16 December, 2008

Tityus paraensis is synonymized with the restored species Tityus obscurus

After discovering old materials in the collections of the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Lourenco & Leguin have concluded that Tityus obscurus (Gervais, 1843) is a senior synonym of both Tityus paraensis Kraepelin, 1896 and Tityus cambridgei Pocock, 1897 (previously synonymized with T. paraensis). This means that T. paraensis is synonymized with T. obscurus:

Tityus obscurus (Gervais, 1843) = Tityus paraensis Kraepelin, 1896

Lourenco WR, Leguin E-A. The true indentity of Scorpio (Atreus) obscurus Gervais, 1843 (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2008(75):1-9. [Free fulltext]

Family Buthidae

15 December, 2008

Tityus falconensis is a junior synonym of Tityus magnimanus

Lourenco 2008 has decided that Tityus falconensis Gonzalez_Sponga, 1974 is a junior synonym of Tityus magnimanus Pocock, 1987. This means that Tityus falconensis is not a valid species name anymore, and that the valid name for this taxa is now Tityus magnimanus.

Lourenco WR. Description of Tityus (Atreus) neblina sp. n. (Scorpiones, Buthidae), from the "Parque Nacional do Pico da Neblina", in Brazil/Venezuela, with comments on some related species. Boletin Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa. 2008(43):75-9.

Family Buthidae

Major study on the comparative anatomy of the mesosomal organs of scorpions concludes that the family Microcharmidae is synonymous with Buthidae

Volschenk, Mattoni & Prendini has now published a major review on the comparative anatomy of the mesosomal organs of scorpions (the mesosoma is the main body of scorpions where most internal organs are located). Todays scorpion systematics is mainly based on external morphology, and one of the aims of this study is to properly map the anatomy of several important internal organs and see if the anatomy/morphology of these organs can be used as characteristics in scorpion systematics.

One immediate result of this study is that there is support to say that the genera and species of the family Microcharmidae belong to the family Buthidae and that the data in this study don't warrant continued recognition of Microcharmidae.

Microcharmidae Lourenco, 1996 = Buthidae C. L. Koch, 1837

The following genera and species are transfered to Buthidae:

Microcharmus Lourenço, 1995
M. bemaraha Lourenço, Goodman & Fisher, 2006*
M. cloudsleythompsoni Lourenço, 1995
M. confluenciatus Lourenço, Goodman & Fisher, 2006*
M. duhemi Lourenço, Goodman & Fisher, 2006*
M. fisheri Lourenço, 1998
M. hauseri Lourenço, 1996
M. jussarae Lourenço, 1996*
M. maculatus Lourenço, 1996
M. madagascariensis Lourenço, 1999*
M. pauliani (Lourenço, 2004)*
M. sabineae Lourenço, 1996
M. variegatus Lourenço, Goodman & Fisher, 2006*
M. violaceous Lourenço, Goodman & Fisher, 2006*

Neoprotobuthus Lourenço, 2000*
N. intermedius Lourenço, 2000*

Here is the abstract from the article:

We present a review and reassessment of anatomical variation in the ovariuterus (and associated follicles), digestive gland, and lateral lymphoid organs of scorpions, and discuss the contribution of these character systems to the understanding of scorpion phylogeny. New data, obtained using light microscopy, are presented from an examination of 55 scorpion species, representing most scorpion families, and are collated with observations from the literature. Six distinct types of ovariuterine anatomy are identified: five in the family Buthidae and one in the remaining (nonbuthid) families. The buthid genera Lychas C.L. Koch, 1845 and Rhopalurus Thorell, 1876 are exceptional in possessing multiple types of ovariuterine anatomy among the congeneric species studied. The presence or absence of lateral lymphoid organs appears to be phylogenetically informative: the organ is absent in buthids, chaerilids and Pseudochactas Gromov, 1998. Embryo follicle morphology appears to be phylogenetically informative within the superfamily Scorpionoidea Latreille, 1802, where it supports the controversial sister-group relationship between Urodacus Peters, 1861 and Heteroscorpion Birula, 1903. The mesosomal anatomy of Microcharmus Lourenço, 1995 (Microcharmidae Lourenço, 1996) is consistent with that of Buthidae C.L. Koch, 1837, and we therefore propose the following new synonymy: Microcharmidae Lourenço, 1996 = Buthidae C.L. Koch, 1837.

Volschenk ES, Mattoni CI, Prendini L. Comparative anatomy of the mesosomal organs of scorpions (Chelicerata, Scorpiones), with implications for the phylogeny of the order. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 2008;154(4):651-75.[Subscription required for fulltext]

Family Buthidae

08 December, 2008

Cladistic analysis of superfamily Iuroidea, with emphasis on subfamily Hadrurinae (Scorpiones: Iurida) and Hoffmannihadurus is reinstated

The Caraboctonid genus Hoffmannihadrurus Fet & Soleglad, 2004 was synonized with Hadrurus by Francke & Prendini, 2008 in June in their review of the taxonomic history of the North American genus Hadrurus.

This decision has now been refuted by Fet & Soleglad, 2008 in their recently published cladistic analysis of superfamily Iuroidea, with emphasis on subfamily Hadrurinae. The genus Hoffmannihadrurus is reinstated and the two species belonging to the genus are transfered from Hadrurus:

Hoffmannihadrurus Fet & Soleglad, 2004 (Caraboctonidae)

Hoffmannihadrurus aztecus (Pocock, 1902)
Hoffmannihadrurus gertschi (Soleglad, 1976)

Fet V, Soleglad ME. Cladistic analysis of superfamily Iuroidea, with emphasis on subfamily Hadrurinae (Scorpiones: Iurida). Boletin Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa. 2008(43):255-81.

Family Caraboctonidae

Two new species from Venezuela and Brazil

Rojas-Runjaic, Borges & Armas have described the following new species from northeastern Venezuela:

Opisthacanthus brevicauda Rojas-Runjaic, Borges & Armas, 2008 (Hemiscorpiidae)

This scorpion has previously been misidentified as O. elatus (Gervais, 1844)

Lourenco has described a new Tityus species from the "Parque Nacional do Pico da Neblina" region in Brazil/Venezuela:

Tityus neblina Lourenco, 2008 (Buthidae).

Rojas-Runjaic FJM, Borges A, de Armas LF. Nueva especie de Opisthacanthus Peters, 1861 (Scorpiones, Hemiscorpiidae) de la Sierra de Perija, Venezuela, basada en criteros morfologicos y moleculares. Boletin Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa. 2008(43):49-59.

Lourenco WR. Description of Tityus (Atreus) neblina sp. n. (Scorpiones, Buthidae), from the "Parque Nacional do Pico da Neblina", in Brazil/Venezuela, with comments on some related species. Boletin Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa. 2008(43):75-9.

Family Buthidae
Family Hemiscorpiidae

18 November, 2008

New Zabius species from Brazil

The Argentinean genus Zabius has previously included the common Zabius fuscus and the rare Zabius birabeni. Luis Acosta and co-workers have now disovered a new species from the State of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil:

Zabius gaucho Acosta, Candido, Buckup & Brescovit, 2008 (Buthidae)

The article also discuss the systematics of the genus Zabius. Here is the abstract from the article (click on image to enlarge):

Acosta LE, Candido DM, Buckup EH, Brescovit AD. Description of Zabius gaucho (Scorpiones, Buthidae), a new species from southern Brazil, with an update about the generic diagnosis. Journal of Arachnology. 2008;36(3):491-501. [Subscription required for fulltext, but free fulltext after 12 months]

Family Buthidae

07 November, 2008

Two new species of Opisthacanthus from Madagascar

Madagascar is one of the most biologically diverse regions on Earth and new scorpion species are still being discovered. This time Lourenco & Goodman (2008) report about two new species in the genus Opisthacanthus from the Reserve Speciale d'Ankarana:

Opisthacanthus milloti Lourenco & Goodman, 2008
Opisthacanthus pauliani Lourenco & goodman, 2008

Interestingly, O. pauliani seems to be an obligate cave-dweller (troglobite). The article has a small discussion on troglobitism in scorpions and the scorpion fauna of the Reserve Speciale d'Ankarana. A indentification key to the Opisthacanthus of Madagascar is also included.

Lourenco WR, Goodman SM. Scorpions of the Reserve speciale d'Ankarana, Madagascar, with particular reference to cave-dwelling animals and the description of two new species (Arachnida, Scorpiones). Zoosystema. 2008;30(3):665-79. [Free fulltext]

Family Hemiscorpiidae

Morphology of spermatozoa and sperm packages in the European Belisarius xambeui

There are few modern studies on the rarest scorpion in Europe, Belisarius xambeui. This troglophylous scorpion is only reported from the southeastern Pyrenees in France and in Cataluña in Spain, and is placed in Chactidae by some authors and Troglotayosicidae by others. Vignoli, Klann & Michalik, 2008 has done a study of the morphology of the spermatozoa and sperm packages of Belisarius, and the results are linked to systematics and phylogeny. Here is the abstract from the article:

Studies on the sperm morphology in scorpions are rare, but the existing investigations already revealed a remarkable interfamiliar diversity. The present study reports for the first time on the spermatozoa and sperm packages of a representative of the family Troglotayosicidae, the troglophylous species Belisarius xambeui. The spermatozoa are characterized by (1) a thread-like nucleus, which is slightly bent anteriorly; (2) an asymmetrical cap-like acrosomal vacuole, which encloses the anterior tip of the nucleus; an acrosomal filament is absent; (3) an axoneme with a 9 + 0 microtubular pattern; (4) a midpiece consisting of elongated mitochondria coiling around the axoneme; the number can vary between 3 and 6 (mostly 4). At the end of spermiogenesis, the spermatozoa aggregate in order to form oval-shaped sperm packages in which all sperm cells show the same orientation. A single package consists of approximately 150 sperms. A secretion sheath is always absent. The present results might provide new characters for further systematic studies and their phylogenetic implications are briefly discussed.

Vignoli V, Klann AE, Michalik P. Spermatozoa and sperm packages of the European troglophylous scorpion Belisarius xambeui Simon, 1879 (Troglotayosicidae, Scorpiones). Tissue Cell. 2008;40:411-6. [Subscription required for fulltext]

Family Chactidae

24 October, 2008

Three new species from Colombia

Three new species have been described from Colombia by Botero-Trujillo, 2008 and Botero-Trujillo & Noriega, 2008:

Ananteris arcadioi Botero-Trujillo, 2008
Ananteris dorae Botero-Trujillo, 2008

Microtityus franckei Botero-Trujillo & Noriega, 2008

This is the first report of Microtityus in Colombia.

Botero-Trujillo, 2008 also includes a discussion about the taxonomy of the Colombian Ananteris.

Botero-Trujillo R. The scorpion genus Ananteris in Colombia: comments on the taxonomy and description of two new species (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Journal of Arachnology. 2008;36:287-99. [Subscription required for fulltext, but articles older than 12 months are freely available]

Botero-Trujillo R, Noriega JA. First reccord of the scorpion genus Microtityus from Colombia, with the description of a new species (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Journal of Arachnology. 2008;36:259-66. [Subscription required for fulltext, but articles older than 12 months are freely available]

Family Buthidae

20 October, 2008

Life history data on Chaerilus philippinus

Chaerilus is the only genus in the family Chaerilidae and has now 24 species, all distributed in southern and southeastern Asia. Very little is known about the biology and life history of this genus., but Lourenco & Ythier (2008) has recently published a paper with observations on the life history of Chaerilus philippinus. Here is the abstract from the paper:

Biological observations on Chaerilus philippinus were based on specimens from the region of Appari, North of Luzon in the Philippines. The total duration of embryonic development was estimated as being between 110 to 136 days, while the moults between successive juvenile instars and adulthood took place at ages that averaged 7, 39, 73, 190 and 327 days. These developmental periods are shorter and different from those previously observed among species of non-buthid scorpions. They prove to be rather similar to those observed in buthid scorpions, however. Morphometric growth values of the different instars are similar or smaller than those of other species of scorpions that have been studied. Aspects of maternal care and social behaviour are also commented.

Lourenço WR, Ythier E, Cloudsley-Thompson JL. Observations on the life history of Chaerilus philippinus Lourenço & Ythier, 2008 (Scorpiones, Chaerilidae) from the Philippines. Comptes Rendus Biologies. 2008;331(11):896-900. [Subscritpion required for fulltext]

Family Chaerilidae

27 September, 2008

New german scorpion book for the hobbyist

I got a nice book in the mail last week: "Skorpione im Terrarium" by Martin Watz. As the name suggest, this is a book for the hobbist and other non-professionals that wants to learn more about scorpions.

The book has a part about scorpions in nature, but the focus is on how to keep scorpions in captivity. All families are presented and selected species have individual presentations. Because my knowledge in the german language is not as good as it should be (I did have german in high school/college), I can not give a detailed review on the text. But as far as I can tell, it looks good.

Finally, I have to mentioned the great color pictures in the book, which are of high quality.

The book is available at Amazon.de.

Watz, Martin (2008). Skorpione im Terrarium. Ulmer: Eugen. 125 pp. ISBN 380015658X /978-3800156580.

05 September, 2008

Part IV of the major review of the scorpions of Iran has been published

Part IV of a major review of the scorpions of Iran has been published in issue 74 of the journal Euscorpius.

The paper list 11 species (eight new records) in three families from the Kohgilouyeh & Boyer Ahmad Province and their distribution. An identification key for the species in the province is given. Good color photos are presented for most species and also some habitat pictures.

Navidpour S, Kovarik F, Soleglad ME, Fet V. Scorpions of Iran (Arachnida, scorpiones). Part IV. Kohgilouyeh & Boyer Ahmad Province. Euscorpius. 2008(74):1-24. [Fulltext freely available]

Family Buthidae
Family Scorpionidae
Family Hemiscorpiidae

27 August, 2008

Scorpions as a health problem

Scorpions are infamous because of their venomous sting, but as with many other venomous animals, their reputation is exaggerated. Chippaux & Goyffon has recently presented an analysis of the epidemiology of scorpionism based on published facts, and they list species that are shown in the literature to be dangerous to man.

Here is the abstract of the paper:

The scorpionism is an actual public health problem in several parts of the world because, either incidence, or severity of envenomations is high and managed with difficulty by health services, or for these two reasons at the same time. The treatment of scorpion envenomation is complex and controversial, in particular regarding the utility of the antivenoms and symptomatic treatments that must be associated. The authors reviewed the literature of last 30 years to discuss the epidemiologic importance of the scorpionism and to point out the principal therapeutic or preventive measures. According to the most recent studies, seven areas were identified as at risk: north-Saharan Africa, Sahelian Africa, South Africa, Near and Middle-East, South India, Mexico and South Latin America, east of the Andes. These involve 2.3 billion at risk population. The annual number of scorpion stings exceeds 1.2 million leading to more than 3250 deaths (0.27%). Although adults are more often concerned, children experience more severe envenomations and among them, mortality is higher. Improvement of therapeutic management would reduce the lethality very significantly.

Even though this is a thorough review of the medical literature, I do not think that this is a final answer to the questions about which scorpions are really dangerous.

Chippaux JP, Goyffon M. Epidemiology of scorpionism: A global appraisal. Acta Trop. 2008;107(2):71-9.[Subscription required for fulltext]

23 August, 2008

A new species in the genus Vachoniochactas from Colombia

A new species in the little known chactid genera Vachoniochactas has been described from Colombia, bringing the number of species in the genus up to four.

Vachoniochactas humboldti Florez, Botero-Trujillo & Acosta, 2008 [Chactidae]

This small scorpion (20-25 mm) is probably a leaf litter dweller.

The status of the genus is also discussed.

Florez E, Botero-Trujillo R, Acosta LE. Descritpion of Vachoniochactas humboldti sp. nov. from Colombia, with complementary notes on the genus (Scorpiones, Chactidae). Zootaxa. 2008(1853):31-44.

Family Chactidae

15 August, 2008

How to keep Australian scorpions

Mark Newton, the editor of the great Aussi scorpion site, The spiral Burrow, has published a book about Aussi scorpions and their husbandery.

In addition to information about how to keep Aussi scorpions, the book also has a lot of general information about scorpions and their biology. The book has several color plates. ISBN number is 978-0-9804161-0-7.

I haven't received the book yet, but based on the information and previews on the book's promo page and my previous experiences with the author, I'm convinced that this will be a very interesting and informative book.

Australian scorpions are rarely available outside Australia due to the country's strict policy on animal exports, and this book is a great opportunity to get an insight into the scorpion fauna of Australia.

The book can be ordered from the book's promo page. PayPal payment is possible.

07 August, 2008

Are female scorpions better desert survivors than males?

It is well known that desert scorpions are among the best adapted arthropods inhabiting the warm and dry deserts of the world. Scorpions exhibit some of the lowest water-loss rates recorded for arthropods, and also have strategies for either tolerating increased haemolymph osmolarity or regulating the volum and consentration of the body fluid.

In a recent paper, Gefen (2008) shows that female Smeringurus mesaensis (Vaejovidae) actually is better than males in handling the though conditions in a desert environment. The females had larger hepatopancreas compared to males, and showed a considerably better osmoregulatory capacity. Females had higher hepatopancreas water content and higher mobilization rates of water from the hepatopancreas to the haemolymph during deccication.

Here is the abstract from the article:

The osmoregulatory and respiratory responses of male and female Smeringurus mesaensis (Vaejovidae) to prolonged desiccation were measured. No significant effect of sex on mass-loss rates (MLRs) was found. Still, females maintained their haemolymph osmolality when desiccated to 10% mass loss, whereas that of males increased significantly after loss of as little as 5% of initial mass. Females had a 3-fold larger hepatopancreas, significantly higher hepatopancreas water content and higher metabolic rates when adjusted to hepatopancreas-free dry mass. Thus, females not only store more water in the hepatopancreas but also mobilise it to the haemolymph at a higher rate during desiccation, thus maintaining haemolymph osmolality.

Gas exchange rates of both males and females decrease as desiccation progresses. An initial respiratory exchange ratio (RER) of 0.9 is followed by a significant increase at mass loss levels of 7.5% and higher. RER values greater than 1.0 may result from partial shift to anaerobic catabolism, which allows closure of the book lung spiracles for longer duration, thus minimising respiratory water loss.

The effects of gas exchange rates on rates of water mobilisation between body compartments and water loss to the environment suggest a trade-off between maintaining osmotic stability and conserving body water stores under stressful conditions.

Gefen E. Sexual dimorphism in desiccation responses of the sand scorpion Smeringurus mesaensis (Vaejovidae). J Insect Physiol. 2008;54(5):798-805. [Subscription required for fulltext]

05 August, 2008

Taxonomical updates

Three new papers has recently been published with new species and taxonomical updates:

Teruel & Roncallo (2008):

Ananteris hasshy Teruel & Roncallo, 2008 (Buthidae) from Colombia (new species).

Teruel & Rodriguez (2008):

Didymocentrus armasi Rolando & Rodriguez, 2008 (Scorpionidae) from Cuba (new species).
Didymocentrus jaumei Armas, 1976 (Scorpionidae) from Cuba (restored species status).
Didymocentrus sanfelipensis Armas, 1976 (Scorpionidae) from Cuba (restored species status).

Lourenço, Qi & Goodman (2008):

Tityobuthus betschi Lourenço, Qi & Goodman, 2008 (Buthidae) from Madagascar (new species).
Tityobuthus chelbergorum Lourenço, Qi & Goodman, 2008 (Buthidae) from Madagascar (new species).
Tityobuthus mccarteri Lourenço, Qi & Goodman, 2008 (Buthidae) from Madagascar (new species).

This paper also has a historical review of the genus Tityobuthus and a redescription of Tityobuthus baroni (Pocock, 1890).

In other news:

Lourenco (2008) has described the male of Chaerilus agilis Pocock, 1899 from Malaysia.

Teruel (2008) has confirmed the occurence of Centruroides gracilis (Latreille, 1805) in Jamaica.

The gallery of the Scorpion Files has recently been updated with several new pictures of rarly seen species. A big thanks to all that have submitted pictures to the Scorpion Files!

Teruel R, Roncallo CA. A new species of Ananteris Thorell, 1891 (Scorpiones: buthidae) from the Caribbean region of Colombia. Euscorpius. 2008(72):1-7. [Free fulltext]

Teruel R, Rodriguez TM. La subfamilia Diplocentrinae (Scorpiones: Scorpionidae) en Cuba. Quinta parte: el genero Didymocentrus Kraepelin 1905. Boletin Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa. 2008(42):53-78. [No fulltext]

Lourenco WR, Qi JX, Goodman SM. The identity of Tityus baroni (Pocock, 1890) (Scorpiones, Buthidae) and description of three new species from Madagascar. Boletin Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa. 2008(42):89-102. [No fulltext]

Lourenco WR. Description de mâle de Chaerilus agilis Pocock, 1899 (Scorpiones, Chaerilidae). Boletin Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa. 2008(42):139-42. [No fulltext]

Teruel R. Confirmation of the occurence of Centruroides gracilis (Latreille 1805) (Scorpiones: Buthidae) in Jamaica. Boletin Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa. 2008(42):370. [No fulltext]

Family Buthidae
Family Scorpionidae
Family Chaerilidae

30 July, 2008

Taxonomical changes in Vaejovidae

Soleglad & Fet has recently published several changes in the family Vaejovidae:

Hoffmannius Soleglad & Fet, 2008 is a new genus that accomodates 17 species previously placed in Vaejovis.

Kochius Soleglad & Fet, 2008 is a new genus that accomodates 10 species previously placed in Vaejovis + the new species Kochius kovariki Soleglad & Fet, 2008.

Thorellius Soleglad & Fet, 2008 is a new genus that accomodates four species previously placed in Vaejovis. In addition, two species are raised from subspecies to species rank: Thorellius atrox (Hoffmann, 1931) (previously Vaejovis intrepidus atrox Hoffmann, 1931) and Thorellius cristimanus (Pocock, 1898) (previously Vaejovis intrepidus cristimanus Pocock, 1898).

Wernerius Soleglad & Fet, 2008 is a new genus that accomodates two species previously placed in Vaejovis.

Details about the changes and the contents in the new genera can be found in The Scorpion Files' Vaejovidae Updates and the Vaejovidae family page.

The authors also establish a new subfamily (Smeringurinae) with two new tribes (Smeringurini and Paravaejovini). Check out the paper for further details.

Soleglad ME, Fet V. Contributions to scorpion systematics. III. Subfamilies Smeringurinae and Syntropinae (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae). Euscorpius. 2008(71):1-115. [Free fulltext, but large file (30 MB)]

Family Vaejovidae

28 July, 2008

Foraging activity and behavior in Mesobuthus gibbosus

Kaltsas, Stathi & Mylonas have recently published a study on the foraging activity of Mesobuthus gibbosus on two greek islands (Crete & Koufonisi). Here is the abstract from the paper:

The foraging activity of Mesobuthus gibbosus was studied and analysed over 290 field samplings in Koufonisi island (central Aegean) and Crete (south Aegean) during the period of maximal activity of the species. The results showed that on both islands males and juveniles searched for prey mainly relatively near or far from their burrows (“sit-and-wait” strategy), whereas females foraged comparatively more than males and juveniles at the entrances of their burrows (“doorkeeping” strategy). Throughout the study, there was no evidence of two or more individuals foraging together. Re-emergence time after digestion lasts probably more than one month, because no individual was observed foraging twice in the 30 consecutive days of the study period. The individuals that followed the sit-and-wait strategy were larger in size compared to those of the same sex or age-class that used the doorkeeping strategy. The diet of the species was wide, including representatives of eight arthropod orders on Koufonisi and seven on Crete. Stinging was selective and prey selection was based on the age-class of the predator and the size of the prey compared to the size of the predator. The success of sit-and-wait foraging individuals was much more dependent on abiotic factors compared to scorpions using the doorkeeping strategy. Moon phase, air and soil temperature and air relative humidity were the abiotic factors which mainly influenced the foraging activity of these generally non-cannibalistic opportunistic ambush predators on both islands.

It is great to see some studies on scorpion behavior and ecology being published as there are too few of this kind these days when the main focus seems to be on taxonomy and scorpionism (scorpions of medical significance).

Kaltsas D, Stathi I, Mylonas M. The foraging activity of Mesobuthus gibbosus (Scorpiones : Buthidae) in central and south Aegean archipelago. Journal of Natural History. 2008;42(5-8):513-27 [Subscription required for fulltext]

14 July, 2008

A species biography for Rhopalurus laticauda is published in The Scorpion Files

Michiel Cozijn has written another species biography for The Scorpion Files:

Rhopalurus laticauda (Thorell, 1876) species biography

The biography has been reviewed by a couple of experts on the genus, and should be interesting both professionals and hobbyists (the biography has a section on captive care).

Michiel has previously written biographies for the following species:

Babycurus gigas (Kraepelin, 1876)
Babycurus jacksoni (Pocock, 1890)

A big thanks to Michiel for supporting The Scorpion Files in this way!

Two new articles on scorpion distribution in Turkey

Two new articles have been published on the distribution of Compsobuthus matthiesseni, C. schmiedeknechti, Androctonus crassicauda and Buthacus macrocentrus in Turkey.

Yagmur EA, Koc H, Yalcin M. Distribution of Compsobuthus matthiesseni (Birula, 1905) and Compsobuthus schmiedeknechti Vachon, 1949 (Scorpiones, Buthidae) in Turkey. Turk J Arach. 2008;1(1):59-66. [Abstract only]

Yagmur EA, Yalcin M, Calisir G. Distribution of Androctonus crassicauda (Oliver, 1807) and Buthacus macrocentrus (Ehrenberg, 1828) (Scorpiones: Buthidae) in Turkey. Serket. 2008;11(1):13-18.

Family Buthidae

13 July, 2008

Some changes in the genus Rhopalurus

Rolando Teruel and Alex Tietz has published some changes in the South American genus Rhopalurus:

Rhopalurus pintoi Mello-Leitão,1932 is considered a valid species and is regarded as a senior synonym of Rhopalurus piceus Lourenco & Pinto-da-Rocha, 1997.

Rhopalurus piceus Lourenco & Pinto-da-Rocha, 1997 is synonymized with Rhopalurus pintoi Mello-Leitão,1932

Rhopalurus crassicauda Caporiacco, 1947 is considered a valid species until further research has been done (but the authors suspect that this species is conspecific with Rhopalurus laticauda).

Teruel R, Tietz AK. The true identity of Rhopalurus pintoi Mello-Leitao, 1932, with notes on the status and distribution of Rhopalurus crassicaudis Caporiacco, 1947 (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2008(70):1-14. [Free fulltext]

Family Buthidae

30 June, 2008

A new species of Chaerilus from the Philippines

A new species of Chaerilus has been described from the northern parts of the island Luzon in the Philippines:

Chaerlius philippinus Lourenco & Ythier, 2008

The article also presents a redescription of Chaerilus celebensis based on new materials from the Celebes Islands (Sulawesi), Indonesia.

Lourenco WR, Ythier E. A new species of Chaerilus Simon, 1877 (Scorpiones, Chaerilidae) from the Philippines. Boletin Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa. 2008(42):27-31.

Family Chaerilidae

25 June, 2008

Part III of a major review of the scorpions of Iran has been published

Part III of a major review of the scorpions of Iran has been published in issue 69 of the journal Euscorpius.

The paper list 14 species (seven new records) from the Ilam province and their distribution. An identification key for the species in the province is given. Good color photos are presented for most species and also some habitat pictures.

Navidpour S, Fet V, Kovarik F, & Soleglad ME. Scorpions of Iran (Arachnida, Scorpiones). Part III. Ilam Province. Euscorpius. 2008(69):1-29. [Fulltext freely available]

Family Buthidae

19 June, 2008

An updated edition of Manny Rubio's excellent scorpion book available

Manny Rubio's "Scorpions - Complete Pet Owner's Manual" has been one of the best scorpion books for non-professional scorpion enthusiasts and pet owners. Now an updated edition is available:

Rubio M. (2008)
Scorpions: everything about purchase, care, feeding, behavior, and breeding. 2. ed. New York: Barron's. ISBN 0-7641-3981-9

The new edition is filled with great pictures and information. Even though the book is mainly intended for scorpion pet owners, other scorpion enthusiasts will also benefit from the general information and pictures. The book has a special chapter on scorpion venom and envenomations. The manuscript has been reviewed by scorpion experts Kari McWest and Luc Ross (and in part by Eric Ythier and myself), and should be as correct as possible.

This is probably the best popular book on scorpions available at the moment.

18 June, 2008

A phylogenetic review of the genus Hadurus and synonymization of Hoffmannihadrurus with Hadurus

Oscar Francke and Lorenzo Prendini have recently published a paper where they review the taxonomic history of the North American genus Hadrurus Thorell, 1876 and re-evaluate the phylogenetic relationships among the genus' species. In the same paper they also propose a synonymization of Hoffmannihadrurus Fet & Soleglad 2004 with Hadrurus. This means that the following names are valid for the two species previously included in Hoffmannihadrurus:

Hadrurus aztecus Pocock, 1902
Hadrurus gertschi Soleglad, 1976

Here is the abstract of the paper:

The ‘giant hairy scorpions’, genus Hadrurus Thorell, are the largest and most conspicuous scorpions in North America, but their systematics has long been confused. A new genus, Hoffmannihadrurus Fet et al. was recently created to accommodate the two species endemic to mainland Mexico, Hadrurus aztecus Pocock and Hadrurus gertschi Soleglad. In the present contribution, we review the taxonomic history of Hadrurus, re-evaluate the phylogenetic relationships among its component species with an analysis based on morphological characters and a taxon sample representing the known morphological variation, and assess the validity of the new genus. Seven independent analyses of the morphological character matrix, under weighting regimes that minimised length as well as those that maximised fit, each located a single most parsimonious tree with the following scheme of relationships: (Iurus ((Caraboctonus + Hadruroides) (H. aztecus ((H. gertschi + H. pinteri) (H. concolorous + H. hirsutus)) ((H. obscurus + H. spadix) (H. a. arizonensis (H. a. austrinus + H. a. pallidus)))))). This topology supports the monophyly of Caraboctoninae, Caraboctonini, Hadrurini, the ‘arizonensis’ subgroup, H. arizonensis and H. concolorous. It does not support the monophyly of Hoffmannihadrurus, Hadrurus, the ‘aztecus’ group, the ‘hirsutus’ group, and the ‘hirsutus’ subgroup, all of which were rendered paraphyletic by the grouping of H. gertschi with H. pinteri, rather than with H. aztecus. The results unequivocally demonstrate that the creation of a new genus for the mainland Mexican species was unfounded. We therefore propose the following new synonymy: Hoffmannihadrurus Fet et al., 2004 = Hadrurus Thorell, 1876, syn. nov.

Did you know that in Mexico the large Hadrurus are known as "Matacaballos", which actually means "Horse killers". Fortunately, studies have shown that the venom of these impressing scorpions has low toxicity against mammals.

Francke OF, Prendini L. Phylogeny and classification of the gigant hairy scorpions, Hadrurus Thorell (Iuridae Thorell): a reappraisal. Systematics and Biodiversity. 2008;6(2):205-23. [Subscription required for fulltext]

Family Caraboctonidae

29 May, 2008

New Rhopalurus species from Colombia

A new species in the genus Rhopalurus has been described from northeastern Colombia:

Rhopalurus caribensis Teruel & Roncallo, 2008

The new species is closely related to Rhopalurus laticauda, and has probably been confused with this species in the past. The paper also discuss the taxonomy and distribution of Rhopalurus laticauda.


Teruel R, Roncallo CA. Rare or poorly known scorpions from Colombia. III. On the taxonomy and distribution of Rhopalurus laticauda Thorell, 1876 (Scorpiones: Buthidae), with the description of a new species of the genus. Euscorpius. 2008(68):1-12. [Free fulltext]

Family Buthidae

16 May, 2008

A new troglobitic genus and species described from Australia

Erich Volschenk and Lorenzo Prendini has described an interesting new troglobitic genus and species from Ledge Cave, Barrow Island, off the north-western coast of Western Australia:

Aops Volschenk & Prendini, 2008 (Urodacidae)*
Aops oncodactylus Volschenk & Prendini, 2008 (Urodacidae)*

*The family Urodacidae was abolished by Soleglad, Fet & Kovarik in 2005 and the subfamily Urodacinae was transfered to Scorpionidae. Volschenk & Prendini have not accepted this deccision (more information about this), and retained the family Urodacidae (and placed the new genus and species in this family because of its close relationship to Urodacus). The taxonomy of The Scorpion Files follows Soleglad & Fet (2005), and I have here listed Aops in Scorpionidae. This is formally not correct, but is the best choice in the current situation until a new revision on higher scorpion systematics is published.

The paper also has a very interesting review of scorpion troglobites and discuss the different forms of troglobitic lifestyle and troglomorphisms (troglomorphic adaptions) in scorpions.

Here is the abstract from the paper:

We describe a new genus and species of troglomorphic scorpion from Ledge Cave, Barrow Island, off the north-western coast of Western Australia. This troglobite scorpion was initially difficult to place within the superfamily Scorpionoidea Latreille on account of its unusual morphology. Based on cladistic analysis, we demonstrate that this scorpion is phylogenetically most closely related to the endemic Australian genus Urodacus Peters (Urodacidae Pocock). The new taxon, named Aops oncodactylus, gen. et sp. nov., is the first troglobitic urodacid and the first troglobitic scorpion recorded from continental Australia. In light of this discovery, we re-assess the known diversity of troglobitic scorpions and the troglomorphic adaptations (troglomorphies) of cavernicolous scorpions. A distinction is recognised between the exclusive occurrence in cavernicolous habitats and the presence of troglomorphies, which are exhibited by some endogean (humicolous) scorpions. The definition of troglobitic scorpions is limited to species that are both restricted to cavernicolous habitats and exhibit pronounced troglomorphies. Only 20 scorpion species meet both criteria and are considered unequivocally troglobitic according to this definition.

Volschenk ES, Prendini L. Aops oncodactylus, gen. et sp. nov, the frist troglobitic urodacid (Urodacidae: Scorpiones), with a re-assessment of cavernicolus, troglobitic and troglomorphic scorpions. Invertebrate Systematics. 2008;22:235. [Subscription required for fulltext]

Family Scorpionidae

25 April, 2008

A new book about scorpions and humans

Gerard Dupre has recently published the book "Des Scorpions et des Hommes". The publisher has released the following information about the book:

Historians of science have not paid much interest in the history of zoology and even less than the scorpionology. This gap is now partially filled with this book. The scorpions have always fascinated people in the same way that snakes across the danger they can pose to everyone. To classify these animals within the meaning of the zoological term is the subject of the first part of this study. Then the biology of these animals will be explored in the course of history since the earliest human writing until today. Finally, the main part of the book will reveal all reports that different civilizations and religions have had with scorpions through the mythology and medicine.

This french book of 424 pages includes 58 figures and is based on about 1200 references found in a dozen different languages. From size 14 x 20, it is available from the APCI at a price of 20 euros.

23 April, 2008

Part II of a major review of the scorpions of Iran has been published with the descritpion of a new Compsobuthus species

Part II of a major review of the scorpions of Iran has been published in issue 67 of the journal Euscorpius.

The paper list 14 species from the Bushehr region and their distribution. An identification key for the species are given. Good color photos are given for most species and also habitats.

One new species is described:

Compsobuthus persicus Navidpour, Soleglad, Fet & Kovarik 2008

Reference:Navidpour S, Kovarik F, Soleglad ME, Fet V. Scorpions of Iran (Arachnida, Scorpiones). Part II. BushehrProvince. Euscorpius. 2008(67):1-33. [Fulltext freely available, but large file (9.3 mb)]

Family Buthidae

09 April, 2008

New Diplocentrus species from Mexico

A new species of Diplocentrus has been described from the community of San Miguel Tenango in Southern Oaxaca, Mexico:

Diplocentrus tenango Santibanez-Lopez & Francke, 2008 (Scorpionidae)

Please note that authors that follow the classification of Prendini & Wheeler (2005) place Diplocentrus in Diplocentridae, which was placed as a subfamily in Scorpionidae by Fet & Soleglad (2005).

Santibanez-Lopez CE, Francke OF. A new species of Diplocentrus (Arachnida: Scorpiones) from Oaxaca, Mexico. Zootaxa. 2008(1742):53-60

Family Scorpionidae

New Chactopsis species from Colombia

Richardo Botero-Trujillo has recently published a new species of Chactopsis from Selva de Mataven in Eastern Colombia:

Chactopsis carolinae Botero-Trujillo, 2008 (Euscorpiidae)*

This is the first reccord of Chactopsis in Colombia.

* The author follows Prendini & Wheeler's (2005) family classification, which place the genus Chactopsis in Chactidae.

Botero-Trujillo R. First reccord of the scorpion genus Chactopsis Kraepelin in Colombia, with the description of Chactopsis carolinae sp. nov. (Scorpiones: Chactidae). Zootaxa. 2008(1743):34-42

Family Euscorpiidae

13 March, 2008

Parthenogenesis in scorpions - new review article

Professor Wilson Lourenco has published an interesting review on parthenogenesis in scorpions. This is a rare phenomenon in arachnids, but so far parthenogenesis has been reported in 12 scorpion species:

Tityus columbianus (Thorell, 1876)
T. metuendus Pocock, 1897
T. serrulatus Lutz & Mello, 1922
Tityus sp. [New sp. not yet described - info in the article]
T. stigmurus (Thorell, 1876)
T. trivittatus Kraepelin, 1898
T. uruguayensis Borelli, 1901
Ananteris coineaui Lourenco, 1982
Centruroides gracilis (Latreille, 1804)
Hottentotta caboverdensis Lourenco & Ythier, 2006
H. hottentotta (Fabricius, 1787)
Liocheles australasiae (Fabricius, 1775)

Professor Lourenco discuss the general theory behind parthenogenesis in animals, compare these to the situation seen in scorpions, and finally presents some selected examples of geographic parthenogenesis in scorpions.

Lourenco WR. Parthenogenesis in scorpions: Some history - new data. Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins Including Tropical Diseases. 2008;14(1):19-44. [Fulltext freely available, but issue 1, 2008 has not been published on the website yet]

07 March, 2008

Two new species listed in Centruroides (Buthidae)

The following two species were raised from subspecies to species rank in 1999, but have not previously been known to me until now:

Centruroides baergi Hoffmann, 1932 (Buthidae)
Centruroides meisei Hoffmann, 1939 (Buthidae)

Thanks to Alex Tietz for notifying me about these two species!

de Armas LF, Martin Frias E. Complementos a la taxonomía de Centruroides nigrovariatus y C. elegans (Scorpiones: Buthidae) de México. Anales de la Escuela Nacional de Ciencias Biológicas. 1999;44:27-35.

Family Buthidae

28 February, 2008

Four species in Tityus (Buthidae) and Chactas (Chactidae) described from Venezuela

Another Gonzalez-Sponga paper from 2006 has surfaced. The following new species from Venezuela are described:

Tityus dulceae
Gonzalez-Sponga, 2006 (Buthidae)
Tityus mucusunamensis Gonzalez-Sponga, 2006 (Buthidae)
Tityus obispoi Gonzalez-Sponga, 2006 (Buthidae)

Chactas campoelisasensis Gonzalez-Sponga, 2006 (Chactidae)

Gonzales-Sponga MA. Biodiversidad. Tres especies nuevas del género Tityus Koch, 1836 (Buthidae) y una del género Chactas Gervais, 1844 (Chactidae). Escorpiones de la cordillera de Los Andes en Venezuela. Bol Acad C Fis Mat Nat. 2006;64(3-4):41-67.

Thanks to Dr. Fernando Rojas-Runjaic for informing me about this paper!

Family Buthidae
Family Chactidae

26 February, 2008

Two new species in Hottentotta and Vachoniolus from Iran and synonymization of Paraorthochirus with Orthochirus

Two new species have been described from Iran:

Hottentotta khoozestanus Navidpour, Kovarik, Soleglad & Fet, 2008
Vachoniolus iranus
Navidpour, Kovarik, Soleglad & Fet, 2008

After analyzing specimens of Orthochirus iranus, Navidpour et al (2008) conclude that the presence or absence trichobothrium d2 on the femur pedipalp is not a generic and perhaps not even a specific character. Since the presence or absence of d2 on the femur of the pedipalp is the only character separating Orthochirus Karsch, 1891 from Paraorthochirus Lourenco & Vachon, 1995, the authors conclude that these two genera are synonyms. This means that the following species from Paraorthochirus now belongs to Orthochirus:

O. blandini (Lourenço & Vachon, 1997)
O. glabrifrons (Kraepelin, 1903)
O. goyffoni (Lourenço & Vachon, 1995)
O. kaspareki (Lourenço & Huber, 2000)
O. kinzelbachi (Lourenço & Huber, 2000)
O. stockwelli (Lourenço & Vachon, 1995)

Navidpour S, Kovarik F, Soleglad ME, Fet V. Scorpion of Iran (Arachnida, Scorpiones). Part I. Khoozestan Province. Euscorpius. 2008(65):1-41. [Fulltext freely available, but large file (12 mb)]

Family Buthidae

Part I of a major review of the scorpions of Iran has been published

Part I of a major review of the scorpions of Iran has been published in issue 65 of the journal Euscorpius.

The paper list 19 species from the Khoozestan region and their distribution. An identification key for the species are given. Good color photos are given for many species and also habitats.

Two new species are described and one genus synonymization (see separate post about this above).

Navidpour S, Kovarik F, Soleglad ME, Fet V. Scorpion of Iran (Arachnida, Scorpiones). Part I. Khoozestan Province. Euscorpius. 2008(65):1-41. [Fulltext freely available, but large file (12 mb)]

25 February, 2008

Three new species in Brotechactas (Chactidae), Chactopsis (Euscorpiidae) and Tityus (Buthidae) from Venezuela

I have learned about another old paper from 2004 previously uknown to me. The following new species are described from Venezuela:

Brotechactas cocuyensis Gonzalez-Sponga, 2004 (Chactidae)
Chactopis marahuacaensis González-Sponga, 2004 (Euscorpiidae)
Tityus guaricoensis Gonzalez-Sponga, 2004 (Buthidae)

Gonzalez-Sponga MA. Arárchnidos de Venezuela. Descripcíon de tres nuevas especies de escorpiones de los géneros Tityus (Buthidae), Chactopsis y Broteochactas (Chactidae). Acta Biologica Venezuelica. 2004;24(1):1-12.

Family Buthidae
Family Chactidae
Family Euscorpiidae

22 February, 2008

26 (!) new species in Ananteris (Buthidae) described from Venezuela

This large number of new species in Ananteris (Buthidae) from Venezuela was described by González-Sponga in a monography published in 2006 by Universidad Pedagógica Experimental Libertador. I didn’t know about this publication until February 2008, so these species have not been listed in The Scorpion Files until now.

New species:
Ananteris asuncionensis
Ananteris barinensis
Ananteris capayaensis
Ananteris caracensis
Ananteris catuaroi
Ananteris caucaguitensis
Ananteris chirimakei
Ananteris claviformis
Ananteris cumbensis
Ananteris curariensis
Ananteris elguapoi
Ananteris guiripaensis
Ananteris inoae
[Published as A. inoi, but name changed by Rojas-Runjaic & De Sousa (2007)]
Ananteris maniapurensis
Ananteris meridana
[Published as A. meridanus, but name changed by Rojas-Runjaic & De Sousa (2007)]
Ananteris norae
Ananteris paoensis
Ananteris paracotoensis
Ananteris plataensis
Ananteris principalis
Ananteris riocaurensis
Ananteris riochicoi
Ananteris sanchezi
Ananteris sepulvedai
Ananteris singularis
Ananteris zuliana
[Published as A. zulianus, but name changed by Rojas-Runjaic & De Sousa (2007)]

A big thanks to Dr. Rojas-Runjaic for help and information about Ananteris in Venezuela and González-Spongas' publication!

Gonzales-Sponga MA. Aracnidos de Venezuela El genero Ananteris Thorell 1891, en Venezuela (Scorpionidae. Buthidae). Caracas, Venezuela: Universidad Pedagogica Experimental Libertador Vicerrectorado de Investigacion y Postgrado; 2006.

Rojas-Runjaic FJM, De Sousa L. Catálogo de los escorpiones de Venezuela (Arachnida: Scorpiones). Boletin Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa. 2007(40):281-307.

Family Buthidae

20 February, 2008

New Opisthacanthus species from Venezuela described in 2004, but not previously listed in The Scorpion Files

González-Sponga described Opisthacanthus autanensis from Venezuela in 2004, but I wasn't aware of this paper until yesterday. The species inhabits the surrounding areas of the town "La Grulla" in the municipality of "Autana", Amazon State, in a humid forest.

Gonzales-Sponga MA. Arácnidos de Venezuela. Opisthacanthus autanensis una nueva especie del género Opisthcanthus (Scorpiones: Ischnuridae). Bol Acad C Fis Mat y Nat. 2004;64(1-2):9-16

Family Hemiscorpiidae

17 February, 2008

Four new species in Chactas (Chactidae) from Venezuela

Gonzales-Sponga & Wall-Gonzalez has recently described the following new species in the genus Chactas (Chactidae) from Venezuela:

Chactas chabasquensis (name corrected 22.02.08)
Chactas maimirensis

Chactas platillonensis
Chactas tumaquensis (name corrected 22.02.08)

The new species live in the states Portoguesa, Yaracuy, Guarico and Lara in altitudes between 500 and 1200 meters.

Gonzales-Sponga MA, Wall-Gonzalez VM. Biodiversidad en Venezuela. Arácnidos. Descripción de cuatro nuevas especies del género Chactas, (escorpiones: chactidae) de la región centro occidental. Rev Invest. 2007(61):35-65.

Family Chactidae

15 February, 2008

Another Leiurus peptid may be important in fighting serious diseases

The venom of Leiurus quinquestriatus has been subjected to massive research in the last years. It has already been shown that a syntetic version the peptid Chlorotoxin (TM-601) binds to malignant brain tumor cells (gliomas) with high affinity and does not seem to bind to normal brain tissue. This ability has been promising in developing new treatment for this serious disease, and the first human trials have been conducted.

In a recent article in Journal of Biological Chemistry, an international research team describes a new peptid from Leiurus (GaTx1). This peptid controls the movement of ions and water out of cells by interacting with a crucial chlorid channel. This particular ability may be instrumental in developing treatment for the very serious disease cystic fibrosis, which affect more than 70 000 peoples worldwide.

A lot more research is of course neccessary before we know for sure that GaTx1 can be used in treating cystic fibrosis, but it is very interesting that what is belived to be the most venomous scorpion in the world also can save lives.

Read more about this story here:
Scorpion peptide may be key to secretory diseases

Original article:
Fuller, M.D., Thompson, C.H., Zhang, Z. R., Freeman, C.S., Schay, E., Szakacs, G., Bakos, E., Sarkadi, B., McMaster, D., French, R.J., Pohl, J., Kubanek, J. & McCarty, N. A. State-dependent inhibition of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator chloride channels by a novel peptide toxin. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2007. 282(52):37545-55 (Subscription required for fulltext).

12 February, 2008

A short note on Italian scorpions

Valerio Vignoli has written a short chapter (in english) on scorpions in a book about the Italian natural Park of the Vesuvio (Naples).

Full reference:

Vignoli V. Short notes 3. Scorpiones, Euscorpidae. In: Nardi G, Vomero V, editors. Ricerche preliminari sugli Artropodi del Parco Nazionale del Vesuvio. Verona: Cierre Edizioni; 2007. p. 385-6.

11 February, 2008

Two new species in Bothriurus (Bothriuridae)

Two new Bothriurus species have been described from Argentina and Chile:

B. huincul
B. sanctacrucis

Mattoni CI. The genus Bothriurus (Scorpiones, Bothriuridae) in Patagonia. Insect Systematics & Evolution. 2007;38(2):173-92.

Family Bothriuridae

08 February, 2008

The Scorpion Files' newsblog

The purpose of this blog is to present important news and updates in The Scorpion Files. The advantage of using a blog is the interested users can get a RSS feed from the blog and automatically be updated when the blog is being updated.