20 December, 2019

The effects of human activities on the scorpion fauna



Human activities and habitat change or destruction will have an impact on the scorpion fauna in an area in different ways. Some species die out, some move, while others are able to adapt to the new circumstances. Knowledge about this is important to be able to preserve biodiversity in vulnerable areas.

Andre Lira and co-workers published this fall a study from Brazil on the effects of human activities and habitat changes in Neotropical forests. Not surprisingly effects where observed, but they were different among the involved species. The contrasting responses of scorpion species in this study to anthropogenic land-use may offer an insight into a differential ecological plasticity of this taxa.

Abstract:
Changes in land-cover driven by human activities is one of the main causes of disturbances on natural communities but the impact of this factor on scorpions assemblages remains scarcely know. Here we analyzed the scorpion fauna in five tropical forests and their respective neighboring non-natural matrix (planted forests or crops) in Brazil (n = 4) and Mexico (n = 1), aiming to understand how different species of scorpions respond to land-use changes. Scorpions were actively collected with the help of a UV flashlight. A total of 461 individuals were sampled, belonging to nine species and seven genera distributed in three families Buthidae, Bothriuridae and Diplocentridae. Differences in assemblages between environments were found, with higher gamma diversity in undisturbed environments where species showed the highest abundance. A higher species turnover was found in disturbed environments. Based on these results, we suggest a differential sensitive reaction to habitat  lterations amongst scorpions species.

Reference:
Lira AFA, Pordeus LM, Salomão RP, Badillo-Montaño R, Albuquerque CMR. Effects of anthropogenic land-use on scorpions (Arachnida: Scorpiones) in Neotropical forests. International Journal of Tropical Insect Science. 2019:1-8. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Andre Lira for sending me their article!

Female scent turns scorpion males on


The ability of males to find females and behave correctly is important in most animals, and especially in species where the individuals are solitary and aggressive,with females sometimes cannibalizing males. It is well known that male scorpions are able to detect previous presence of females by reacting to chemical substances left by the females (many of us have seen males "juddering" when standing on a substance where a female has previously visited).

Laís Pordeus and co-workers have recently published a study on Tityus pusillus Lourenço, 2013 (Buthidae) where they present evidence that males are changing their behavior in the presence of female scent and that the odor of the females also triggers courtship behavior in the males.

Abstract:
Recognizing conspecific individuals from other members of the community is important for many interactive behaviors, especially those involved in mate selection. We investigated whether male courtship behavior is triggered by chemical cues left by females on the substrate using the sedentary litter-dwelling scorpion Tityus pusillus Pocock, 1893, which is a small and common species distributed throughout the northeast Atlantic Forest in Brazil. In experiments using 50 pairs, we tested whether males recognize females by detecting sex-specific chemicals on the substrate. All males changed their behavior, performing pre-courtship acts when exposed to female-specific chemicals on the substrate, but they did not change their behavior when exposed to a clean substrate lacking female-specific chemicals. These results show that the male T. pusillus alters its behavior in the presence of female chemical cues, suggesting that males recognize females by detecting compounds left on the substrate and that the presence of these chemicals trigger the courtship behavior of the male T. pusillus.

Reference:Pordeus LM, Lira AFA, Albuquerque CMR. Male courtship behavior is triggered by female chemical cues in the scorpion Tityus pusillus (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Can J Zool. 2019;97:1122-5. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Laís Pordeus for sending me their article!

19 December, 2019

Scorpions can actually smell their enemies


It has been known for a long time that scorpions can smell (detect chemical substances) with their pectines and pedipalpal fingers. Zia Nisani and Raul Curiel report for the first time that scorpions are also able to smell the presence of potential predators. In a research trial they were able to show that individuals of Hadrurus arizonensis (Ewing, 1928) (Caraboctonidae) changed behavior in the presence of odor from a potential predator. The advantages of such an ability is of course quite obvious.

Abstract:
Sensory ecology studies show that reception and utilization of information from the environment is a crucial life process. Scorpions possess a weapon that can be used against predators, but it remains unknown whether scorpions’ decision to use it is influenced by chemical cues from predators. We investigated the influence of predators’ odors on stinging behavior of Hadrurus arizonensis (Ewing, 1928) by stimulating them to sting under two conditions: in the presence of an odor from a potential rodent predator (Rattus norvegicus) and in the absence of such an odor. It took fewer probes to elicit a response when predator scent was present, and it resulted in more wet stings than the non-scented treatments. Finally, the smaller scorpions were more reactive than the larger ones. The variances in stinging behavior suggest that the detection of predator odors by H. arizonensis elevates its response in potentially threatening circumstances.

Reference:
Nisani Z, Curiel R. Antipredator responses of Hadrurus arizonensis (Scorpiones: Caraboctonidae) to chemosensory cue from a mammalian predator. J Arachnol. 2019;47:389-91. [Open Access]

17 December, 2019

Five new species of Reddyanus from Southeast Asia



Frantisek Kovarik and Frantisek Stahlavsky have recently published a revision of the rare genus Reddyanus Vachon, 1972 (Buthidae) from Southeast Asia. Five new species are described.

Reddyanus furai Kovarik & Stahlavsky, 2019 (Vietnam)

Reddyanus hofereki Kovarik & Stahlavsky, 2019 (Malaysia)

Reddyanus Majkusi Kovarik & Stahlavsky, 2019 (Malaysia)

Reddyanus rolciki Kovarik & Stahlavsky, 2019 (Vietnam and Cambodia)

Reddyanus schwotti Kovarik & Stahlavsky, 2019 (Thailand and Cambodia)

An identification key for the genus in Southeast Asia is included.

Abstract:
Five new species are described: Reddyanus furai sp. n. from Vietnam, R. hofereki sp. n. and R. majkusi sp. n. from Malaysia, R. rolciki sp. n. from Vietnam and Cambodia, and R. schwotti sp. n. from Thailand and Cambodia, fully complemented with color photographs of live and preserved specimens, as well as their habitats. New species are compared with all other species from this region. In addition to the analysis of external morphology, we also describe the karyotypes of R. furai sp. n. (2n=14), R. majkusi sp. n. (2n=16), R. rolciki sp. n. (2n=14), and R. schwotti (2n=11). A key and distribution map to Reddyanus Vachon, 1972 in Southeast Asia (14 species) are included.

Reference:
Kovarik F, Stahlavsky F. Revision of the genus Reddyanus from Southeast Asia, with description of five new species from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2019(295):1-45. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

05 December, 2019

Two new species of Neobuthus from Somaliland



Frantisek Kovarik has recently described two new species of Neobuthus Hirst, 1911 (Buthidae) from Somaliland.

Neobuthus haeckeli Kovarik, 2019

Neobuthus solegladi Kovarik, 2019

Abstract:
New information about taxonomy and distribution of the genus Neobuthus Hirst, 1911 is presented, based on material recently collected in Somaliland. N. awashensis Kovařík & Lowe, 2012 is reported from Somaliland for the first time. Two new species are described, N. haeckeli sp. n. and N. solegladi sp. n. An updated distribution map of the genus Neobuthus is provided.

Reference:
Kovarik F. Scorpions of the Horn of Africa (Arachnida, Scorpiones). Part XXII. Two new species of Neobuthus from Somaliland (Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2019(294):1-16. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

11 November, 2019

A fatal case of Jaguajir rochae scorpion sting in Brazil due to allergic reaction


Death and serious morbidity are known from scorpion stings from a few species, especially in the family Buthidae. Most of not all cases are caused by the toxic effect of the venom. Serious morbidity caused by allergic reactions to the venom is known from many venomous animals, but rarely reported in scorpions.

Iva Maria Lima Araújo Melo and co-workers have recently reported about a fatal case in Brazil where a man died after been stung by Jaguajir rochae (Borelli, 1910) Buthidae). This species was formerly in the genus Rhopalurus Thorell, 1876. Sting of Jaguajir/Rhopalurus have been considered mildly, and the few case reports that exist describe a mild course.

The present case had a very rapid course and the patient died before arriving to a hospital. All factors point to an allergic reactions as cause of death. The patient had a history of allergic reactions attributed to bee stings, and a cross reaction may explain why this patient develop such serious symptoms. Previously, a death from anaphylaxis due to a sting from Centruroides exilacauda has been reported from USA.

In conclusion, even though it is probably rare, sting from assumed harmless species may cause life-threatening allergic reactions. Especially in peoples with allergies.

Abstract:
A 44-year-old healthy farmer, was stung by a scorpion on his right hand while preparing soil for planting in the Caatinga area (a large area in the north-east of Brazil characterized by semiarid scrub forest), in the Catarina Municipality countryside, Ceará State, Brazil. According to the reports of carers and family members, the patient initially reported mild pain at the site of the sting, but within a few minutes he developed malaise, pruritus in the body and throat, edema in the nostrils, and a dry mouth which led to looking for water to drink. It rapidly evolved into sphincter, urinary and fecal release, salivation and a convulsive episode with loss of the senses. He was dead on arrival at Catarina Municipality Hospital emergency department. The necroscopic report indicated suffocation due to glottal edema and acute lung edema as the “cause of death”. The animal which caused the accident was under a rock that the patient was manipulating at the time of the incident, and has been identified by experts as Jaguajir rochae (Borelli, 1910) scorpion species, formerly synonymized Rhopalurus rochae. This is the first report of a fatality due to an allergic reaction to the venom of this species. This leads to the possibility that deaths caused by stings from other scorpion species may be due to anaphylaxis, whose symptoms in some situations may be confused with severe envenomation.

Reference: 
Melo IMLA, Ramalho RD, Bezerra MMV, de Oliveira Filho IE, Medeiros CR, da Costa Gadelha MA, et al. Fatal anaphylaxis to Jaguajir rochae (borelli, 1910) (Scorpiones, Buthidae) in Brazil: A case report. Journal of Tropical Pathology. 2019;48(3):1-8. [Open Access]

06 November, 2019

A new species of Centruroides from Mexico


Edmundo Gonzalez-Santillan and co-workers have recently published a new species of Centruroides Marx, 1890 (Buthidae) from Colima, Mexico.

Centruroides possanii Gonzalez-Santillan, Galan-Sanchez & Valdez-Velazquez, 2019

Abstract:
As part of an ongoing survey of scorpion diversity in Colima, Mexico, the isolated mountain Cerro Grande, part of the Biosphere Reserve Sierra de Manantla´ n, was investigated. Centruroides possanii sp. nov., the fifth species of the genus from the state, was discovered during fieldwork in the massif and is described in the present paper. Physiographical and climatic features of Cerro Grande may restrict the range of this new species; thus, we hypothesized that it may be a microendemic species that requires priority conservation. The new species is not assigned to any Centruroides species group recognized because some of its morphological features do not fit the current diagnosis of any of these groups, and these different groups are non-monophyletic and consequently ill-diagnosed. The new species is profusely illustrated, particularly the hemispermatophore. A distribution map is presented along with the other two more common species distributed in Colima. Because only indirect data on the potency of its venom is available, the medical importance of this new species described here is yet to be known.

Reference:
Gonzalez-Santillan E, Galan-Sanchez MA, Valdez-Velazquez LL. A new species of Centruroides (Scorpiones, Buthidae) from Colima, Mexico. C R Biol. 2019. Available online 31.10.19. [Subscription required for full text]

Family Buthidae

01 November, 2019

A new species of Kochius from Arizona, USA


Richard Ayrey and co-workers have recently published a description of a new species of Kochius Soleglad & Fet, 2008 (Vaejovidae) from southern Arizona, USA.

Kochius colluvius Ayrey, Jones & Myers, 2019

Abstract:
A new scorpion species, Kochius colluvius sp. n. is described (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae). This small brown species is found in the Avra Valley near Tucson, Arizona, USA. It appears to be most similar to Kochius sonorae (Williams, 1971) and K. hirsuticauda (Banks, 1910). On all fingers examined, the fixed finger has 6 ID denticles and the movable finger has 7. There is no scalloping of the chela fingers. This species differs from all other vaejovids in Arizona by having a coarsely granulated exoskeleton.

Reference:
Ayrey RF, Jones LLC, Meyers B. A new species of Kochius from Avra Valley, southern Arizona (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae). Euscorpius. 2019(292):1-13. [Open Access]

Family Vaejovidae

23 October, 2019

New information on Euscorpius feti from the Balkans



Gioele Tropea and Roman Ozimec have recently published an article with new information on Euscorpius feti Tropea, 2013 (Euscorpiidae). The adult male is described for the first time. In addition, the occurrence of E. feti in cave habitats (especially the habitat of cave entrance) is discussed.

Abstract:
The adult male of Euscorpius feti Tropea, 2013 (Euscorpiidae) is described for the first time. A large series (45 specimens including the type material) has been studied, most of the material previously unpublished. E. feti has been found in as many as 17 caves in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, including the Adriatic islands, which makes it the most common Euscorpius species so far found in caves. Ecological notes on this species are presented.

Reference:
Tropea G, Ozimec R. Description of the adult male of Euscorpius feti Tropea, 2013 (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae), with notes on cave ecology of this species. Euscorpius. 2019(291):1-10. [Open Access]

Family Euscorpiidae

22 October, 2019

The daily activity of two intraguild predators, Tityus pusillus and Ananteris mauryi


How to eat and how to avoid being eaten naturally have a great impact on the behavior of scorpions, especially if two or more species inhabit the same habitat/niche (intraguild predation).

Welton Dionisio-da-Silva and co-workers have now published a study on the daily activity of two intraguild predators, Tityus pusillus Pocock, 1893 and Ananteris mauryi Lourenço, 1982 (both Buthidae), and looked for differences in behavior in the presence and absence of each other. Not surprisingly, the presence of a potential predator in the habitat changed the behavior of a potential prey, and vica versa. See abstract and full article for further details.

Abstract:
Intraguild predators can have behavioral mechanisms to maximize foraging and/or avoid predation. However, there is a lack of information about the influence of such prey-predator interactions on the daily activity of the species involved. Therefore, we investigated the daily activity of two intraguild predators, Tityus pusillus Pocock, 1893 and Ananteris mauryi Lourenço, 1982, in the presence and absence of each other. Animals were observed in three experimental conditions, containing individuals of T. pusillus (control 1), A. mauryi (control 2), and both species (treatment). In addition, we evaluated the correlation between the number of active individuals with air temperature and humidity. Our results showed that T. pusillus and A. mauryi have similar daily activity between 18:00 and 05:00 h. However, T. pusillus was more active and shifted from a sit-and-wait hunting mode to actively hunting when in the presence of A. mauryi. In contrast, under predation risk, A. mauryi did not change its level of activity but became more vigilant by reducing the frequency of rest, hydration, and mating attempts. Activity of A. mauryi was positively correlated with air humidity whereas activity of T. pusillus was negatively correlated. This work highlights the influence of intraguild predators in the behavioral decisions during daily activities of each other, indicating adaptive behaviors in both prey and predator.

Reference:
Dionisio-da-Silva W, de Araujo Lira AF, de Albuquerque CMR. Prey-predator interactions between two intraguild predators modulate their behavioral decisions. Acta Ethologica. 2019:1-7 (Published online 12. September 2019).

Thanks to Welton Dionisio-da-Silva for sending me their article!

18 October, 2019

Five new Parabuthus species from Somaliland and Ethiopia



Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers recently published part 21 in their ongoing article series on the scorpion fauna in the Horn of Africa. In their latest article, they look further into Parabuthus heterurus Pocock, 1897 (Buthidae) and conclude that this is actually a species complex consisting of four species (three new species). In addition, two more new species are described from Somaliland.

Parabuthus erigavoensis Kovarik, Lowe, Elmi & Stahlavsky, 2019 (new species from Somaliland).

Parabuthus kabateki Kovarik, Lowe, Elmi & Stahlavsky, 2019 (new species from Somaliland).

Parabuthus mazuchi Kovarik, Lowe, Elmi & Stahlavsky, 2019 (new species from Somaliland).

Parabuthus robustus Kovarik, Lowe, Elmi & Stahlavsky, 2019 (new species from Ethiopia and Somaliland).

Parabuthus somalilandus Kovarik, Lowe, Elmi & Stahlavsky, 2019 (new species from Somaliland).

Parabuthus terzanii Rossi, 2017 is synonymized with Parabuthus hamar Kovařík et al., 2016. The former was never listed in The Scorpion Files.

New data on the distribution of Parabuthus of the Horn of Africa are given and an identification key for the genus in the same area is available.

Abstract:
The complex of Parabuthus heterurus Pocock, 1897 is split into four species: P. heterurus Pocock, 1897 s. str. whose type locality and real distribution are discussed and corrected, and three herein described species, P. kabateki sp. n., P. robustus sp. n. and P. somalilandus sp. n. In the species complex of Parabuthus liosoma (Ehrenberg, 1828), P. erigavoensis sp. n. from Somaliland is described. Also described are P. mazuchi sp. n., sympatric with P. cimrmani Kovařík, 2004 and P. eritreaensis Kovařík, 2003 from Somaliland. New data are presented on the distribution of the genus Parabuthus Pocock, 1890 in the Horn of Africa, mainly in Somaliland, acquired during expeditions in 2017–2019. Information is provided about Parabuthus species from Somaliland, their taxonomy, distribution, and ecology, fully complemented with color photos of live and preserved specimens, as well as their habitats. The hemispermatophores of P. kabateki sp. n., P. mazuchi sp. n., P. robustus sp. n. and P. somalilandus sp. n. are illustrated and described. In addition to the analyses of external morphology and hemispermatophores, we also described the karyotypes of P. kabateki sp. n., P. robustus sp. n., and P. somalilandus sp. n. All three species have karyotypes with 2n=16 and chromosomes gradually decreasing in length. Included is a key to Parabuthus Pocock, 1890 in the Horn of Africa. Parabuthus terzanii Rossi, 2017 is synonymized with Parabuthus hamar Kovařík et al., 2016 syn. n. as a junior synonym because the description dated July 2016 was in reality published/accessible in March 2017.

Reference:
Kovarik F, Lowe G, Elmi HSA, Stahlavsky F. Scorpions of the Horn of Africa (Arachnida: Scorpiones). Part XXI. Parabuthus (Buthidae) (Part II), with description of five new species from Somaliland and Ethiopia. Euscorpius. 2019(290):1-63. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

17 October, 2019

Description of the female of Diplocentrus lachua from Guatemala


Rony E. Trujillo and co-workers have recently published a description of the adult female of the species  Diplocentrus lachua  (Diplocentridae) from Guatemala. Information of the known distribution of all described Guatemalan Diplocentrus species is also presented.

Abstract:
The female of the scorpion Diplocentrus lachua Armas, Trujillo & Agreda, 2011 is herein described, on the basis of a single specimen collected at Parque Nacional Laguna Lachuá, Alta Verapaz Department, Guatemala, type locality for this species. An emended diagnosis is provided and the known distribution of all described Guatemalan Diplocentrus species is graphically presented.

Reference:
Trujillo RE, de Armas LF, Gaitan CA. Description of the adult female of Diplocentrus lachua (Scorpiones: Scorpionidae: Diplocentrinae) from northeastern Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. Euscorpius. 2019(289):1-9. [Open Access]

Family Diplocentridae

14 October, 2019

A revision of the buthid genera Lychas, Mesobuthus, and Olivierus with several taxonomic changes


Frantisek Kovarik has published a revision of the genus-level taxonomy of Lychas C.L. Koch, 1845 (sensu lato) and Mesobuthus Vachon, 1950 (sensu lato) (Buthidae). This study presents the following taxonomical changes:

New genera:

Aegaeobuthus Kovarik, 2019 (4 species transferred from Mesobuthus Vachon, 1950).

Afrolychas Kovarik, 2019 (2 species transferred from Lychas C. L. Koch, 1845).

Janalychas Kovarik, 2019 (7 species transferred from Lychas C. L. Koch, 1845).

Spelaeolychas Kovarik, 2019 (1 species transferred from Lychas C. L. Koch, 1845).

See the Buthidae family page for information about which species that belongs to the different genera.

Olivierus Farzanpay, 1987 (Raised from synonymy with Mesobuthus. 18 species transferred from Mesobuthus. See the Buthidae family page for information about which species that belongs this genus).

Olivierus hainanensis (Birula, 1904) (Raised from synonymy and transferred from Mesobuthus).

New species:

Mesobuthus afghanus (Pocock, 1889) (Previous status M. eupeus afghanus Pocock, 1889).

Mesobuthus bogdoensis (Birula, 1896), (Previous status M. eupeus bogdoensis Birula, 1896).

Mesobuthus haarlovi Vachon, 1959, (Previous status M. eupeus haarlovi Vachon, 1959).

Mesobuthus iranus (Birula, 1917), (Previous status M. eupeus iranus Birula, 1917).

Mesobuthus mongolicus (Birula, 1912), (Previous status M. eupeus mongolicus Birula, 1912).

Mesobuthus persicus (Pocock, 1899), (Previous status M. eupeus persicus Pocock, 1899).

Mesobuthus thersites (C. L. Koch, 1839), (Previous status M. eupeus thersites C. L. Koch, 1839).

See article for more details.

Abstract:
The diagnostic characters are reassessed and defined for the genera Lychas C. L. Koch, 1845, Mesobuthus Vachon, 1950, and Olivierus Farzanpay, 1987 (the latter is restored from synonymy with Mesobuthus). Four new genera are described: Aegaeobuthus gen. n. (type species Buthus gibbosus Brullé, 1832), Afrolychas gen. n. (type species Isometrus burdoi Simon, 1882), Janalychas gen. n. (type species Lychas srilankensis Lourenço, 1997), and Spelaeolychas gen. n. (type species Isometrus hosei Pocock, 1891). Type species are designated for subgenera Lychas (Distotrichus) Tikader & Bastawade, 1983 (type species Isometrus nigristernis Pocock, 1899), Lychas (Alterotrichus) Tikader & Bastawade, 1983 (type species Scorpio mucronatus Fabricius, 1793), and Lychas (Endotrichus) Tikader & Bastawade, 1983 (type species Isometrus scaber Pocock, 1893). All these three subgenera are now in synonymy with Lychas C. L. Koch, 1845. Lychas kaimana Lourenço, 2011 is synonymized with Lychas shelfordi (Borelli, 1904). Taxonomic position of Lychas timorensis Lourenço, 2018, which is a member of Lychas variatus (Thorell, 1876) complex, is discussed. The species and subspecies of Mesobuthus Vachon, 1950 are discussed, with seven subspecies elevated to species level: Mesobuthus afghanus (Pocock, 1889), stat. n., M. bogdoensis (Birula, 1896), stat. n., M. haarlovi Vachon, 1959, stat. n., M. iranus (Birula, 1917), stat. n., M. mongolicus (Birula, 1912), stat. n., M. persicus (Pocock, 1899), stat. n., and M. thersites (C. L. Koch, 1839), stat. n. Taxonomic changes are supported by 182 figures including the first published photographs of the syntypes of Olivierus hainanensis (Birula, 1904), stat. n., comb. n. and O. przewalskii (Birula, 1897), comb. n.

Reference:
Kovarik F. Taxonomic reassessment of the genera Lychas, Mesobuthus, and Olivierus, with descriptions of four new genera (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2019(288):1-27. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

04 October, 2019

A large revision of parts of the genus Euscorpius with two new genera


The genus Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 (Euscorpiidae) has turned out two be very complex with many cryptic and hidden taxa that has only been revealed after genetical analysis. A large number of new species have been described in the last decade.

Less attention have been on the complex Alpiscorpius complex containing the old taxa Euscorpius germanus C. L. Koch, 1837 and E. mingrelicus Kessler, 1874. Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers have now published a major study investigating this species complex in Italy, Austria and Slovenia. The study has resulted in the following taxonomical changes:

Alpiscorpius Gantenbein et al., 1999 is raised from subgenus status. The following species are included in this genus (New comb. = Transfered from genus Euscorpius):

A. alpha (Caporiaco, 1950). New comb.

A. beroni (Fet, 2000). New comb.

A. beta (Di Caporiacco, 1950). New status. Previously part of E. alpha.

A. delta Kovarik, Stundlova, Fet & Stahlavsky, 2019. New species from Italy.

A. gamma (Caporiaco, 1950). New comb.

A. germanus (C.L. Koch, 1837). New comb.

A. kappa Kovarik, Stundlova, Fet & Stahlavsky, 2019. New species from Slovenia.

A. lambda Kovarik, Stundlova, Fet & Stahlavsky, 2019. New species from Slovenia and Italy (?).

A. mingrelicus (Kessler, 1874). New comb.

A. omega Kovarik, Stundlova, Fet & Stahlavsky, 2019. New species from Slovenia.

A. omikron Kovarik, Stundlova, Fet & Stahlavsky, 2019. New species from Slovenia.

A. phrygius (Bonacina, 1980). New comb.

A. sigma Kovarik, Stundlova, Fet & Stahlavsky, 2019. New species from Italy and Slovenia.

A. uludagensis (Lacroix, 1995). New comb.

A. ypsilon Kovarik, Stundlova, Fet & Stahlavsky, 2019. New species from Austria and Slovenia.

The authors inform that the populations of Euscorpius (Alpiscorpius) spp. in the major part of the Balkan Peninsula remain unrevised. This means that there may be further changes in the future.

Tetratrichobothrius Birula, 1917 is raised from subspecies status and the genus' only species is Tetratrichobothrius flavicaudis (DeGeer, 1778), which is transfered from Euscorpius.

The article has a identification key for the new genus Alpiscorpius.

Abstract:
Two subgenera of Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae) are elevated to the genus status: Alpiscorpius Gantenbein et al., 1999, stat. n. and Tetratrichobothrius Birula, 1917, stat. n. Seven new Alpine scorpion species are described and illustrated: Alpiscorpius delta sp. n. (Italy) from the “alpha group” (“germanus complex”); A. kappa sp. n. (Slovenia) and A. lambda sp. n. (Slovenia) from the “germanus group” (“germanus complex”); A. omega sp. n. (Slovenia), A. omikron sp. n. (Slovenia), A. sigma sp. n. (Italy, Slovenia), and A. ypsilon sp. n. (Austria, Slovenia) from the “gamma group” (“mingrelicus complex”). The taxonomic validity of these cryptic species is confirmed through cytogenetic and DNA analysis (Štundlová et al., 2019). Alpiscorpius beta (Di Caporiacco, 1950), comb. n., stat. n. (Italy, Switzerland) is restored from synonymy and elevated to species level within the “alpha group”. Euscorpius germanus marcuzzii Valle et al., 1971 (Italy), recently elevated to species level, is synonymized with Alpiscorpius germanus (C. L. Koch, 1837), comb. n. (which is found in Austria, Italy, and Switzerland but not in Slovenia). The genus Alpiscorpius currently includes 15 valid species (6 in “germanus complex” and 9 in “mingrelicus complex”). Many populations of Alpiscorpius spp. from the Balkan Peninsula, formerly listed under Euscorpius gamma or E. mingrelicus, remain unassigned.

Reference:
Kovarik F, Stundlova J, Fet V, Stahlavsky F. Seven new Alpine species of the genus Alpiscorpius Gantenbein et al., 1999, stat. n. (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae). Euscorpius. 2019(287):1-19. [Open Access]

Family Euscorpiidae


10 September, 2019

New pictures in The Scorpion Files gallery


Unfortunately, I do not have the time to take many scorpion pictures myself, but fortunately I regularly get sent pictures from scorpion enthusiasts to be used in The Scorpion Files Gallery. Recently, I have added more than 40 high quality pictures that have been donated to The Scorpion Files by Japanese scorpion enthusiast Kawai Kazusa. You can find the pictures by searching for his name in the gallery. A big thanks to Kawai for sharing his pictures with us!

Please note that the species identifications in The Scorpion Files Gallery may not be correct for all pictures. Picture identification is very difficult, and sometimes a 100% identification is not possible. The taxonomy of all taxa in the gallery may also not be updated. This is a work in progress, but given less priority than the species files.

Jan Ove Rein
Editor

The scorpion Files Gallery

09 September, 2019

New information on the super-rare scorpion Pectinibuthus birulai from Turkmenistan


Victor Fet and co-workers recently published an article on the very rare and enigmatic, psammophile scorpion Pectinibuthus birulai Fet, 1984 (Buthidae) from Turkmenistan. The original types of this species are probably lost and today the species is known from just one specimen. This specimen is designated as neotype.

The specimen is described and detailed pictures are provided. P. birulai is a psammohile scorpion and some aspects of the morphology of psammophile scorpions are discussed. The biogeography of this species is also discussed.

Abstract:
A neotype is designated for a very rare Central Asian scorpion, Pectinibuthus birulai Fet, 1984, the sole species of the genus Pectinibuthus Fet, 1984. It is the only currently known specimen, collected by Victor Fet in July 1985, and deposited in ZISP (St. Petersburg, Russia). The original types are considered lost. Detailed photographs of the neotype are provided, as well as comments on this unique psammophile buthid. We also discuss and compare pectinal tooth counts of psammophile scorpions relative to other scorpions.

Reference:
Fet V, Kovarik F, Lowe G. Neotype designation for Pectinibuthus birulai Fet, 1984 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Turkmenistan, with remarks on pectine teeth of psammophile scorpions. Euscorpius. 2019(286):1-14. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

06 September, 2019

An updated edition of Conspectus Genericus Scorpionorum


Oscar Francke has published a new edition of Conspectus Genericus Scorpionorum, which is a list of all genus and subgenus names introduced for all recent and fossil scorpions from 1758–2018. This work is based on previous edition made by Francke (1985) and Dupré (2007).

I refer to the abstract and the paper for further details! NB! Please note that The Scorpion Files' list of valid genera has not yet been compared to the Conspectus Genericus Scorpionorum and updated. This will take some time and will be done in the weeks to come.

Abstract:
Genus and subgenus names introduced for all Recent and fossil scorpions from 1758–2018, are listed. The treatment follows the Conspectus of Francke (1985) and Dupré (2007) with considerable additional information accumulated during intensive scorpiological research of 2006–2018. The list also includes all available generic and subgeneric synonyms, incorrect spellings and unavailable emendations. For Recent taxa the new totals are 19 families compared to only nine in the first Conspectus, 220 genera with an increase of almost 100 from the first version, and 23 subgenera; for fossil taxa there are 43 families and 80 genera, 12 of which are incertae sedis. The type species of all accepted genus-group names are given.

Reference:
Francke OF. Conspectus Genericus Scorpionorum 1758–1985 (Arachnida: Scorpiones) updated through 2018. Zootaxa. 2019;4657(1):1-56. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Oscar for sending me his article!


27 August, 2019

A revision of the Colombian Tityus with the description of a new species



Jairo A. Moreno-González and co-workers have recently published a revision of the Tityus fauna of Colombia (Buthidae). One new species is described and two species are synonymized.

Tityus guane Moreno-Gonzalez, Gonzalez O & Florez D, 2019
 
Tityus betschi Lourenço, 1992 is synonymized with Tityus parvulus Kraepelin, 1914, and Tityus wayuu Rojas-Runjaic & Armas, 2007 is synonymized with Tityus tayrona Lourenço, 1991.

The article has an identification key for the Colombian Tityus.

Abstract:
We present a taxonomic revision of the Colombian Tityus (Archaeotityus) species based on morphological and morphometric evidence. We examined more than 385 specimens and evaluated new and previously used qualitative and quantitative morphological characters. We redescribe the Colombian species and present morphological characters for both sexes and an emended diagnosis for the subgenus Tityus (Archaeotityus). We describe a new species Tityus guane sp. nov. from Santander department, Colombia, Tityus betschi Lourenço 1992 is synonymized with Tityus parvulus Kraepelin, 1914, and Tityus wayuu Rojas-Runjaic & Armas, 2007 is synonymized with Tityus tayrona Lourenço, 1991. We measured 186 specimens and performed a multivariate principal component analysis (PCA) for 34 selected morphometric ratios for each sex. We found that a few morphological ratios support species level distinctions within the Colombian species. We provide updated distributional maps with new records and an identification key for both sexes. Furthermore, we provide an updated checklist for the subgenus and a discussion about the character systems used within Tityus (Archaeotityus). The new morphological characters proposed and the traditional morphometry examined with a PCA are useful for studying Tityus (Archaeotityus) taxonomy.

Reference:
Moreno-Gonzalez JA, Gonzalez O R, Florez D E. Taxonomic revision of the Colombian Tityus (Archaeotityus) (Scorpiones, Buthidae) species: a morphological and morphometric approach, with a description of a new species. Zootaxa. 2019;4660(1):1-94. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Jairo A. Moreno-González for sending me their article!

Family Buthidae






16 August, 2019

Resurrection of the Malagasy family Microcharmidae and a description of three new Microcharmus species


The small soil living species in the genus Microcharmus Lourenço, 1995 and Neoprotobuthus Lourenço, 2000 have been placed in the family Buthidae since 2008, when Volschenk et al. rejected Lourenco's family status for these two genera. Wilson Lourenco and co-workers have now published an article re-validating the family status of the family Microcharmidae and transferring relevant taxa back from Buthidae.

Three new species of Microcharmus are also described from Madagascar.

Microcharmus andrei Lourenço, Waeber & Wilme, 2019

Microcharmus antongil Lourenço, Waeber & Wilme, 2019

Microcharmus djangoa  Lourenço, Waeber & Wilme, 2019

The biogeography of the genus Microcharmus is also discussed.

Abstract:
A more up to date biogeographic analysis of the patterns of distribution presented by the scorpions of the family Microcharmidae Lourenço 1 996 are presented. This family is revalidated here based on numerous morphological characters. This Malagasy group of scorpions is represented by two genera, Microcharmus Lourenço 1 995 and Neoprotobuthus Lourenço 2000 both endemic to the Island. The family Microcharmidae seems to be restricted to dry and wet forests formations in the northern and northwestern portions of the island. Here we describe three species new to science: Microcharmus andrei sp. n., Microcharmus antongil sp. n. and Microcharmus djangoa sp. n. The distribution of these new species seems to be restricted to the northern range of Madagascar, in habitats ranging from dry to wet forests, confirming therefore the patterns previously observed.

Reference:
Lourenco WR, Waeber PO, Wilme L. Additions to the geographical distribution of the Malagasy family Microcharmidae Lourenço 1 996 (Scorpiones: Buthoidea) and description of three new species of Microcharmus Lourenço, 1995. Madagascar Conservation & Development. 2019;14(1):IN PRESS. [Open Access]

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for informing me about this article!

Family Microcharmidae

13 August, 2019

A new species of Catalinia from California, USA



Riolando Teruel and Brandon Myers just published a new article with the description of a new species in the small genus Catalinia Soleglad, Ayrey, Graham & Fet, 2017 (Vaejovidae) from southern California, USA.

Catalinia ayreyi Teruel & Myers, 2019

Abstract:
Herein we describe a new species of the vaejovid scorpion genus Catalinia Soleglad, Ayrey, Graham & Fet, 2017. It was collected in a single locality of the northwestern foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains. It is most closely related to both Catalinia andreas (Gertsch & Soleglad, 1972) and C. minima (Kraepelin, 1911), but is clearly distinguished by tegumentary sculpture, morphometric ratios and pectinal tooth counts. The new species is described and illustrated in detail, with some ecological data included; moreover, a minor correction is introduced to the diagnosis of the genus.

Reference:
Teruel R, Myers B. A new species of Catalinia Soleglad et al., 2017 (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae) from southern California, USA. Euscorpius. 2019(285):1-15. [Open Access]

Family Vaejovidae

09 August, 2019

There and back again: Diplocentridae is back as a family in The Scorpion Files


For more than a decade, Diplocentridae and the taxa within have been considered a subfamily (Diplocentrinae) within Scorpionidae. This, and other decisions about the higher systmatics of scorpions by Fet & Soleglad have been critized by some researchers, while others supported their deccisions. The scorpion Files' family structure have mainly been following Fet & Soleglad, 2005.

In the last years, several publications have provided support for the family status of Diplocentridae. Based on these and the advice from scorpion taxonomists that regularly comments and advices me on The Scorpion Files, I have decided to implement Diplocentridae as a family in The Scorpion Files. Hopefully, future studies will clarify the status of other scorpion familes and their relations and that a consensus can be achived for higher scorpion taxonomy.

Selected References:

Santibanez-Lopez C, Gonzalez-Santillan E, Monod L, Sharma PP. Phylogenomics facilitates stable scorpion systematics: Reassessing the relationships of Vaejovidae and a new high-level classification of Scorpiones (Arachnida). Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2019;135:22-30.

Santibanez Lopez CE, Kriebel R, Sharma PP. Eadem figura manet: Measuring morphological convergence in diplocentrid scorpions (Arachnida : Scorpiones : Diplocentridae) under a multilocus phydlogenetic framework. Invertebrate Systematics. 2017;31:233-48.

Sharma PP, Fernández R, Esposito LA, González-Santillán E, Monod L. Phylogenomic resolution of scorpions reveals multilevel discordance with morphological phylogenetic signal. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 2015;282(1804):1-10.

Fet V, Soleglad ME. Contributions to scorpion systematics. I. On recent changes in high-level taxonomy. Euscorpius. 2005(31):1-13.

Thanks a lot to all of you that support the Scorpion Files with articles, comments and advices! The project is not possible without you.

Family Diplocentridae

06 August, 2019

A new species of Vaejovis from Arizona, USA


Richard Ayrey & Brandon Myers recently described a new species of Vaejovis C.L. Koch, 1836 (Vaejovidae) from the Galiuro Mountains, southern Arizona, USA.

Vaejovis stetsoni Ayrey & Myers, 2019

Abstract:
A new scorpion species, Vaejovis stetsoni sp. n. is described from Galiuro Mountains, Graham County, Arizona. This is the smallest species of the “vorhiesi” group discovered so far, most similar to V. brysoni Ayrey & Webber. The pedipalp fixed finger has five ID denticles and the movable finger has six, like in most other southern Arizona Vaejovis. The most unique characteristics of this species are its small size (18.35 mm) and a large subaculear tubercle.

Reference:
Ayrey RF, Myers B. A new “vorhiesi” group species of Vaejovis from the Galiuro Mountains, southern Arizona (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae). Euscorpius. 2019(284):1-14. [Open Access]

Family Vaejovidae

05 August, 2019

A new species of Heterometrus from Sri Lanka


Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers have recently published a new article describing a new species of Hetereometrus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Scorpionidae) from Sri Lanka.

Heterometrus yaleensis Kovarik, Ranawana, Jayarathne, Hoferek & Stahlavsky, 2019

Abstract:
Heterometrus yaleensis sp. n. from Sri Lanka, Southern Province, Yale National Park is described and compared with other species of the genus. The presence of a unique dorsointernal carina on the pedipalp chela distinguishes H. yaleensis sp. n. from all other Heterometrus species. Additional information is provided on the taxonomy and distribution of the genus Heterometrus in Sri Lanka, fully complemented with color photos of specimens of both sexes of the new species, as well as of their habitat. In addition to external morphology and hemispermatophore, we also describe the karyotype of H. yaleensis sp. n. (2n=99).

Reference:
Kovarik F, Ranawana KB, Jayarathne VAS, Hoferek D, Stahlavsky F. Scorpions of Sri Lanka (Arachnida: Scorpiones). Part III. Heterometrus yaleensis sp. n. (Scorpionidae). Euscorpius. 2019(283):1-13. [Open Access]

Family Scorpionidae


30 July, 2019

Scorpionism in Argentina



Four species in the medical important genus Tityus C. L. Koch, 1836 (Buthidae) can cause serious morbidity in humans in Argentina. Andres Ojanguren-Affilastro and co-workers have recently published an article on the distribution of medical important scorpions in Argentina. The article is in Spanish.

Abstract:
Four species of the scorpion genus Tityus can be potentially lethal for humans in Argentina. In the last decades we observed an expansion in the distribution of most of these species, and this expansion accelerated in the last twenty years. Tityus trivittatus and Tityus confluens occur now in most of the medium and large cities of central and northern Argentina. In this contribution we present an overview of this problem in Argentina, and we include several new records for these species. We provide the southernmost records for the genus in the cities of Mar del Plata and Bahia Blanca. Finally we focus in the problem of scorpionism in the area of Buenos Aires city, in which two new species are recorded for the first time, Tityus bahiensis and Tityus confluens, being the second one apparently definitively installed.

Reference:
Ojanguren Affilastro AA, Bizzotto C, Lanari LC, Remes-Lenicov M, de Roodt AR. Presencia de Tityus confluens Borelli en la ciudad de Buenos Aires y expansión de la distribución de las especies de importancia médica de Tityus (Scorpiones; Buthidae) en la Argentina. Revista del Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales 2019;21(1):101-12. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Andres Ojanguren-Affilastro for sending me their article!

24 July, 2019

Three new species of Oiclus from the Guadeloupe islands


Eric Ythier also published a second paper this summer. In this paper three new species of Oiclus Simon, 1880 (Scorpionidae) are described from the Guadeloupe islands.

Oiclus ardens Ythier, 2019 (Guadeloupe: BasseTerre)
Oiclus cousteaui Ythier, 2019 (Guadeloupe: Îlets Pigeon)
Oiclus tipunch Ythier, 2019 (Guadeloupe: Îles des Saintes)

It has to be mentioned that the new species name "tipunch" refers to the national drink "ti’ punch" that is popular in the Guadeloupe islands and other French overseas departments. First time a scorpion is named after a drink? ;)

The article also has an identification key for the genus.

Abstract:
Three new species of scorpion belonging to the genus Oiclus Simon, 1880 (family Diplocentridae Karsch, 1880) are described on the basis of material collected in two islands and one islet of the Guadeloupe archipelago in Lesser Antilles: Basse Terre, Terrede Haut (Îles des Saintes) and Grand Îlet (Îlets Pigeon). The new descriptions raise to six the number of Oiclus species (one of them being polytypic) and confirm again that this genus endemic to Lesser Antilles is more diverse than suspected. Material collected in Grande Terre (Guadeloupe) and Saint Barthélemy also adds new localities for the two species previously described from these islands.

Reference:
Ythier E. On the genus Oiclus Simon, 1880 (Scorpiones: Diplocentridae) in Guadeloupe islands, with description of three new species. Arachnida - Rivista Aracnologica Italiana. 2019;5(12):17-49.

Thanks to Eric for sending me his article!

Family Scorpionidae


23 July, 2019

A new species of Centruroides from western Michoacán State, México


Ana F. Quijano-Ravell and co-workers recently published a new species of Centruroides Marx, 1890 (Buthidae) from western Michoacán State, México.

Centruroides romeroi Quijano-Ravell, De Armas, Francke & Ponce-Saavedra, 2019

Abstract:
A new species of scorpion belonging to the genus Centruroides Marx, 1890 is described from the Coalcomán mountain range, western Michoacán State, Mexico. Its general aspect resembles Centruroides ruana Quijano-Ravell & Ponce Saavedra, 2016, and C. infamatus (C. L. Koch, 1844), but it is a smaller species having lower pectinal tooth counts; also, males of C. ruana have the pedipalp chelae slightly thicker, whereas C. infamatus has a subaculear tubercle nearer to the base of the aculeus. Another species with similar aspect is Centruroides ornatus Pocock, 1902; however, a preliminary molecular analysis of the mitochondrial gene mRNA 16S showed genetic divergence (measured as p-distance) near to 10% between these species, and lower differences between the new species with respect to C. infamatus (4.63%) and C. ruana (5.07%). The molecular evidence together with the morphological characters (integrative taxonomy) are sufficient for recognizing the Coalcomán population as a separate and valid species.

Reference:
Quijano-Ravell AF, De Armas LF, Francke OF, Ponce-Saavedra J. A new species of the genus Centruroides Marx (Scorpiones, Buthidae) from western Michoacán State, México using molecular and morphological evidence. ZooKeys. 2019(859):31-48. [Open Access]

Thanks to Oscar Francke for sending me their article!

Family Buthidae

A new species in the genus Megachactops from Colombia


Eric Ythier published an article earlier this summer describing a new species in the small genus Megachactops Ochoa, Rojas-Runjac, Pinto-Da-Rocha & Prendini, 2013 (Chactidae) from Colombia.

Megachactops kurripako Ythier, 2019

The article has an identification key for the three species in the genus.

Abstract:
A new species of scorpion belonging to the genus Megachactops Ochoa, Rojas-Runjaic, Pinto-da-Rocha & Prendini, 2013 (family Chactidae Pocock, 1893) is described on the basis of two specimens collected in a rainforest formation located in Puerto Colombia, Guainía, Colombia. This is the third known species of the genus Megachactops, and the first reported from Colombia.

Reference:
Ythier E. A new species of Megachactops Ochoa, Rojas-Runjaic, Pinto-da-Rocha & Prendini, 2013 (scorpiones: Chactidae) from Colombia. Revista Iberica de Arachnologia. 2019(34):69-75. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Eric for sending me his new article!

Family Chactidae

22 July, 2019

A new species of Hottentotta from Western Ghats, India


Zeeshan Mirza and co-workers recently described a new species of Hottentotta Birula, 1908 (Buthidae) from the Western Ghats, India.

Hottentotta vinchu Mirza, Ambekar & Kulkarni, 2019

The article also has a identification key for the Indian species in the genus Hottentotta.

Abstract:
A new species, Hottentotta vinchu sp. n., is described from the Western Ghats of India. The new species morphologically resembles to Hottentotta rugiscutis (Pocock, 1897) from which it differs in having metasomal segment II wider than long in both sexes. The new species, however, is sister to Hottentotta pachyurus (Pocock, 1897) based on cytochrome oxidase I gene from which it differs in an uncorrected sequence divergence of 7%.

Reference:
Mirza Z, Ambekar M, Kulkarni NU. A new species of scorpion of the genus Hottentotta Birula, 1908 from the Western Ghats, India (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Arachnida - Rivista Aracnologica Italiana. 2019;5(12):2-16.

Family Buthidae



21 June, 2019

Scorpion venom can kill dangerous, resistant bacterias in a safe way


I usually do not post much about biochemical and toxicology research on scorpion venom as I have very little expertise on these topics. As many of you probably have noticed, there is a lot of research on scorpion venom trying to identify components in the venom that can be used for medical and/or commercial purposes. Because of this, scorpion venom is now considered one of the most expensive materials on earth. This week a very interesting study was published.

Edson Norberto Carcamo-Noriegaa and co-workers have identified twopreviously unknown benzoquinones in the venom of the Mexican scorpion Diplocentrus melici Armas, Martin-Frias & Berea, 2004 (Scorpionidae). The study shows that these two compounds can kill dangerous staphylococcus and tuberculosis bacteria in a safe way. The researchers also were able to synthesize the two compounds, making this a very promising tool for a future medicine against dangerous and resistant bacterias.

If you can not access the article, you can check out this news report from Stanford University summing up the main findings.

Abstract:
Two 1,4-benzoquinone derivatives, found in the venom of the scorpion Diplocentrus melici following exposure to air, have been isolated, characterized, synthesized, and assessed for antimicrobial activities. Initially a white, viscous liquid, the extracted venom colors within minutes under ambient conditions. From this colored mixture, two compounds, one red, the other blue, were isolated and purified using chromatography. After a variety of NMR and mass spectrometry experiments, the red compound was determined to be 3,5- dimethoxy-2-(methylthio)cyclohexa-2,5-diene-1,4-dione, and the blue compound was determined to be 5-methoxy-2,3- bis(methylthio) cyclohexa-2,5-diene-1,4-dione. Because extremely small amounts of these compounds were isolated from the scorpion venom, we developed laboratory syntheses from commercially available precursors, allowing us to produce sufficient quantities for crystallization nd biological assays. The red benzoquinone is effective against Staphylococcus aureus [minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) = 4 μg/mL], while the blue benzoquinone is active against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MIC = 4 μg/mL) and even against a multidrug-resistant (MDR) strain with nearly equal effectiveness. The bactericidal effects of both benzoquinones show comparable activity to commercially available antibiotics used against these pathogens and were cytotoxic to neoplastic cell lines, suggesting
their potential as lead compounds for the development of novel antimicrobial and anticancer drugs. Importantly, the blue benzoquinone was also effective in vivo with mouse models of MDR tuberculosis infection. After treatment for 2 mo, four mice with late-stage active MDR tuberculosis had a significant decrease in pulmonary bacillary loads and tissue damage. Healthy mice served as negative controls and tolerated treatment well, without adverse side effects.


Reference:
Carcamo-Noriega EN, Sathyamoorthi S, Banerjee S, Gnanamani E, Mendoza-Trujillo M, Mata-Espinosa D, et al. 1,4-Benzoquinone antimicrobial agents against Staphylococcus aureus and Mycobacterium tuberculosis derived from scorpion venom. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2019:201812334. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Matt Simon for informing me about this interesting article!

20 June, 2019

A new species of Euscorpiops from China


Eric Ythier has recently published a new species of Euscorpiops Vachon, 1980 (Euscorpiidae) from China.

Euscorpiops zhangshuyuani Ythier, 2019

An identification key for the genus in the Yunnan Province is included.

Abstract:
A new species of scorpion belonging to the genus Euscorpiops Vachon, 1980 (family Scorpiopidae Kraepelin, 1905) is described on the basis of two adult females collected in a montane rainforest formation located in Tong Bi Guan Xiang, Yingjiang County, Yunnan Province, China, close to the border with Myanmar. This new scorpion taxon represents the 27th known species of the genus Euscorpiops, the tenth reported from China and the eighth reported from Yunnan Province.

Reference:
Ythier E. A new species of Euscorpiops Vachon, 1980, from China (Scorpiones, Scorpiopidae). Bulletin de la Société entomologique de France. 2019;124(2):189-96. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Eric Ythier for sending me his article!

Family Euscorpiidae

12 June, 2019

Two new species of Hottentotta from Iran and Pakistan


Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers have published an article where the revise the species of Hottentotta Birula, 1908 (Buthidae) described by the famous Russian arachnologist Alexei A. Byalynitskii-Birulya (or A. A. Birula).

Two new species are described:

Hottentotta juliae Kovarik, Yagmur & Fet, 2019 (Iran)

Hottentotta krivokhatskyi Kovarik, Yagmur & Fet, 2019 (Pakistan)

See abstract and article for further taxonomical conclusions.

Abstract:
The types of Hottentotta species described by A. A. Birula and deposited in the Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia are revised. The types of H. buchariensis (Birula, 1897), H. niloticus (Birula, 1928), H. penjabensis (Birula, 1897) stat. nov. and H. schach (Birula, 1905) are fully illustrated with color photographs of morphology. Their taxonomic position is discussed. Lectotypes are designated for H. niloticus and H. schach. We confirm synonymy of Buthus (Hottentotta) minax niloticus Birula, 1928 (Sudan) with Buthus minax L. Koch, 1875, syn. n. Two new species, Hottentotta juliae sp. n. from Iran (Fars Province) and H. krivokhatskyi sp. n. from Pakistan (Balochistan Province), are described, based on specimens which were in previous publications incorrectly identified as H. schach and H. penjabensis.

Reference:
Kovarik F, Yagmur EA, Fet V. Review of Hottentotta described by A. A. Birula, with descriptions of two new species and comments on Birula’s collection (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2019(282):1-30. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

31 May, 2019

Mating in scorpions: Better condition = More successful reproduction?


Sexual selection often favors larger body size and/or greater weight in males. Larger males have better condition and are able to perform more impressive courtships, and because of this, will be more attractive for females. This may also be the case in scorpions.

Oliverio and co-workers have published a paper studying mating and courtship behavior in Bothriurus bonariensis (C.L. Koch, 1842) (Bothriuridae) and relating this to the size and body condition of both males and females.

The results showed that better condition (larger size) provided a mating advantage to males (e. g. larger males performed the mating dance quicker than smaller males) and that sexual selection is acting on courtship in B. bonariensis.

Abstract:
In most animal species, body condition has a fundamental role in fitness. In males, sexual selection generally favors larger body size or greater weight. This may result in males with better condition performing more vigorous courtships, and biasing female preferences. The effects of body condition on mating performance have been extensively studied in different animal groups. Among arachnids, scorpions are an interesting group for evaluating the effects of these sexual traits on mating performance, since they exhibit an ancient mode of indirect sperm transfer. Scorpion males deposit a single spermatophore on the soil to transfer the sperm to the females, and therefore, the production of spermatophores involves a high cost for them. In this study, we use the scorpion Bothriurus bonariensis as a model to evaluate different patterns of sexual behavior as a function of the body condition of both males and females. We found that males with a better body condition performed the mating dance stage more quickly than males with a lower condition. In addition, males performed the sexual sting behavior for a longer time with females in a better condition. Our results suggest that a better condition provides a mating advantage to males and represents an indicator of courtship performance. Given that female quality is usually correlated with fecundity, males mating with females with a better body condition probably have higher reproductive success.

Reference:
Olivero PA, Vrech DE, Oviedo-Diego MA, Mattoni CI, Peretti AV. Courtship performance as function of body condition in an ‘ancient’ form of sperm transfer. Animal Biology. 2019;69:33-46. [Open Access]

Thanks to Camilio Mattoni for sending me their article!

The scorpion distribution in the Cuatro Ciénegas Basin, Mexico


Oscar Francke has written a chapter about the scorpion distribution in the Cuatro Ciénegas Basin in Mexico in the recently published book "Animal Diversity and Biogeography of the Cuatro Ciénegas Basin".

Abstract:
Twelve species of scorpions, belonging to three families and seven genera, have been recorded from the Cuatro Cienegas Basin (CCB). Two are considered endemic, but this might be due to poor sampling efforts in other areas of the state of Coahuila; the other ten species are widely distributed in the Chihuahuan Desert and are not threatened at the time. However, there is concern about the populations inside the Basin because the increasing aridification is causing a loss in primary productivity, which in turn has an impact on the arthropods that scorpions feed upon.

Reference:
Francke OF. Scorpions (Arachnida: Scorpiones) from the Cuatro Ciénegas Basin. In: Álvarez F, Ojeda M, editors. Animal Diversity and Biogeography of the Cuatro Ciénegas Basin Cuatro Ciénegas Basin: An Endangered Hyperdiverse Oasis. Cham: Springer; 2019. p. 53-9. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Oscar Francke for sending me a copy of his publication!

24 May, 2019

A new species of Barbaracurus from Somaliland



Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers have published a new species of Barbaracurus Kovarik, Lowe & Stahlavsky, 2018 (Buthidae) from Somaliland.

Barabaracurus feti Kovarik, Lowe &Stahlavsky & Hurre, 2019

 In addition, the species Babycurus borellii Rossi, 2019 is synonymized with B. yemenensis Kovarik, Lowe, Seiter, Pliskova & Stahlavsky, 2015.  

The article has an identification key for the genus.

Editors note:

B. borellii was not previously listed in The Scorpion Files because it was published in the journal "Arachnida - Rivista Aracnologica Italiana", which I'm not able to get articles from by myself. I'm aware of several recent publications with taxonomical changes from this journal, but I only add updates to The Scorpion Files after having read the articles. I cannot update The scorpion Files based on information in article titles.

Abstract:
Barbaracurus feti sp. n. from Somaliland is described and compared with other species of the genus. Additional information is provided on the taxonomy and distribution of the genus Barbaracurus, fully complemented with color photos of specimens of both sexes of the new species, as well as of their habitat. In addition to morphology and hemispermatophores, we also describe the karyotypes of B. feti sp. n. (2n=23). Included is a key for Barbaracurus. Babycurus borellii Rossi, 2019 is synonymized with Barbaracurus yemenensis Kovařík et al., 2018 syn. n. as a junior synonym because the description dated in February 2018 was in reality published/accessible in March 2019.

Reference:
Kovarik F, Lowe G, Stahlavsky F, Hurre AA. Scorpions of the Horn of Africa (Arachnida, Scorpiones). Part XX. Barbaracurus feti sp. n. from Somaliland (Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2019(280):1-11. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

A revision of the genus Grosphus and the creation of a new genus Teruelius


Madagascar has always been a hotspot for biodiversity and has many endemic taxa, also among scorpions. The genus with the largest number of endemic species is Grosphus Simon, 1880 (Buthidae). Many new species have been described in this genus in the last year, but no modern revision has been done.

Graeme Lowe and Frantisek Kovarik have now published a revision of the genus Grosphus on Madagascar. The most notable conclusion of this work is that they split the genus into two and establish the new genus Teruelius Lowe & Kovarik, 2019. Here is the content of the two genera after the split:

Grosphus Simon, 1880 (10)
G. ambre Lourenço, Wilmé & Waeber, 2018
G. darainensis Lourenço, Goodman & Ramilijaona, 2004
G. goudoti Lourenço & Goodman, 2006
G. hirtus Kraepelin, 1900
G. madagascariensis (Gervais, 1843)
G. mayottensis Lourenço & Goodman, 2009
G. polskyi Lourenço, Qi & Goodman, 2007
G. rakotoariveloi Lourenço, Wilme, Soarimalala & Waeber, 2017
G. tavaratra Lourenço, Soarimalala & Goodman, 2009
G. voahangyae Lourenço & Wilme 2015

Teruelius Lowe & Kovarík, 2019 (18)
T. ankarafantsika (Lourenço, 2003)
T. ankarana (Lourenço & Goodman, 2003)
T. annulatus (Fage, 1929)
T. bemaraha (Lourenço, Wilmé & Waeber, 2018)
T. bicolor (Lourenço, 2012)
T. bistriatus (Kraepelin, 1900)
T. eliseanneae (Lourenço & Wilme, 2016)
T. feti (Lourenço, 1996)
T. flavopiceus (Kraepelin, 1900)
T. ganzhorni (Lourenço, Wilme & Waeber, 2016)
T. grandidieri (Kraepelin, 1900)
T. intertidalis (Lourenço, 1999)
T. limbatus (Pocock, 1889)
T. magalieae (Lourenço, 2014)
T. mahafaliensis (Lourenço, Goodman & Ramilijaona, 2004)
T. olgae (Lourenço, 2004)
T. sabineae (Lourenço & Wilme, 2016)
T. waeberi (Lourenço & Wilme, 2016)

The following species have been synonymized:

Grosphus simoni Lourenço, Goodman & Ramilijaona, 2004 is synonymized with Grosphus madagascariensis (Gervais, 1843).

Grosphus halleuxi Lourenço, Wilmé, Soarimalala & Waeber, 2017 is synonymized with Grosphus madagascariensis (Gervais, 1843).

Grosphus mandena Lourenço, 2005 is synonymized with  Grosphus madagascariensis (Gervais, 1843).

Grosphus makay Lourenço & Wilmé, 2015 is synonymized with Teruelius feti (Lourenço, 1996).

Grosphus rossii Lourenço, 2013 is synonymized with Teruelius mahafaliensis (Lourenço, Goodman & Ramilijaona, 2004).

See article for further details and descriptions.

Abstract:
We review the taxonomy of the Madagascar endemic buthid genus Grosphus Simon, 1880. We split the genus and describe Teruelius gen. n. on the basis of nine morphological characters, six of them new for Grosphus: positions of trichobothria d2 on pedipalp femur and Eb3 on chela manus, number of pectine teeth, shape of female basal pectinal tooth, form of hemispermatophore capsule posterior lobe, spiracle shape, metasoma I ventromedian carination, telotarsal setation and UV fluorescence. We discuss functional and taxonomic aspects of these characters, and propose that Teruelius gen. n. is monophyletic, while Grosphus (sensu stricto) is paraphyletic. Some characters of Teruelius gen. n. suggest adaptations to xeric environments, some of Grosphus to humid environments. Neogrosphus Lourenço, 1995 shares characters with both Grosphus and Teruelius gen. n.Scenarios for origins of these genera by vicariance or dispersal are discussed. New synonymies proposed are: Grosphus simoni Lourenço, Goodman & Ramilijaona, 2004 = Grosphus madagascariensis (Gervais, 1843), syn. n.; Grosphus halleuxi Lourenço, Wilmé, Soarimalala & Waeber, 2017 = Grosphus madagascariensis (Gervais, 1843), syn. n.; Grosphus mandena Lourenço, 2005 = Grosphus madagascariensis (Gervais, 1843), syn. n.; Grosphus hirtus garciai Lourenço, 2001 = Grosphus hirtus Kraepelin, 1900, syn. n.; Grosphus makay Lourenço & Wilmé, 2015 = Teruelius feti (Lourenço, 1996) comb. n., syn.n.; Grosphus rossii Lourenço, 2013 = Teruelius mahafaliensis (Lourenço, Goodman & Ramilijaona, 2004) comb. n., syn. n.

Reference:
Lowe G, Kovarik F. Review of Grosphus Simon, 1880, with description of Teruelius gen. n., a new buthid genus from Madagascar (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2019(281):1-128. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

10 May, 2019

Five new species of Vaejovis from Mexico


Gerard Contreras-Felix and Oscar Francke have recently published a taxonomic revision of the “mexicanus” group of the genus Vaejovis C. L. Koch, 1836 (Vaejovidae) from Mexico. Five new species are described:

Vaejovis ceboruco Contreras-Felix & Francke, 2019
Vaejovis nanchititla Contreras-Felix & Francke, 2019
Vaejovis santibagnezi Contreras-Felix & Francke, 2019
Vaejovis talpa Contreras-Felix & Francke, 2019
Vaejovis tapalpa Contreras-Felix & Francke, 2019

The paper have updated diagnosis for all species in the species group. Keys for identification of males and females are provided.

Abstract:
Within the scorpion genus Vaejovis C.L. Koch, the “mexicanus” group is composed of species distributed in the mountains of México. This group presents taxonomic problems, because its characterization and the species included in the group have varied through the years. In the present work, we redefine this group based on several morphological characters, and we differentiate it from the other two species groups within the genus: “vorhiesi” and “nit dulus+nigrescens”. Additionally, five new species are described: Vaejovis ceboruco sp. nov., Vaejovis nanchititla sp. nov., Vaejovis santibagnezi sp. nov., Vaejovis talpa sp. nov. and Vaejovis tapalpa sp. nov; the males of three species are described for the first time (V. dugesi, V. nigrofemoratus and V. tesselatus); and the updated diagnosis for all species is included. Keys for the identification of males and females of the 30 species included in this group are given. Lastly, notes on the natural history and distribution of some species are provided, with maps of known distribution for all the species.

Reference:
Contreras-Felix G, Francke OF. Taxonomic revision of the “mexicanus” group of the genus Vaejovis C. L. Koch, 1836 (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae). Zootaxa. 2019;4596(1):1-100. [Subscritpion required for full text]

Thanks to Oscar Francke and Carlos Santibanez Lopez for sending me this article!

Family Vaejovidae

26 April, 2019

Tityus serrulatus - A natural born killer


A very tabloid headline for this post, but I felt I couldn't plagiarize the nice original article title "Selected to survive and kill". Scorpion stings in Brazil have increased in the last decade and the main culprit has been Tityus serrulatus Lutz and Mello, 1922 (Buthidae). This very invasive species has spread in Brazil in the last decades and has adapted very well to urban habitat. In addition, the species can reproduce by parthenogenesis, making this species a very expanding taxa.

Ricardo Jose Gonzaga Pimenta and co-workers have recently published a study on how well Tityus serrulatus handles food and water deprivation. The authors found that this medical important scorpion has an impressive capacity to survive starvation for long periods. Lack of water, on the other hand, caused a large decrease in survival rates. Reproduction occurred throughout the year for food-deprived scorpions and controls, but not in the water-deprived groups.

The results of this study have implications for how scorpion control should be conducted for this expanding, hard to kill, dangerous species in urban areas.

Abstract:
Annually, more than 1.2 million scorpion stings and more than 3,000 deaths occur worldwide. Tityus serrulatus Lutz and Mello, 1922 (Scorpiones, Buthidae) is the most medically relevant species in Brazil where it is spreading rapidly and causing over 90,000 cases of envenomation yearly. We monitored T. serrulatus longevity and ability to reproduce under conditions of food and/or water deprivation. We found that T. serrulatus is highly tolerant to food deprivation, with individuals enduring up to 400 days without food. On the other hand, access to water played a pivotal role in T. serrulatus survival. Food and water deprived scorpions showed weight reduction. Reproduction occurred throughout the year for fooddeprived scorpions and controls, but not in the water-deprived groups. Remarkably, fooddeprived animals were able to give birth after 209 days of starvation. Tityus serrulatus resistance to food and water deprivation is likely to be an additional factor underlying this species’ geographic expansion and the difficulties encountered in controlling it.

Reference:
Pimenta RJG, Brandao-Dias PFP, Leal HG, Carmo AOD, Oliveira-Mendes BBR, Chavez-Olortegui C, et al. Selected to survive and kill: Tityus serrulatus, the Brazilian yellow scorpion. PLoS One. 2019;14(4):e0214075. [Open Access]

Thanks to Matt Simon for informing me about this article!