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