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