15 May, 2020

A new species of Leiurus from Somaliland

Frantisek Kovarik and Graeme Lowe recently presented the discovery of a new species of Leiurus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Buthidae) from Somaliland.

Leiurus gubanensis Kovarik & Lowe, 2020

Until 2002, Leiurus only comprised of one, very venomous species Leiurus quinquestriatus (Ehrenberg, 1828). As with many other scorpion species with a wide distribution, this taxa also turned out to be a species complex with many hidden species. With the present species, the genus now consists of 13 species.

The genus Leiurus has always been infamous for having the most potent venom of all scorpion species. But it is unclear wether this also apply for all the new species. Until we know more, the best is to regard all the species in the genus as potential dangerous scorpions.

New data are presented on the distribution of the genus Leiurus Ehrenberg, 1828 in the Horn of Africa, Somaliland, acquired during expeditions in 2011–2019. Leiurus gubanensis sp. n. is described from the Guban area, an extremely warm and dry place. The description is fully complemented with color photographs of live and preserved specimens, as well as of their habitats. This increases the known diversity of the genus to 14 species.

Kovarik F, Lowe G. Scorpions of the Horn of Africa (Arachnida: Scorpiones). Part XXIV. Leiurus (Buthidae), with description of Leiurus gubanensis sp. n. Euscorpius. 2020(309):1-19. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

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