28 November, 2022

Examples of intraguild predation in scorpions

 


Scorpions prey on a diveresity of different preys including members of their own order. In addtion, several scorpion species live in the same habitat and therefore may compete for the same resources (e. g. prey). In settings like this, intraguild predation may occur (that is "the killing and sometimes eating of a potential competitor of a different species" [Wikipedia]).

In a recent article, Şahin Toprak and co-workers reports of three cases of intraguild predation, involving the species Mesobuthus mesopotamicus (Penther, 1912), Compsobuthus matthiesseni (Birula, 1905) and Hottentotta saulcyi (Simon, 1880) in Turkey (all family Buthidae).

Abstract:
Scorpions are predators of a wide range of invertebrates even including other scorpions. Larger species commonly prey on smaller species or juveniles. Here, we report three cases of intraguild predation of Mesobuthus mesopotamicus (Penther, 1912) and Compsobuthus matthiesseni (Birula, 1905) by Hottentotta saulcyi (Simon, 1880) (Scorpiones: Buthidae) in Şırnak Province, Turkey. These are the first cases reporting antagonistic interactions among scorpions in Turkey.

Reference:
Toprak Ş, Kurt R, Yagmur EA. First report of intraguild predation in scorpions (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Turkey. Euscorpius. 2022(363):1-4. [Open Access]

23 November, 2022

A new species in the little known genus Spinochactas from French Guiana

 


Wilson Lourenco and co-workers have recently described a second species in the endemic genus Spinochactas Lourenço, 2016 (Chactidae) from French Guiana.

Spinochactas camopi Lourenco, Chevalier & Ythier, 2022 

This is the smallest known chactid with a total lengt of 13-15 mm.

Abstract:
A new species of scorpion belonging to the genus Spinochactas Lourenço, 2016 (Chactidae) is described from the commune of Camopi, located close to the Eastern border of French Guiana with Brazil. The new species, Spinochactas camopi n. sp., is the second species belonging to the genus Spinochactas found in French Guiana, which remains endemic to this French overseas department. The description of the new species brings further evidence to the validity of the genus Spinochactas and to its biogeographic pattern of distribution which is now confirmed both for Inselberg formations and lowland rainforests of French Guiana. With the description of this new species, the number of known scorpion species occurring in French Guiana is increased to 40, of which 31 are endemic.

Reference:
Lourenço WR, Chevalier J, Ythier É. Second record of the genus Spinochactas Lourenço, 2016 in French Guiana and description of a new species (Scorpiones: Chactidae). Annales de la Société Entomologique de France (NS). 2022:1-7. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Eric for sending med the article!

Family Chactidae

21 November, 2022

A new species of Orthochirus from Saudi Arabia

 


Frantisek Kovarik and Pavel Just have recently described a new species of Orthochirus Karsch, 1891 (Buthidae) from Saudi Arabia.

Orthochirus katarinae Kovarik & Just, 2022

Abstract:
We describe a new species Orthochirus katerinae sp. n. from Saudi Arabia, previously cited as Orthochirus innesi Simon 1910, ssp. ?, the name many years used as an ‘umbrella’ for various Orthochirus from North Africa and Arabia. The new species is described based on males characterized mainly by: total length 26–30 mm; pectinal teeth number 16–20; movable finger of pedipalps with 7–8 rows of denticles, 8–9 ID and 7 OD; tarsomere I of legs I–III with 3–5 long setae; ratio length/width of metasoma V 1.13–1.16; pedipalp femur length/width ratio 3.30–3.32.

Reference:
Kovarik F, Just P. Orthochirus katerinae sp. n. (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Saudi Arabia. Euscorpius. 2022(362):1-9. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

14 November, 2022

On the distribution of two buthids in Panama

 


Ramy Jhasser Martínez and co-workers have recently published an article with new data on the distribution of Centruroides edwardsii (Gervais, 1843) and Tityus ocelote Francke & Stockwell, 1987 (both Buthidae) in Panama. 

Abstract:
Centruroides edwardsii (Gervais, 1843) (Buthidae C. L. Koch, 1837) is recorded for the first time in Panama upon three females collected in Chilibre (northern Panama). Additionally five females and one male of Tityus ocelote Francke & Stockwell, 1987 were collected in a small farm in Capira (Western Panama) being the first record of this species in the Pacific side of Panama. This contribution provides additional information on geographic distribution of these species.

Reference:
Martínez RJ, Villegas-Guzmán GA, Mendoza L, Moreno E, Emmen D, Quirós DI. First Record of Centruroides edwardsii (Gervais, 1843) and New Geographic Distribution of Tityus ocelote Francke & Stockwell, 1987 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) in Panama. Entomol News. 2022;130(3):260-4, 5. [Subscription required for full text]

08 November, 2022

Additional information about the recently described species Compsobuthus khaybari from Saudi Arabia

 


Compsobuthus khaybari Abu Afifeh, Aloufi & Al-Saraireh, 2021 (Buthidae) was described from one male specimen in 2021. Abdulhadi Aloufi and co-workers have discovered new specimens of this species and have recently published an article with addition information about this buthid.

Abstract:
Compsobuthus khaybari was described by Abu Afifeh et al. (2021) based on a single male collected form Ain El-Hamah, Khaybar, Saudi Arabia. Recently more specimens were collected from Mughera’a including males and one female. The female of this species is fully described and illustrated.

Reference:
Aloufi A, Afifeh BA, Al-Saraireh M, Amr ZS. Complementary information on Compsobuthus khaybari Abu Afifeh, Aloufi & Al-Saraireh, 2021, with the description of an adult female (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Serket. 2022;19(1):7-14. [Open Access]

Thanks to Thanks to Hisham K. El-Hennawy for informing me about this article!

Family Buthidae

07 November, 2022

A new species of Buthus from Kenya

 


The distribution of the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 (Buthidae) in Africa has been expanded for the last decade. Eric Ythier and Wilson Lourenco have recently described a new species, which is the first in the genus reported from Kenya.

Buthus turkana Ythier & Lourenco, 2022

Abstract:
A new species of scorpion, Buthus turkana sp. n. (Scorpiones: Buthidae), is described from the northwest of Kenya, in the Turkana County nearby Lake Turkana, in the Kenyan Rift Valley. This is the first record of a Buthus species in Kenya, enlarging the pattern of distribution of the genus.

Reference:
Ythier E, Lourenco WR. First record of the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 from Kenya (Scorpiones: Buthidae) and description of a new species. Serket. 2022;19(1):1-6. [Open Access]

Thanks to Hisham K. El-Hennawy and Eric Ythier for informing me about this article!

Family Buthidae

27 October, 2022

Fitness differences between parthenogenetic litters of the parthenogenetic scorpion Tityus stigmurus

 


We often think that parthenogenetic reproduction produces clones that are identical in most ways. But there are non-genetical factors that may cause variations even though the organism is living in the same, stable environment. One example of this is maternal age's impact on different parthenogenetic litters.

Welton Dionisio-da-Silva and co-workers have recently pulished a study on non-Mendelian variation on parthenogenetic litters in the medical important species Tityus stigmurus (Thorell, 1876) (Buthidae). Their results indicate that T. stigmurus females allocated nutrient resources to maximize litter size rather than developmental fitness in subsequent litters. See abstract and article for more details.

I can add that knowledge of reproduction and life history of this scorpion is important as it is a medical important species that thrive in urban areas with high risk of human contact. 

Abstract:
Clonal lineages in similar environments may be influenced by non-Mendelian inheritance, such as maternal age effects and developmental instabilities. These mechanisms may affect the developmental fitness of parthenogenetic litters. In this study, the scorpion Tityus stigmurus (Thorell, 1876) was used to analyze the effects of non-Mendelian variation on parthenogenetic litters. A total of 75 juveniles from five females were reared under the same controlled conditions, while their development was observed and evaluated through differences in offspring fitness traits (litter size, prosoma size, developmental time, and mortality) between the litters. First and second litters had a similar litter size, although second litters exhibited longer developmental time in the early instar stages (second and third) than first litters. These results indicate that T. stigmurus females allocated nutrient resources to maximize litter size rather than developmental fitness in subsequent litters. Differences in developmental time found in early instars but not in late instars may have occurred as a result of stochastic developmental variations in young individuals. Such variation in duration of development has the potential to influence survival of juveniles in natural environments because individuals that grow faster may avoid large predators and consume larger prey, compared to those that do not.

Reference:
Dionisio-da-Silva W, Albuquerque CMR, Lira AFA. Fitness differences between parthenogenetic litters of the synanthropic scorpion Tityus stigmurus (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Animal Biology. 2022;72:435-46. [Subscription required for full text]

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