26 August, 2020

A new study on the Vaejovis in the Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona (US)


 Emma E. Jochim and co-workers recently published a phylogenetic analyses of the Vaejovis scorpions in the Santa Catalina Mountains (Vaejovidae). One of the main conclusions is that Vaejovis brysoni Ayrey & Webber, 2013 is synomized with Vaejovis deboerae Ayrey, 2009.

Scorpions belonging to the Vaejovis vorhiesi species complex are widely distributed throughout the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Most species are endemic to single mountain ranges but two species, Vaejovis deboerae Ayrey, 2009 and V. brysoni Ayrey & Webber, 2013, have been documented from the Santa Catalina Mountains in Arizona. We reevaluated the taxonomic diversity of these scorpions by integrating data from several different sources. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that scorpions in the Santa Catalina Mountains are monophyletic but comprise two divergent mitochondrial lineages that overlap at the type locality of V. deboerae. We failed to detect congruence between these lineages and the remaining datasets which suggests that there is a single species that we refer to as V. deboerae (=V. brysoni syn. nov.). Our inability to gather molecular data from the female holotype of V. deboerae could be the basis for future nomenclatural volatility if future studies find that the mitochondrial lineages are validated by other forms of data (e.g., male morphology). Results from this study underscore the importance of integrative methods for delimiting species in morphologically cryptic groups. Furthermore, we recommend generating DNA barcodes for holotypes as part of the description process to reduce future nomenclatural quagmires.

Jochim EE, Broussard L-LM, Hendrixson BE. Integrative species delimitation and taxonomic status of the scorpion genus Vaejovis Koch, 1836 (Vaejovidae) in the Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona. Euscorpius. 2020(316):1-11. [Open Access]

Family Vaejovidae

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