21 July, 2020

The history of Leiurus taxonomy and a new species from Mauritania

Wilson Lourenco has recently described a new species of Leiurus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Buthidae) from Mauritania.

Leiurus dekeyseri Lourenco, 2020

In the article professor Lourenco also sums up the taxonomical history of Leiurus, which until 2002 was believed to be monotypical with only Leiurus quinquestriatus (Ehrenberg, 1828). The knowledge of this genus is important as its species have some of the most potent venoms in the scorpion world.

The aim of this contribution is to bring some precise information on the reasons why the number of noxious scorpion species is constantly growing. This fact is directly associated with the zoological research on the domains generally defined as systematics and taxonomy. The classification of any zoological group is in most cases a source of problem for most biologists not directly involved with this almost confidential aspect of the zoological research. Much information has been gathered and published over two centuries on the classification but it is remains poorly accessible and too technical for non experts. The exposed example could be taken from several groups of scorpions possessing infamous species, but the choice went to the genus Leiurus Ehrenberg, 1828 distributed from North Africa to the Middle East. Maybe this contribution will help to explain why so numerous cases of species misidentification are regularly present in the general literature devoted to scorpion venoms and incidents.

Lourenco WR. Why does the number of dangerous species of scorpions increase? The particular case of the genus Leiurus Ehrenberg (Buthidae) in Africa. J Venom Anim Toxins Incl Trop Dis. 2020;26:e20200041. [Open Access]

Thanks to Eric Ythier for sending me this article!

Family Buthidae

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