03 September, 2020

How will climate changes impact the diverse scorpion fauna of Mexico?

Scorpions are infamous among many peoples and many will not focus on the conservation of this "dangerous" animal group when the global climate changes. But it is important to remember that scorpion diversity is an indicator of the health of the fauna in an area or its ecosystem and knowledge about the impact of climate changes on the scorpion fauna is important for more than scorpions alone.

Carolina Ureta and co-workers have recently published a study evaluating the vulnerability of scorpions in Mexico to climate change and if Mexican protective measures are sufficient to protect this animal group under future climate models. The short answer is that the scorpion fauna of Mexico is vulnerable under both current and under future climatic conditions.

Scorpions have high levels of endemism and their distributions are typically narrow, making them particularly vulnerable to changes in their environment. Unfortunately, little is known about the status ofscorpion conservation worldwide. Here, we compiled information on scorpion diversity across the world and highlighted Mexican scorpion diversity. We created and overlapped scorpions’ hotspots with the Mexican system of protected areas. We also modeled the potential distribution area of 24 wide distributed scorpion species under current and future scenarios to evaluate their vulnerability to climate change considering full and null dispersal models, and calculated the percentage of their distribution that will be protected by the natural protected areas in the future. Our results indicate that while Mexico has the greatest diversity of scorpion species compared to any other country in the world, these animals are not sufficiently protected by the system of natural protected areas under neither current nor under future climatic conditions. In terms of climate change vulnerability, we assessed the impact to these species if their migration to future more climatically suitable areas is not feasible. However, if full migration is feasible for species with broad ecological habitats, nine species might have a more widespread distribution,including three species with medical importance (Centruroides spp.).

Ureta C, González EJ, Ramírez-Barrón M, Contreras-Félix GA, Santibáñez-López CE. Climate change will have an important impact on scorpion’s fauna in its most diverse country, Mexico. Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation. 2020;18(2):116-23. [Open Access]

Thanks to Matt Simon for informing me about this article!


No comments: