described species from this cave, Vietbocap thienduongensis Lourenco & Pham, 2012 was collected in the initial section of the cave (1500 to 1800 m from the cave entrance) and proved to be a true troglobitic element. The diagnosis of this species, only known from males, is completed based on females collected at 750 m from the cave entrance. The two new species described here were collected respectively at 3000 and 5000 m from the cave entrance and are also true troglobitic elements, very similar to V. thienduongensis, but showing some clear morphological differences. This observed situation suggests a possible case of speciation within the cave system, the first one ever reported for scorpions. The population found at 5000 m from the entrance of the cave is a total new record of distance from a cave entrance for scorpions.

Lourenco WR, Pham DS, Tran TH, Tran TH. The genus Vietbocap Lourenco & Pham, 2010 in the Thien Duong cave, Vietnam: A possible case of subterranean speciation in scorpions (Scorpiones: Pseudochactidae). C R Biol. 2018. [Subscription required for full text]

Family Pseudochactidae

13 March, 2018

Environmental factors predicting distribution of Androctonus in Morocco

Predicting the occurrence of potential dangerous scorpions in an area may be an important tool in preventing serious sting cases. Moulay Abdelmonaim El Hidan and co-workers have published a study where they have identified environmental factors related to scorpion species occurrence in Morocco (the medical important genus Ancrotonus was chosen), and based on this they have developed scorpion envenomation risk maps for the same areas.

Aim: The objective of this study was to establish environmental factors related to scorpion species occurrence and their current potential geographic distributions in Morocco, to produce a current envenomation risk map and also to assess the human population at risk of envenomation.
Materials and Methods: In this study, 71 georeferenced points for all scorpion species and nine environmental indicators were used to generate species distribution models in Maxent (maximum entropy modeling of species geographic distributions) version 3.3.3k. The models were evaluated by the area under the curve (AUC), using the omission error and the binomial probability. With the data generated by Maxent, distribution and envenomation risk maps were produced using the “ESRI® ArcGIS 10.2.2 for Desktop” software.
Results: The models had high predictive success (AUC >0.95±0.025). Altitude, slope and five bioclimatic attributes were found to play a significant role in determining Androctonus scorpion species distribution. Ecological niche models (ENMs) showed high concordance with the known distribution of the species. Produced risk map identified broad risk areas for Androctonus scorpion envenomation, extending along Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, Souss-Massa-Draa, and some areas of Doukkala-Abda and Oriental regions.
Conclusion: Considering these findings ENMs could be useful to afford important information on distributions of medically important scorpion species as well as producing scorpion envenomation risk maps.

El Hidan MA, Touloun O, Bouazza A, Laaradia MA, Boumezzough A. Androctonus genus species in arid regions: Ecological niche models, geographical distributions, and envenomation risk. Veterinary World. 2018;11(3):286-92. [Open Access]

Thanks to Carlos Turiel for informing me about this article!

08 March, 2018

A review on the scorpionism by the genus Hemiscorpius in Iran

The majority of the literature on scorpionism and medical important scorpions is focused on species on the family Buthidae. But many of the species in the family Hemiscorpiidae can also cause death or serious morbidity. Interestingly, the symptoms of Hemiscorpius Peters, 1861 envenomations are different from the traditional envenomations by buthids. E. g. a sting by the latter will immediately cause pain, while the sting of a Hemiscorpius is usually painless and the patient risk not knowing that a sting has occurred until more serious symptoms occur.

Rouhullah Dehghani and co-workers have now published an interesting review on the scorpionism by Hemiscorpius scorpions in Iran summing up the knowledge on envenomations from these potential dangerous species.

Scorpions are distributed throughout Iran and the genus Hemiscorpius is particularly important in this region. Hemiscorpius lepturus is the most significant species within the genus in the country. Since scorpionism provoked by Hemiscorpius comprises a medical emergency, the present study is focused on this important issue. In order to perform the present work, a review of the medical and health-related literature was carried out in several databases. The current findings indicate that six species of Hemiscorpius are found in 15 states of Iran, mainly in the south and southwest. Deaths caused by stings were reported only for two species. The morphological characteristics and geographical distribution of H. lepturus in Iran, its venom and the toxic compounds, epidemiologic data and clinical manifestations of envenomation as well as treatment for affected people are herein reviewed and described. H. lepturus venom toxicity differs from other Iranian scorpions regarding duration and severity. Scorpionism is an important public health problem in Iran, especially in southwest and south regions and in urban areas. It is more prevalent in children and young people. H. lepturus venom is primarily a cytotoxic agent and has hemolytic, nephrotoxic and to some extent hepatotoxic activity. The use of polyvalent antivenom to prevent scorpion sting symptoms is recommended. A well-planned health education program might be useful in preventing scorpionism.

Dehghani R, Kamiabi F, Mohammadi M. Scorpionism by Hemiscorpius spp. in Iran: a review. J Venom Anim Toxins Incl Trop Dis. 2018;24:8. [Open Access]

Family Hemiscorpiidae

A new species of Leiurus from Algeria

Until 2002, the genus Leiurus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Buthidae) was monotypic with Leiurus quinquestriatus (Ehrenberg, 1828) as the only species. In a recent article, Lourenco and co-workers describe the twelfth species in the genus, this time from Algeria.

Leirurus hoggarensis Loreunco, Kourim & Sadine, 2018

A new species of buthid scorpion belonging to the genus Leiurus Ehrenberg 1828 is described on the basis of four males and six females collected in the region of AmesmessaTamanrasset in the south of Algeria. The new species, Leiurus hoggarensis sp. n., most certainly corresponds to the Leiurus population previously cited by Vachon from both the Hoggar and the Tassili N’Ajjer as Leiurus quinquestriatus. Several characteristics, however, attest that this population is unquestionable distinct from these found in Egypt, and both species can be distinguished by a distinct coloration pattern, different morphometric values and different number of teeth on the pectines. The type locality of the new species represents the most westerly record of the genus Leiurus in Africa, and the new species also inhabit a more mesic zone when compared to the central compartment of the Saharan desert. Leiurus hoggarensis sp. n., apparently does not present characteristics of a psamophilic species and may be considered as a lithophilic species. This is the 12th species to be described for this buthid genus.

Lourenco WR, Kourim ML, Sadine SE. Scorpions from the region of Tamanrasset, Algeria. Part II. A new African species of the genus Leiurus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Arachnida - Rivista Aracnologica Italiana. 2018;4(16):3-14.

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

Family Buthidae

23 February, 2018

On the phylogenetic placement of the family Bothriuridae and new insight into the complicated high-level scorpion systematics

The higher level phylogeny and systematics of scorpions is complicated and there are several models for this. Prashant P. Sharmaa and several co-workers have now published an article on the phylogenetic placement of the family Bothriuridae. The article also presents new data on the high- level scorpion systematics and the first phylogenomic dating of the arachnid order Scorpiones.

The scorpion family Bothriuridae occupies a subset of landmasses formerly constituting East and West temperate Gondwana, but its relationship to other scorpion families is in question. Whereas morphological data have strongly supported a sister group relationship of Bothriuridae and the superfamily Scorpionoidea, a recent phylogenomic analysis recovered a basal placement of bothriurids within Iurida, albeit sampling only a single exemplar. Here we reexamined the phylogenetic placement of the family Bothriuridae, sampling six bothriurid exemplars representing both East and West Gondwana, using transcriptomic data. Our results demonstrate that the sister group relationship of Bothriuridae to the clade (“Chactoidea”+Scorpionoidea) is supported by the inclusion of additional bothriurid taxa, and that this placement is insensitive to matrix completeness or partitioning by evolutionary rate. We also estimated divergence times within the order Scorpiones using multiple fossil calibrations, to infer whether the family Bothriuridae is sufficiently old to be characterized as a true Gondwanan lineage. We show that scorpions underwent ancient diversification between the Devonian and early Carboniferous. The age interval of the bothriurids sampled (a derived group that excludes exemplars from South Africa) spans the timing of breakup of temperate Gondwana.

Sharma PP, Baker CM, Cosgrove JG, Johnson JE, Oberski JT, Raven RJ, et al. A revised dated phylogeny of scorpions: Phylogenomic support for ancient divergence of the temperate Gondwanan family Bothriuridae. Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2018;122:37-45. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Matt Simon for informing me about this article!

Family Bothriuridae

Two new species in the vaejovid genus Kovarikia from California, USA

The last decades have revealed many new species that have been morphologically "hidden" in species complexes. Fortunately, the development in DNA sequencing and species delimitation modeling has made it easier for taxonomist to find and describe similar-looking, yet evolutionary distinct species.

In a recent article, Robert Bryson Jr. and co-workers have described two new species in the enigmatic genus Kovarikia Soleglad, Fet & Graham, 2014 (Vaejovidae) that are endemic to California, USA.

Kovarikia oxy Bryson, Graham & Soleglad, 2018

Kovarikia savaryi Bryson, Graham & Soleglad, 2018

The article has an identification key for the genus Kovarikia.

Morphologically conserved taxa such as scorpions represent a challenge to delimit. We recently discovered populations of scorpions in the genus Kovarikia Soleglad, Fet & Graham, 2014 on two isolated mountain ranges in southern California. We generated genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism data and used Bayes factors species delimitation to compare alternative species delimitation scenarios which variously placed scorpions from the two localities with geographically adjacent species or into separate lineages. We also estimated a time-calibrated phylogeny of Kovarikia and examined and compared the morphology of preserved specimens from across its distribution. Genetic results strongly support the distinction of two new lineages, which we describe and name here. Morphology among the species of Kovarikia was relatively conserved, despite deep genetic divergences, consistent with recent studies of stenotopic scorpions with limited vagility. Phylogeographic structure discovered in several previously described species also suggests additional cryptic species are probably present in the genus.

Bryson Jr RW, Wood DA, Graham MR, Soleglad ME, McCormack JE. Genome-wide SNP data and morphology support the distinction of two new species of Kovarikia Soleglad, Fet & Graham, 2014 endemic to California (Scorpiones, Vaejovidae). ZooKeys. 2018(739):79-106. [Open Access]

Family Vaejovidae

21 February, 2018

First report of a Liocheles/Hormuridae from Sri Lanka

Holidays can be used for many things. As me, Alexander Ullrich looks for scorpions when being on holiday. And this time his holiday activities in Sri Lanka resulted in finding the first scorpion in the family Hormuridae on the island, more precisely the species Liocheles australasiae (Fabricius, 1775). The finding is presented in a recently published article authored by Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers.

Liocheles australasiae (Fabricius, 1775) is reported for the first time from Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan population is fully complemented with color photos of live and preserved females, as well as its habitat.

Kovarik F, Ranawana KB, Sanjeewa Jayarathne VA, Karunarathna S, Ullrich A. Scorpions of Sri Lanka (Arachnida, Scorpiones). Part II. Family Hormuridae. Euscorpius. 2018(258):1-5. [Open Access]

Family Hormuridae

20 February, 2018

Scorpionism in the Shiraz Province in Iran and Hotentotta jayakari as a medical important species

Hossein Sanaei-Zadeh and co-workers published an article on the scorpionism in the Shiraz Province in Iran in late 2017. I refer to the abstract and the article for details, but will mention one interesting and inportant conclusion: The article reports about sting cases involving Hottentotta jayakari (Pocock, 1895) (Buthidae) and concludes that this species should be listed as medical important (at least in Iran).

Background: Scorpionism is a public health problem in some provinces in Iran. The present study aimed to assess the clinical manifestations of scorpion envenomation in Shiraz and determine a clinical severity grading for Iranian scorpion envenomation in order to suggest a treatment guideline for emergency physicians.

Methods: In this analytic retrospective study, all medical charts of patients with scorpion sting admitted in the adult medical toxicology center in Shiraz during July 2012 to July 2016 were assessed. Data regarding the patient's age, gender, sting site, month of envenomation, time of sting, clinical manifestations, vital signs, presence of blood or hemoglobin in urine analysis, duration of admission, color of scorpion, received treatments, and administration of scorpion antivenin were recorded.

Results: The scorpions in Shiraz and its suburban area were classified into two groups: yellow scorpions (Mesobuthus eupeus, Mesobuthus caucasicus, and Compsobuthus matthiesseni) and Hottentotta scorpions (Hottentotta jayakari and Hottentotta zagrosensis). A total of 126 cases of scorpion stings were assessed. About 59% (n=74) were males. The patients aged 8-63 years (mean age, 33.8±11.5 years). About 38.4% (n=48) of the stings occurred during summer. More than 40% of patients (n=51) referred to the emergency department (ED) at night. Localized pain was the most frequent presenting complaint (76.2%). The most frequent general symptom was nausea (6.3%). The most prevalent envenomation site was the lower extremities followed by upper extremities (43.5% and 41.9%, respectively). Based on the clinical severity grading for Iranian scorpion envenomation, 65, 43, and 18 patients (51.6%, 34.1%, and 14.3%) were classified in the grades I, II, and III, respectively. Eighty-one (73%) patients stayed in the ED from 1 to 6 hours, and 30 (27%) patients stayed for >6 hours for observation. Severe localized pain was more prevalent in stings with Hottentotta scorpions than yellow scorpions (P=0.01). The season of envenomation with Hottentotta scorpions was summer in all cases, but envenomation with yellow scorpions was seen throughout the year. All patients received symptomatic treatment, and five were given scorpion antivenin. No death was reported.

Conclusion: Hottentotta jayakari is recommended to be listed among the medically important scorpions in Iran. Moreover, scorpion-stung patients in geographical regions where Hemiscorpius lepturus and Androctonus crassicauda are not prevalent may be treated in outpatient departments. The presented grading system can be used for treating patients with scorpion envenomation.

Sanaei-Zadeh H, Marashi SM, Dehghani R. Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of scorpionism in Shiraz (2012-2016); development of a clinical severity grading for Iranian scorpion envenomation. Med J Islam Repub Iran. 2017;31:27. [Open Access]