23 December, 2011

Tityus championi restored to species status

Rolando Teruel has recently restored Tityus championi Pocock, 1898 (Buthidae) to species status. This species was previously regarded as a junior synonym of Tityus asthenes Pocock, 1893.

The present paper clarifies the taxonomic identity of Tityus championi Pocock 1898. This species is clearly distinct from Tityus asthenes Pocock 1893 (regarded as its senior synonym since 1988), and appears to be endemic to the southem watershed of the Talamanca Range, in the border region between Costa Rica and Panama.

Teruel R. La verdadera identidad Tityus championi Pocock, 1898 (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Boletin de la SEA. 2011(48):367-73.

Family Buthidae

Mite infestation in scorpions from Egypt

Ibrahim & Abdel-Rahman published previously this year a paper on parasitic infestations of the acarine parasite Pimeliaphilus joshuae in various scorpion species from Egypt.

The main goal of this study was to study the acarine parasite, Pimeliaphilus joshuae (Prostigmata: Pterygosomatidae) on various scorpion species from Egypt to determine its prevalence, abundance and intensity in relation to host species, size and sex. A total of 95 Leiurus quinquestriatus, 98 Androctonus australis, 40 A. amoreuxi, 30 Scorpio maurus palmatus and 46 Orthochirus scrobicuosus were examined during August 2009. Prevalence and mean abundance of P. joshuae varied significantly in relation to host species, host size and sex. In L. quinquestriatus, A. australis, and A. amoreuxi, the prevalence was 76.8, 13.3, and 50.0%, whereas the mean abundance was 47.6, 6.7 and 14.3%, respectively. Prevalence and mean abundance of P. joshuae were both positively correlated with host size in L. quinquestriatus and A. australis. We conclude that P. joshuae is found in a wide range of scorpion species exhibiting a low degree of host specificity. Controlled laboratory infection experiments are required to explain why S. m. palmatus and O. scrobicuosus are not susceptible to infestation by P. joshuae.

Ibrahim MM, Abdel-Rahman MA. Natural infestation of Pimeliaphilus joshuae on scorpion species from Egypt. Exp Appl Acarol. 2011;55(1):77-84. [Subscription required for fulltext]

20 December, 2011

Euscorpius flavicaudis fanzagoi is a synonym of Euscorpius flavicaudis

Eric Ythier has collected several specimens of Euscorpius flavicaudis (De Geer, 1778) from the region in France where E. flavicaudis fanzagoi Simon, 1879 was originally described. He concludes that the latter is a synonym of E. flavicaudis (De Geer, 1778).

The paper also presents an identification key for French Euscorpius.

46 specimens of the genus Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 were collected in ten localities surrounding the type locality of Euscorpius carpathicus fanzagoi Simon, 1879. All of them were identified as belonging to the species Euscorpius flavicaudis (De Geer, 1778). E. c. fanzagoi is therefore suggested to be a synonym of E. flavicaudis.

Ythier E. On the taxonomic validity of Euscorpius carpathicus fanzagoi Simon, 1879. Le bulletin d’Arthropoda. 2011(45):14-20.

Thanks to Eric for sending me this paper!

Family Euscorpiidae

16 December, 2011

A new Vaejovis from Arizona (USA) and a redescription of five other Vaejovis

Garrett Hughes have a published an interesting study of the montane Vaejovis (Vaejovidae) from Arizona (USA). A new species is described:

Vaejovis electrum Hughes, 2011

A morphological analysis of five other related species is presented with a revised diagnosis.

Several scorpions of the genus Vaejovis in Arizona are restricted in range to mountain-top forests. These scorpions, informally referred to as the ‘‘vorhiesi complex’’ are very similar morphologically, but their geographic distribution has attracted the attention of several researchers, resulting in the description of a few new species in recent years. However, these species were described from small sample sizes and were diagnosed with questionable characters that were not sufficiently analyzed. This study evaluates the morphology of scorpions of the ‘‘vorhiesi complex’’ from seven regions in Arizona to verify the validity of the species and their accompanying diagnoses. Morphological characters examined include morphometrics, hemispermatophores, size and shape of subaculear tubercles of the telson vesicle, pectinal tooth counts, pedipalp chela denticle counts, metasomal setal counts, development of metasomal carinae, and tarsal spinule counts. New diagnoses are given for previously described species (V. vorhiesi Stahnke 1940, V. lapidicola Stahnke 1940, V. paysonensis Soleglad 1973, V. cashi Graham 2007 and V. deboerae Ayrey 2009), which are considered valid, based on the morphological evidence gathered. A new species of Vaejovis, V. electrum, is described from the Pinaleno Mountains in Arizona.

Hughes GB. Morphological analysis of montane scorpions of the genus Vaejovis (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae) in Arizona with revised diagnoses and description of a new species. J Arachnol. 2011;39(3):420-38. [Subscription required for fulltext, but free fulltext after 12 months]

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for informing me about this paper!

Family Vaejovidae

New locality of Mesobuthus eupeus thersites in Kazakhstan

Alexander Fomichev has published a new location for Mesobuthus eupeus thersites (C. L. Koch, 1839) (Buthidae) in East Kazakhstan. This species' distribution in Kazakhstan is the second northernmost distribution for scorpions in Asia.

A new locality of Mesobuthus eupeus thersites (C. L. Koch, 1839) is reported, found during the fieldtrip to East Kazakhstan, one of the most northern areas where scorpions are found in Asia. Notes on the habitats, map and photographs of specimens are given.

Fomichev AA. A new locality of Mesobuthus eupeus thersites (C. L. Koch, 1839) (Scorpiones: Buthidae) in East Kazakhstan. Euscorpius. 2011(136):1-3. [Free fultext]

15 December, 2011

A new Orthochirus from southern Morocco

Lourenco and Leguin have described a new species of Orthochirus Karsch, 1891 (Buthidae) from southern Morocco.

Orthochirus maroccanus Lourenco & Leguin, 2011

Following the recent considerations proposed on the African species of the genus Orthochirus Karsch, 1891, one new species is described from the south of Morocco. The total number of African species is now raised to six.

Lourenco WR, Leguin E-A. One more new species of the genus Orthochirus Karsch, 1891 from Africa (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2011(135):1-6. [Free fulltext]

Family Buthidae

14 December, 2011

New Centruroides from Mexico

Javier Ponce-Saavedra and Oscar Francke have recently described a new species of Centruroides (Buthidae) from the state of Jalisco in Mexico.

Centruroides chamela Ponce-Saavedra & Francke, 2011

Unable to copy English abstract from pdf file - See fulltext for abstracts.

Ponce-Saavedra J, Francke OF. Especie nueva de la alacran del genero Centruroides (Scorpiones: Buthidae) de la costa del estado de Jalisco, Mexico. Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad. 2011;82:1163-75. [Free fulltext]

Thanks to Dr. Francke for sending me this paper!

12 December, 2011

The medical significance of Leiurus abdullahbayrami in Turkey

It is well known that Leiurus quinquestriatus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Buthidae) is the most venomous scorpion based on the LD50 value. In the last decade, three more Leiurus species have been described, but no data has been published on their medical significance (except that it has been safe to assume that they have the same potential as L. quinquestriatus).

Ozkan, Yagmur & Ark have now published a study of the venom of Leiurus abdullahbayrami Yagmur, Koc & Kunt, 2009 from southeastern Turkey and its lethal potency. LD50 studies on mice showed a LD50 value of 0.19 mg/kg, which is an extremely low value meaning a very potent venom. This means that Leiurus abdullahbayrami is a medical significant and potential lethal scorpion.

Currently, medically significant scorpion species belong to the Buthidae family and are represented by the genera Androctonus, Buthus, Mesobuthus, Hottentotta, Parabuthus, Tityus, Centruroides, Leiurus. Although Leiurus was originally considered a monotypic genus, four additional species have since been described. Leiurus abdullahbayrami (previously identified as L. quinquestriatus in Turkey) was classified as a new Leiurus species. This is the first report conducted on the lethality and biologic effects of L. abdullahbayrami scorpion venom in mice. In this study, the electrophoretic protein pattern of its venom was also determined. Two protein bands with molecular masses of 4 and 6 kDa were more strongly detected than other protein bands in the venom sample. Electrophoresis showed that L. abdullahbayrami scorpion venom possesses both short- and long-chain neurotoxins. The median lethal dose of this venom was found to be 0.19 mg/kg by subcutaneous (SC) injection in mice. Animals experimentally envenomed with L. abdullahbayrami venom exhibited hyperexcitability, agitation, aggressive behavior, squeaking and fighting, tachypnea, weakness, convulsions, and death due to cardiac and respiratory failure. In further studies, the potency of antivenom should be investigated in relation to the scorpion venom. Molecular and pharmacological studies are also required to identify and characterize L. abdullahbayrami scorpion venom.

Ozkan O, Yagmur EA, Ark M. A newly described scorpion species, Leiurus abdullahbayrami (Scorpion: Buthidae), and the lethal potency and in vivo effects of its venom. Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins Including Tropical Diseases. 2011;17(4):414-21.

Thanks to Dr. Ersen Yagmur for sending me this paper!

08 December, 2011

A new scorpion fossil from cretaceous amber found in Myanmar (Burma)

Wilson Lourenco and Alex Beigel have published a new family, genus and species of fossil scorpions based on a specimen found in cretaceous amber from Burma.

Chaerilobuthidae Lourenco & Beigel, 2011
Chaerilobuthus Lourenco & Beigel, 2011
Chaerilobuthus complexus Lourenco & Beigel, 2011

A fossil scorpion belonging to a new family, genus and species, Chaerilobuthus complexus gen. n., sp. n., is described from Cretaceous amber of Myanmar (Burma). This is the third species and the fourth scorpion specimen to have been found and described from Burmese amber. The new family seems quite distinct from the family Archaeobuthidae Lourenco, 2001 described from Cretaceous amber of Lebanon.

Lourenço WR, Beigel A. A new scorpion fossil from the Cretaceous amber of Myanmar (Burma). New phylogenetic implications. Comptes Rendus Palevol. 2011;10(8):635-9. [subscription required for fulltext]

Thanks to Professor Lourenco for sending me this paper!

07 December, 2011

Scorpion fauna of northern Saudi Arabia

Mahmoud Desouky and Ahmed Alshammari have published a survey of the scorpion fauna of the Ha'il Region of northern Saudi Arabia. A molecular phylogenetics for Androctonus crassicauda (Buthidae) and Scorpio maurus kruglovi (Scorpionidae) is also presented.

The present work is a systematic approach to the scorpion fauna of the Ha'il region (Saudi Arabia), based on morphology. In addition, a phylogenetic study of two common species, Androctonus crassicauda and Scorpio maurus kruglovi, was carried out, based on 16S gene sequences. The purpose is to provide an updated account of the scorpion fauna, and to present a brief description on the distribution of the scorpions of this
region, which has been largely neglected and remains poorly known. Eight species of scorpions were identified: seven species and one subspecies belonging to the family Buthidae, and one subspecies belonging to Scorpionidae. Geographic distribution and relative abundance of the species collected were recorded in the study area. We report the 16S gene sequence for two scorpion species, Androctonus crassicauda aud Scorpio maurus krug!ovi, which are the most abundant scorpions in the study area and represent the two reported scorpion families. The gene sequences of these two species were deposited into GenBank with accession numbers HM125965 and 1-IM 125964 for A. crassicauda and S. m. kruglovi respectively. 16S gene sequences from these two taxa were compared with those from other species prevalent in Saudi Arabia, retrieved from GenBank, and aligned sequences were used to constnjct a phylogenetic tree. The results presented provide the first molecular phylogenetic study of the scorpion fauna of Saudi Arabia. Moreover, searching the data base revealed that the 16S gene of S. m. kruglovi was sequenced for the first time. The goal was to evaluate the potential of 16S gene sequencing to provide better resolution of the systematic problems of the Saudi scorpion fauna, and to resolve the phylogenetic relationships among them.

Desouky MMA, Alshammari AM. Scorpions of the Ha'il Region, northern Saudi Arabia, and molecular phylogenetics of two common species, Androctonus crassicauda and Scorpio maurus kruglovi. Bull Br Arach Soc. 2011;15(6):193-200.

05 December, 2011

A revision of the South American genus Orobothriurus with six new species

Jose Ochoa, Andres Ojanguren Affilastro, Carlos Mattoni and Lorenzo Prendini have now published a systematic revision of the Andean genus Orobothriurus Maury, 1976 (Bothriuridae). The following new species are described:

Orobothriurus calchaqui Ochoa, Ojanguren Affilastro, Mattoni & Prendini, 2011 (Argentina)
Orobothriurus campagnuccii Ochoa, Ojanguren Affilastro, Mattoni & Prendini, 2011 (Argentina)
Orobothriurus huascaran Ochoa, Ojanguren Affilastro, Mattoni & Prendini, 2011 (Peru)
Orobothriurus quewerukana Ochoa, Ojanguren Affilastro, Mattoni & Prendini, 2011 (Peru & Chile)
Orobothriurus ramirezi Ochoa, Ojanguren Affilastro, Mattoni & Prendini, 2011 (Chile)
Orobothriurus tamarugal Ochoa, Ojanguren Affilastro, Mattoni & Prendini, 2011 (Chile)

Most Orobothriurus occur at high altitudes in the Andes Mountains. The paper discuss the occurence of scorpions in high altitudes and a list of scorpions found above 3000 meters in the Andes is presented. The altitude record for scorpions is held by O. huascaran. This species has been found in the Ishinca ravine (Peru) at 4910 meters. Please note that the previous altitude record mentioned in the literature (5500 meters) is not correct (see paper for details).

The systematics of the Andean scorpion genus, Orobothriurus Maury, 1976 (Bothriuridae Simon, 1880), is revised. New locality records, obtained during recent field expeditions, distribution maps, and a key to identification of the 15 known species, are provided. Six new species are described: Orobothriurus calchaqui, n. sp., from northwestern Argentina; Orobothriurus compagnuccii, n. sp., from the central Andes of Argentina; Orobothriurus huascaran, n. sp., from central Peru; Orobothriurus quewerukana, n. sp., from southern Peru and northern Chile; Orobothriurus ramirezi, n. sp., from central Chile; and Orobothriurus tamarugal, n. sp., from northern Chile. The known distribution of Orobothriurus and the altitude record for scorpions are discussed. The world’s altitude record for a scorpion, previously reported as 5550 m, is demonstrated to be 4910 m.

Ochoa JA, Ojanguren Affilastro AA, Mattoni CI, Prendini L. Systematic revision of the Andean scorpion genus Orobothriurus Maury, 1976 (Bothriuridae), with discussion of the altitude record for scorpions. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 2011(359):1-90. [Free fultext]

Thanks to Jacek Szubert for informing me about this paper!

Family Bothriuridae

01 December, 2011

New information on the enigmatic cave scorpion Akrav from Israel

In 2006 cave explorers found the remains of a very unusual troglobitic scorpion in the Ayyalon Cave in Israel. Later, this scorpion was described as Akrav israchanani Levy, 2007 in a brand new family Akravidae.

Victor Fet, Michael Soleglad and Sergei Zonstein have now been able to examine available Akrav materials (it has been found 20 more or less complete specimens), and have published a detailed redescription and analysis of the species, genus and family.

Interestingly, no live specimens have been found. It also looks like all scorpions died at the same time, indicating a catastrophic extinction event in the cave environment. One theory is that there was a lethal H2S gas event. The scorpions found are not considered fossils, but at the present time it is not known if Akrav is an extinct taxa or not.

The paper has many detailed color pictures of the specimens found. The authors conclude that Akrav probably belongs to the family Superstitioniidae and that the Akravidae family status is not justified. No formal decisions on this matter are done in this paper, as this will be addressed in a forthcoming paper.

And what did Akrav eat in the closed, isolated caves with no large, terrestrial prey items? The authors suggest that the scorpion actually prey on the aquatic crustaceans that are also present in pools of water in the cave. The strange, beak-shaped fingers of the pedipalps seen in this scorpion may be a specialization for catching this kind of prey.

Akrav israchanani, a relict chactoid scorpion from the famous Ayyalon Cave in Israel, is analyzed for the first time since its original description by Gershom Levy (2007). All scorpions found in this cave (20 specimens) were dead, represented by exoskeletons; they are mostly fragmented during collection, many incomplete, but extremely well preserved, and have no evidence of fossilization. Time and cause of death are unknown. Diagnostic characters described by Levy are largely confirmed, and some are further clarified. An exhaustive set of microscopic images is published, encompassing data from all best preserved specimens. Previously unpublished morphological details are illustrated such as exact pattern of trichobothria, finger dentition, structure of pectinal organs, etc. Measurements of type series are provided. Presence of mites (Acari) in the Ayyalon Cave is not confirmed: the only specimen tentatively identified as a mite proved to be a late-stage scorpion embryo found inside one of the females; it is described and illustrated. Phylogenetic placement of Akrav within Recent scorpions is discussed, and its affinity to New World Chactoidea (Superstitioniidae: Typhlochactinae) is demonstrated. Biogeographic and ecological observations are provided. Unusual structure of pedipalp fingertips is suggested to be a device for foraging on aquatic crustaceans abundant in the cave’s pool.

Fet V, Soleglad ME, Zonstein SL. The genus Akrav Levy, 2007 (Scorpiones: Akravidae) revisited. Euscorpius. 2011(134):1-49. [Free fulltext]

Family Akravidae

21 November, 2011

A checlist of the scorpions of Panama

Rolando Teruel and Michiel Cozijn have recently published a checklist of the scorpions of Panama. Two new records are reported.

In the present note, we compile a checklist of all scorpion species recorded from Panama. A total of three families, five genera and 14 species are confirmed to occur in the country, and previous records of two other families, four genera, and nine species are discarded as misidentifications, mislabelings, or accidental introductions. Two Buthidae species are herein recorded for the first time from Panama: Tityus tayrona Lourenço, 1991 (so far known only from northern Colombia) and one apparently undescribed species of Ananteris Thorell, 1891.

Teruel R, Cozijn MAC. A checklist of the scorpions (Arachnida: Scorpiones) of Panama, with two new records. Euscorpius. 2011(133):1-6. [Free fulltext]

18 November, 2011

A revision of Centruroides margaritatus and some of its closely related species

Acosta, Teruel and Kovarik have recently published a revision of the South American scorpion Centruroides margaritatus (Gervais, 1841) (Buthidae) and some of its closely related species. Here are some important conclusions:

Centruroides edwardsii (Gervais, 1843) is restored as valid species and its distribution is Mexico through Colombia, but without any reliable records from Guatemala, Belize and Panama. Introduced populations are reported from Cuba and Senegal (Africa).

Centruroides morenoi (Mello-Leitao, 1945) is synonymized with C. margaritatus (Gervais, 1841).

Confirmed distribution of Centruroides margaritatus (Gervais, 1841) is northwestern South America (Peru, Ecuador & Colombia). The species is also introduced to Cuba and Jamaica.

Centruroides edwardsii (Gervais, 1843) comb. nov. is restored as a valid species, and a male neotype from Riohacha, La Guajira Department, Colombia is herein designated; this species ranges from Mexico through Colombia, but there are no reliable records from Guatemala, Belize, and Panama; introduced populations also occur in Cuba (West Indies) and Senegal (Africa). We regard the following species as its junior synonyms: Scorpio (Atreus) degeerii Gervais, 1844, Centrurus gambiensis Karsch, 1879, Centruroides margaritatus septentrionalis Hoffmann, 1932, and Rhopalurus danieli Prado et Rios-Patiño, 1940. We also consider Centruroides margaritatus morenoi Mello-Leitão, 1945 as a junior synonym of Centruroides margaritatus (Gervais, 1841). After these taxonomic changes, the confirmed distribution of C. margaritatus includes northwestern South America (Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia), and the West Indies (introduced in Cuba and Jamaica).

de Armas LF, Teruel R, Kovarik F. On Centruroides margaritatus (Gervais, 1841) and closely related species (Scorpiones: buthidae). Euscorpius. 2011(132):1-16. [Free fulltext]

Family Buthidae

15 November, 2011

Scorpion diversity in the Sidi Ifni province in Morocco

Oulaid Touloun and Ali Boumezzough have studied the scorpion fauna of the province of Sidi Ifni in Morocco. Five species are reported, all endemic to Morocco.

The pre‐Saharan and Saharan regions of Morocco are rarely affected by inventory studies of scorpiofauna. Our investigations in the Sidi Ifni province has allowed to us to inventory five species of scorpions, all of them endemic from Morocco. The family Buthidae is represented by four species Androctonus mauritanicus (Pocock, 1902), Butheoloides (Butheoloides) littoralis Lourenço, Touloun & Boumezzough, 2011, Buthus elmoutaouakili Lourenço & Qi, 2006, Hottentota gentili (Pallary, 1924), that of Scorpionidae is represented by a single species Scorpio mogadorensis (Birula, 1910). This work has also helped to complete the distribution areas of some of these species.

Touloun O, Boumezzough A. Contribution a l'inventaire et la repartition des scorpions de la province de Sidi Ifni (Maroc). Poiretia. 2011(3):8-15. [Free fulltext]

Thanks to Dr. Touloun for sending me this paper!

09 November, 2011

Scorpion diversity in the Souf region in Algeria

Salah Eddine Sadine and co-workers have studied the scorpion fauna in the Souf region in Algeria. Eight species from two families are reported. This is the first study of the scorpion fauna from this region.

No abstract available.

Sadine SE, Bissat S, Ould Elhadj MD. Premieres donnees sur la diversite scorpionique dans la region du Souf (Algerie). Arachnides. 2011(61):2-10.

Thanks to Salah Eddine Sadine and Gerard Dupre for sending me this paper!

A PhD thesis with a major analysis of Rhopalurus

Humberto Yoji Yamaguti has presented a PhD thesis with a major analysis and revision of the South American genus Rhopalurus Thorell, 1876 (Buthidae). The thesis is published in Portuguese, which I can not read, but based on the English abstract the author concludes that the genus should be split into four genera (Rhopalurus, Heteroctenus, new genus A and new genus B). Several species are synonymized. See abstract for details.

NB! Please note that the taxonomic decision made in this thesis are not formally valid as a thesis is not considered published according to the ICZN code (Fet, Kovarik, Teruel, personal communications). I expect Yamaguti will publish his interesting results in scientific journals in the near future, making them formally valid.

A relationship hypothesis is proposed for the genus Rhopalurus Thorell, 1876 (Scorpiones: Buthidae). The genus has 19 valid species and two valid subspecies, and is diagnosed mainly by the presence of an stridulatory apparatus and by the expansion of the metassomal segments. The monophyly of Rhopalurus was never tested within a phylogenetic analysis, neither was the useness of those characters to support the genus. The analysis was made with 14 spp of Rhopalurus and 17 spp from other six Buthidae genera. We have used five genes (18S, 28S, 12S, 16S, and COI) and 86 morphological characters in a total evidence analysis, through parsimony and direct optimization. The genus Rhopalurus is paraphyletic and divided in four genera, here described: Rhopalurus, Heteroctenus (revalidation), gên. nov. A, and gên, nov. B. Synonymies: R. amazonicus and R. crassicauda paruensis with R. crassicauda, R. virkkii with H. abudi, R. acromelas with gên. nov. B agamemnon, R. pintoi kourouensis with gên. nov. B pintoi. Some of the South American genera (Rhopalurus, Physoctonus, and gên. nov. B) relate the Brazilian northeast with the north of South America, and the found patterns suggest allopatric speciation within these genera. The Heteroctenus patterns suggest dispersion from North America to the Greater Antilles, with later speciation events in each island. We also discuss a putative populational structure of gên. nov. B rochae. The presence of the stridulatory apparatus doesn't gather the former species of the genus. Furthermore, a detailed study reveals the existence of three different morphological types. Based on the obtained phylogeny, we related each one of these types with the genera where they occur (Rhopalurus, Heteroctenus, and gên. nov. B).

Yamaguti HY. Analise filogenetica e biogeografica do genero Rhopalurus Thorell, 1876 (Arachnida: Scorpiones: Buthidae) [These de Doctorat]. Sao Paulo: Universidad de Sao Paulo; 2011. [Free fulltext]

Thanks to Carlos Turiel, Jacek Szubert and Rolando Teruel for informing me about this thesis!

Family Buthidae

07 November, 2011

New data on Chilean Urophonius including a new species

Andres Ojanguren-Affilastro, Jaime Pizarro-Araya and Lorenzo Prendini have published new data on some Chilean Urphonius (Bothriuridae). Here are the main results:

New species:
Urophonius mondacai Ojanguren-Affilastro, Pizarro-Araya & Lorenzo Prendini, 2011

Urophonius transandinus Acosta, 1998
Urophonius tumbensis Cekalovic, 1981

The paper has an identification key for the genus in Chile.

New data are provided on Chilean species of the bothriurid genus Urophonius Pocock, 1893. Urophonius mondacai, n. sp., from central Chile is described. Urophonius tumbensis Cekalovic, 1981, is redescribed according to modern standards, and information about its distribution and ecology provided. Urophonius transandinus Acosta, 1998, is redescribed, its known distribution enlarged, and data on the morphological variation among its populations provided. A modification to Maury’s (1973) group division of the genus is presented. Urophonius is divided into two groups instead of three as proposed by Acosta (1988). A distribution map for the three species covered in this contribution is provided, together with a key to the Chilean species of the genus.

Ojanguren Affilastro AA, Pizarro-Araya J, Prendini L. New data on Chilean Urophonius Pocock, 1893 (Scorpiones, Bothriuridae), with description of a new species. American Museum Novitates. 2011(3725):1-44. [Free fultext]

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for sending me this paper!

Family Bothriuridae

04 November, 2011

Buthus atrostriatus = Vachonus atrostriatus = Mesobuthus eupeus atrostriatus = Compsobuthus atrostriatus

Taxanomy is never easy! Yesterday I blogged about a recent paper about the Scorpions of Iran, Part VII. In this paper, Buthus atrostriatus Pocock, 1897 (Buthidae) was changed to Compsobuthus atrostriatus (Pocock, 1897). I didn't mention this yesterday as I couldn't find any Buthus atrostriatus in The Scorpion Files.

The reason for this is that Tikader & Bastawade moved B. atrostriatus to the new genus Vachonus in 1983, and the current name for this taxa in The Scorpion Files has been Vachonus atrostriatus (Pocock, 1897). This status was not mentioned in the scorpions of Iran paper. It also turns out that Buthus atrostriatus has been reported as Mesobuthus euepus atrostriatus (Pocock, 1897) by some authors after 1983.

Anyway, this taxa is now Compsobuthus atrostriatus (Pocock, 1897) and I hope that decision will stand as it was based on an analysis of the type.

A big thanks to professor Victor Fet for helping me sort out the status of this scorpion!

Navidpour S, Ezatkhah M, Kovarik F, Soleglad ME, Fet V. Scorpions of Iran (Arachnida: Scorpiones). Part VII. Kerman Province. Euscorpius. 2011(131):1-32. [Free fulltext]

Family Buthidae


03 November, 2011

Scorpions of Iran Part VII - Kerman Province

Part VII of a major review of the scorpions of Iran has been published in issue 131 of the journal Euscorpius.

The paper lists 13 species (six new records for the province) in two families from the Kerman Province and their distribution. The taxonomy of some problematic taxa is discussed.

An identification key for the species in the province is given. Good color photos are presented for the species and also some habitat pictures.

Thirteen species of scorpions belonging to two families are reported from the Kerman Province of Iran. Of these, the species Compsobuthus kaftani Kovařík, 2003, Mesobuthus macmahoni (Pocock, 1900), Orthochirus farzanpayi (Vachon et Farzanpay, 1987), Polisius persicus Fet, Capes et Sissom, 2001, Sassanidotus gracilis (Birula, 1900), and Hemiscorpius lepturus Peters, 1861 are recorded from the province for the first time. Kerman Province contains type localities of six species of scorpions, of which Kraepelinia palpator (Birula, 1903) and Orthochirus gruberi Kovařík et Fet, 2006 are valid. Prionurus crassicauda orientalis Birula, 1900 is a synonym of Androctonus crassicauda (Olivier, 1807), Buthus eupeus kirmanensis Birula, 1900 and Buthus pachysoma Birula, 1900 are probably synonyms of Mesobuthus eupeus persicus (Pocock, 1899), and Buthus gabrielis Werner, 1929, according to published information and occurrences near the type locality, probably is a synonym of Sassanidotus gracilis (Birula, 1900). These taxonomic problems are discussed below. Also, Buthus atrostriatus Pocock, 1897 is transferred to genus Compsobuthus. A key to all species of scorpions found in Kerman Province is presented.

Navidpour S, Ezatkhah M, Kovarik F, Soleglad ME, Fet V. Scorpions of Iran (Arachnida: Scorpiones). Part VII. Kerman Province. Euscorpius. 2011(131):1-32. [Free fulltext]

02 November, 2011

Abnormal pectines in a Vaejovis

Sometimes scorpions with abnormal body parts are discovered. Pepe - The Two-Tailed scorpion is probably one of the most "famous" examples. Richard Ayrey now reports about a Vaejovis lapidicola (Vaejovidae) with abnormal pectines.

Among specimens of Vaejovis lapidicola Stahnke, one female was found to have abnormally shaped pectines, both with only distal pectinal teeth. This rare, possibly teratological anomaly is documented and discussed.

Ayrey RF. An anomaly of pectinal organs in Vaejovis lapidicola (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae). Euscorpius. 2011(130):1-6. [Free fulltext]

27 October, 2011

The Rolando Teruel picture gallery of scorpions of Cuba

Rolando Teruel has shared his great pictures of the scorpions found on Cuba with The Scorpion Files. The individual species are listed in the gallery, but I have also a made a special gallery devoted only to the species of Cuba.

The Rolando Teruel picture gallery of scorpions of Cuba

I big thanks to Rolando for sharing the pictures with us!

03 October, 2011

New Pandinus from Ethiopia and Uganda and a review of the subgenus Pandinus

Frantisek Kovarik has recently published a review of the subgenus Pandinus Thorell, 1876 of Pandinus Thorell, 1876 (Scorpionidae). Two new species are described:

Pandinus mazuchi Kovarik, 2011 (Ethiopia)
Pandinus ugandaensis Kovarik, 2011 (Uganda)

The paper has taxonomical descriptions, distributional data and habitat information of the species within the subgenus. A identification guide for the subgenus is also presented.

This paper is of great interest both to professional researchers and scorpion enthusiasts as it involves several species that are popular in the pet industry and may make it more easy to identify some of the species sold to captive care. Pandinus sp. Uganda has been offered by several suppliers in Europe. It will be interesting to see if these belong to the new species mentioned above.

Pandinus (Pandinus) ugandaensis sp. n. from Uganda and P. (P.) mazuchi sp. n. from Ethiopia are described and compared with other species of the subgenus. P. ugandaensis sp. n. is characterized by 3-4/3: 3-4/3: 4/3: 4/3 spiniform formula of tarsomere II and only two spines on the inclined anteroventral surface of tarsomere II; eight ventral trichobothria on the chela; 10–11 pectinal teeth in females and 13–14 in males; and 1.6–1.7 length to depth ratio of the fourth metasomal segment. P. (P.) mazuchi sp. n. is characterized by 7/4: 6-7/4: 6-7/5-6: 8/5 spiniform formula of tarsomere II and only two spines on the inclined anteroventral surface of tarsomere II; 10 ventral trichobothria on the chela; 15–17 pectinal teeth; and 1.85 length to depth ratio of the fourth metasomal segment. New data on taxonomic characters, occurences and ecology of P. smithi (Pocock, 1897) and P. phillipsii (Pocock, 1896) are given and the presence of P. smithi (Pocock, 1897) in Ethiopia is verified. Presented are also photos of localities and a key to species of the subgenus.

Kovarik F. A review of the subgenus Pandinus Thorell, 1876 with descriptions of two new species from Uganda and Ethiopia (Scorpiones: Scorpionidae). Euscorpius. 2011(129):1-18. [Free fulltext]

Family Scorpionidae

28 September, 2011

Anascorp® is approved in the treatment of Centruroides envenomations in the USA

Quite a lot of peoples in Southwestern USA are stung by Centruroides sculpturatus Ewing, 1928 each year, and some (especially children) develop more serious, systemic symptoms. FDA has now approved the use of the anti-venom Anascorp®, which has shown to help children recover from life-threatening reactions due to Centruroides stings.

This news has been reported in several online sources, but I cite JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) here because I was asked to provide a picture to accompany their news report :)) (JAMA is one of the "big-five" scientific journals in medicine).

Kuehn BM. Treatment for scorpion stings. JAMA. 2011;306(12):1315. [Free fulltext?]

26 September, 2011

A new species of Chaerilus from Vietnam

Wilson Lourenco has recently published a new species of Chaerilus Simon, 1877 (Chaerilidae) from Vietnam.

Chaerilus phami Lourenco, 2011

The scorpion fauna of the Island of Con Son (Poulo Condore), Vietnam is briefly discussed and a new species, Chaerilus phami sp. n. is described. The new species is morphologically distinct from all the other species of Chaerilus described from the mainland in Vietnam.

Lourenço WR. Scorpions from the Island of Côn Son (Poulo Condore), Vietnam and description of a new species of Chaerilus Simon, 1877 (Scorpiones, Chaerilidae). Comptes Rendus - Biologies. 2011;334:773-6. [Subscription required for fulltext]

Family Chaerilidae

21 September, 2011

Hemiscorpius lepturus sting - a case report

Almost all dangerous scorpions (and all species in the family Buthidae) have neurotoxic venom. Hemiscorpius lepturus Peters, 1861 (Hemiscorpiidae) from Iran and Iraq has a venom composition differing significantly from the species of medical importance in Buthidae (by having a cytotoxic venom). And this species is at least as dangerous as the most potent species in Buthidae, causing renal failure, severe pulmonary hemorrhage and other dangerous conditions in many patients.

Eshan Valavi and co-workers have now published a case report of a Hemiscorpius lepturus sting from Iran describing both symptoms and why the venom causes these potential life threatening symptoms.

Hemiscorpius lepturus is a lethal scorpion with potentially cytotoxic venom. Various degrees of local and systemic toxicity have been observed after its envenomation ranging from local erythema to disseminated intravascular coagulation, renal failure and severe pulmonary hemorrhage. In this case report, we report on a seven-year-old patient who developed the hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) after being stung by the scorpion H. lepturus. This condition is characterized by microangiopathic hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, increased serum levels of lactate dehydrogenase and uremia. We evaluated the causes of HUS and found that the levels of C3, C4, CH50 and H factors were normal, but the activity of Von Willebrand factor cleaving protease was decreased (less than 5% of the normal activity). The patient improved after administering therapy with plasma exchange.

Valavi E, Ansari MJ, Hoseini S. ADAMTS-13 deficiency following Hemiscorpius lepturus scorpion sting. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl. 2011 Jul-Aug;22(4):792-5. [free fulltext]

19 September, 2011

Tityus smithii restored and a revision of Tityus from the Lesser Antilles

Rolando Teruel has made a revision of the Tityus described from the Lesser Antilles. Tityus smithii Pocock, 1893 is restored to species status and redescribed. Tityus pictus Pocock, 1893 is redescribed.

In the present paper, the taxonomic status of Tityus pictus Pocock, 1893 and all of its junior synonyms is revised. Tityus smithii Pocock, 1893 is restored as a valid species, and the subspecies Tityus smithii microdon Pocock, 1893 (currently T. pictus microdon) is regarded as its junior synonym. Both T. pictus and T. smithii are redescribed, supplementary information on their morphological variability are given, and their geographical distribution is up- dated, including a new locality record for the latter. Also, the taxonomic position and relationships of all Lesser Antillean species of the genus are clarified: it is demonstrated that T. exstinctus Lourenço, 1995 and Tityus insignis Pocock, 1889 are actually more closely related to T. pictus and T. smithii, and they all form a morphologically compact group of species which shows no clear affinities to any other species-group but “crassimanus” and “quisqueyanus”.

Teruel R. Redescription of Tityus pictus Pocock, 1893 and Tityus smithii Pocock, 1893, with notes of the Tityus species from Lesser Antilles (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2011(125):1-26. [Free fultext].

Family Buthidae

15 September, 2011

New Buthus species from Ethiopia

Frantisek Kovarik has described a new species of Buthus Leach, 1815 (Buthidae) from Ethiopia.

Buthus awashensis Kovarik, 2011

Buthus awashensis sp. n. from the Awash region of Ethiopia, is described and compared with B. berberensis Pocock, 1900 from Somaliland. The new species is characterized chiefly by the total length of 50–65 mm. B. berberensis reaches only 45–55 mm and differs in coloration, with adults having the chela of pedipalp and chelicerae entirely yellow without dark reticulations, and by mophometric characters, mainly the shape of the chela of pedipalp. Pectinal marginal tips extend the to proximal end of the fourth sternite in males of B. awashensis sp. n. and to proximal end of the fifth sternite in males of B. berberensis. Included are color photos of both sexes of dead and alive B. awashensis sp. n. and B. berberensis and of their localities.

Kovarik F. Buthus awashensis sp. n. from Ethiopia (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2011(128):1-6. [Free fulltext]

Family Buthidae

14 September, 2011

New Centruroides from Lesser Antilles and a redescription of Centruroides granosus

de Armas, Teruel & Kovarik have published a paper where they present a redescription of Centruroides granosus (Thorell, 1876) (Buthidae) from Panama.

In the same paper the identity of Centrurus granosus simplex Thorell, 1876 from the Lesser Antilles is discussed. The authors propose a species status for Centruroides simplex (Thorell, 1876). C. simplex is proposed as a senior synonym of Centruroides hasethi arubensis Stahnke & Calos, 1977 and Centruroides testaceus arubensis Sissom, 1991.

Centruroides granosus (Thorell, 1876) is redescribed based on several specimens of both sexes from Panama. We demonstrate that the original description of this species was based on an immature (subadult) male, which is herein designated as the lectotype. We conclude that Centrurus granosus simplex Thorell, 1876 is a senior synonym of Centruroides testaceus arubensis (Bakker, 1963), and elevate it to species level: Centruroides simplex (Thorell, 1876), comb. nov.

de Armas LF, Teruel R, Kovarik F. Redescription of Centruroides granosus (Thorell, 1876) and identity of Centrurus granosus simplex Thorell, 1876 (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2011(127):1-11. [Free fultext]

Family Buthidae

07 September, 2011

Redescription of the adult male Diplocentrus maya

Ronny Trujillo and Luis de Armas have published a redescription of the adult male Diplocentrus maya Francke, 1977 (Scorpionidae*) from Guatemala. The paper also has a identification key for the species of Diplocentrus in Guatemala.

The male of Diplocentrus maya Francke 1977 is described, and new data are given on this taxon. A dichotomic key is provided for identification of the three Guatemalan species of the genus Diplocentrus Peters, 1861.

Trujillo RE, de Armas LF. Descripcion del macho adulto de Diplocentrus maya Francke, 1977 (Scorpiones: Scorpionidae: Diplocentrinae). Boletin de la SEA. 2011(48):139-42.

Thanks to Ronny Trujillo for sending me this paper!

*Some authors have not accepted the inclusion of Diplocentrinae in Scorpionidae and have retained the family status for this taxa (Diplocentridae).

Family Scorpionidae

05 September, 2011

The status of Mesobuthus eupeus in Iran and species status for one of its subspecies

Omid Mirshamsi and co-workers have studied the different subspecies and populations of the widespread and polymorphic species Mesobuthus eupeus (C. L. Koch, 1939) in Iran. The studies revealed two distinct groups, resulting in an elevation to species status for Mesobuthus eupeus phillipsi (Pocock, 1889).

Mesobuthus phillipsi (Pocock, 1889) (Buthidae)

In the present study a number of scorpions from Iran classified under the name of Mesobuthus eupeus (C.L. Koch, 1839) were considered. Currently, M. eupeus includes at least 14 described subspecies with no concrete taxonomic position. Here, this species is redescribed based on new specimens collected from Iran. In addition, multivariate statistical analyses were performed to investigate the degree of intraspecific morphological divergence of M. eupeus based on six Iranian subspecies. The results of morphological comparisons and univariate and multivariate statistical analyses confirm the high phenotypic variability within this species. The data presented here revealed two distinct groups: I. M. e. phillipsi and, II. Including five subspecies namely, M. e. eupeus, M. e. philippovitschi, M. e. thersites M. e. afghanus and M. e. kirmanensis. The results of this study clearly confirm the hypothesis that M. eupeus is a polytypic species complex and possibly includes more than one valid species. Therefore, according to comparative morphological analysis, M. e. phillipsi was raised to the species level.

Mirshamsi O, Sari A, Elahi E, Hosseinie S. Mesobuthus eupeus (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Iran: A polytypic species complex. Zootaxa. 2011(2929):1-21. [Subscription required for fulltext]

Family Buthidae

02 September, 2011

Tityus ythieri lives and more on its biology

Tityus ythieri Lourenco, 2007 (Buthidae) was synonymized with T. magnimanus Pocock, 1897 in 2009 by Kovarik et al. Eric Ythier has revoked the decision by Kovarik et al. based on the fact that they didn't use the real T. ytheri in their study. See paper for more details.

In the current paper, Ythier also presents new data on the biology and reproduction of Tityus ythieri. This species only occurs in Ecuador.

Biological notes on the life cycle of Tityus ythieri Lourenço, 2007 were provided with the description of the species. Additional biological data on the postembryonic development of T. ythieri are described in the present paper.

Ythier E. Additional biological data on Tityus ythieri Lourenço, 2007. Le bulletin d’Arthropoda. 2011(44):3-7.

Thanks to Eric for sending me this paper!

Family Buthidae

31 August, 2011

Distribution of dangerous scorpions in Brazilian Amazonia

It is well known that the scorpion fauna of South America and Brazil hosts scorpions of medical importance, particularly in the genus Tityus C. L. Koch, 1836 (Buthidae). The number of species listed as potential dangerous in the medical literature has been (and is) quite low. This is problematic as the number of new species in this region has increased considerably in the last four decades. It is highly probable that the number of species of medical importance is higher than previously suggested.

Wilson Lourenco address this problem in a recently published article. Here he presents a list of potential dangerous species in the genus Tityus (subgenus Atreus) in Brazilian Amazonas and their distribution. Information on how to identify the different species is also given.

A geographical survey is proposed to thirteen species of the genus Tityus C. L. Koch, subgenus Atreus Gervais, distributed in Brazilian Amazonia. Since several of these species are of medical importance, their diagnoses are proposed and geographical distribution is discussed.

Lourenco WR. The distribution of noxious species of scorpions in Brazilian Amazonia: the genus Tityus C. L. Koch, 1836, subgenus Atreus gervais, 1843 (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Entomol Mitt Zool Mus Hamburg. 2011;15(185):287-301.

Thanks to professor Lourenco for sending me this paper!

29 August, 2011

A new species of Hemiscorpius from Somaliland (Somalia)

Kovarik & Mazuch have published a paper presenting a new species of Hemiscorpius Peters, 1861 (Hemiscorpiidae) from Somaliland (Somalia):

Hemiscorpius novaki Kovarik & Mazuch, 2011

Hemiscorpius novaki sp. n. from Somaliland is described and compared with other African species of the genus. The new species is characterized chiefly by the total length of 40–46 mm; yellow to yellowish-brown color with pedipalp fingers reddish brown to black, darker than the chela; slightly longer metasoma in the male than in the female. These characters distinguish H. novaki sp. n. from H. somalicus Lourenço, 2011. The third African species of the genus, H. tellinii Borelli, 1904, is known only from the female holotype, which differs from females of H. novaki sp. n. in having much less pronounced granulation of dorsal carinae on the first through fourth metasomal segments and in shape of the genital operculum.

Kovarik F, Mazuch T. Hemiscorpius novaki sp. n. from Somaliland (Scorpiones: Hemiscorpiidae). Euscorpius. 2011(126):1-9. [Free fulltext]

Thanks to Tomas Mazuch for sending me the paper!

Family Hemiscorpiidae

20 August, 2011

An update on the Chinese Scorpiops

Zhi-Young Di and co-workers have published an update on the status of Scorpiops Peters, 1861 (Euscorpiidae) in China and an updated identification key for the genus in China.

The genus Scorpiops (Euscorpiidae) is recorded for the first time in Central China. Two immature specimens of a form belonging to Scorpiops hardwickii (Gervais, 1843) “complex” were collected from Huzhaoshan Mountains in Hubei Province. A discussion of Chinese species of genus Scorpiops is provided, as well as a key of Scorpiops from China.

Di Z-Y, He Y-W, Cao Z-J, Wu Y-L, Li W-X. The first record of the family Euscorpiidae (Arachnida: Scorpiones) from Central China, with a key of Chinese species of the genus Scorpiops. Euscorpius. 2011(118):1-9. [Free fulltext]


15 August, 2011

Growth and longevity in Nebo hierochonticus

Professor M. R. Warburg has published an interesting article where he discuss the problems of researching growth and longevity in scorpions. In the paper he presents results of own long term studies of Nebo hierochonticus Simon, 1872 (Scorpionidae) in captivity. Interestingly, female N. hierochonticus can at least reach 18 years (and maybe longer because the specimens was alive when Warburg studies were ended).

During a long-term study of scorpions, it was possible to follow for 15 years the growth (increase in mass) in the laboratory of adult Nebo hierochonticus (Simon, 1875). The groth rate is highest during the first years (0.75 g/yr), dropping with age to 0.1 g/yr. During this long captivity period it also became possible to study their longevity. Longevity of two females was 15 and 18 years. Problems involved in the various methods used to assess growth and to estimate longevity are discussed.

Warburg MR. Growth and longevity of Nebo hierochonticus in the laboratory: a long term study (Scorpiones, Diplocentridae). Bull Br Arach Soc. 2011;15(5):168-72.

14 August, 2011

Scorpions in ancient Egypt

For those interested in scorpions in myths and history, Hisham El-Hennaway has written an excellent paper summing up what is known about scorpions in ancient Egypt. The paper is illustrated with many great pictures. Enjoy!

The ancient Egyptians knew the scorpion and its toxicity, and venerated it since pre-dynastic era. They used the scorpion as a king's name, a name of a nome (county), and a symbol to their goddess, Serqet, that protects the body and the viscera of the dead, and that accompanies them in their journey to the afterlife. They had medical prescriptions and magical spells to heal the stings. Since the 5th dynasty, the title of a “Follower of Serket” was given to clever physicians. Scorpions are most famously depicted on Horus Cippus, a talisman featuring Horus the Child holding in his hands figures of serpents, scorpions, and dangerous animals. A drawing of a scorpion with two metasomas was found in the tomb of the pharaoh Seti I (1290–1279 BC), probably the first record of this abnormality, more than 13 centuries before Pliny the Elder.

El-Hennawy H, K. Scorpions in ancient Egypt. Euscorpius. 2011(119):1-12. [Free fulltext]

11 August, 2011

A new Diplocentrus from Mexico

Contreras-Felix and Santibanez-Lopez have described a new species in Diplocentrus Peters, 1861 from Jalisco, Mexico.

Diplocentrus bicolor Contreras-Felix & Santibanez-Lopez, 2011 (Scorpionidae)

Diplocentrus bicolor sp. n. from Huejuquilla el Alto, in northern Jalisco and two nearby localities in Zacatecas is described. It is compared to its geographically closer species from Zacatecas, Aguascalientes and Nayarit. A map with its known distribution is provided.

Contreras-Felix G, Santibanez-Lopez CE. Diplocentrus bicolor sp. n. (Scorpiones: Diplocentridae) from Jalisco, Mexico. Zootaxa. 2011(2992):61-8. [free fulltext?]

Thanks to dr. Santibanez-Lopez for sending me this paper!

Family Scorpionidae

10 August, 2011

Jean-Henri Fabre and Buthus occitanus

Marco Colombo has written a very interesting article on the french naturalist Jean-Henri Fabre and his contributions to the knowledge of the Languedoc Yellow Scorpion, Buthus occitanus (Amoreuxi, 1789).

Jean-Henri Casimir Fabre (1823–1915) has probably been one of the most important entomologists of the world in the last two centuries, leaving to posterity a huge amount of manuscripts and books. The Languedoc yellow scorpion, Buthus occitanus (Amoreaux, 1789), has been one of his objects of study: many of its behaviours, including the famous “promenade a deux”, have been described by the careful eye of the French entomologist, giving an interesting contribution to modern scorpiology.

Colombo M. On Fabre's traces: an important contributor to the knowledge of Buthus occitanus (Amoreux, 1789). Euscorpius. 2011(117):1-10. [Free fulltext]

By the way, Marco is a great wildlife photographer. Check out his gallery page.

08 August, 2011

Orthochirus in Africa and three new species

Wilson Lourenco and Elise-Anne Leguin have studied Orthochirus Karsch, 1891 (Buthidae) material from Africa and have revised the descriptions for O. aristidis (Simon, 1882) and O. innesi Simon, 1910. In addition, they have described three new species in the genus from northern Africa.

Orthochirus atarensis Lourenco & Leguin, 2011 (Mauritania)
Orthochirus cloudsleythompsoni Lourenco & Leguin, 2011 (Morocco)
Orthochirus tassili Lourenco & Leguin, 2011 (Algeria)

A key to the five African species of Orthochirus is given.

New considerations are proposed regarding the African species of the genus Orthochirus Karsch, 1891. Two species, Orthochirus aristidis (Simon, 1882) and Orthochirus innesi Simon, 1910 have been the subject of several publications in the past decades; however, doubts remain about their exact identity and range of geographical distribution. In this note, their taxonomic status is reinvestigated. The type material is revised and the lectotype and paralectotypes are designated for O. aristidis. Revised diagnoses and illustrations are proposed for both species, and these are confirmed as valid. Three new species are described from Algeria, Morocco, and Mauritania. The total number of African species is raised to five.

Lourenco WR, Leguin E-A. Further considerations on the species of the genus Orthochirus Karsch, 1891 from Africa, with description of three new species (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius 2011:1-19. [Free fulltext]

Family Buthidae

“SCORPIONS 2011” John L. Cloudsley-Thompson 90th Birthday Commemorative Volume

The online Journal Euscorpius is celebrating scorpionology's grand old man John L. Cloudsley-Thompson's 90th Birthday by publishing a special volume with 10 articles by 19 authors. I'm going to report the results of the research articles in the days to come, but those who can not wait can click on the link below and browse down issues 116-125 in the bottom of the page.


04 August, 2011

A new Buthus from Morocco

Touloun & Boumezzough have described a new species of Buthus Leach, 1815 (Buthidae) from Morocco:

Buthus boumalenii Touloun & Boumezzough, 2011

A new species of the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 (Scorpiones, Buthidae) belonging to the "Buthus occitanus” complex is described from the region of Boumalene in Morocco. The description of Buthus boumalenii sp. n. raises the total number of Buthus species known from Morocco to fourteen and confirms that this complex is an isolated group of species, "the Atlas group".

Touloun O, Boumezzough A. Une nouvelle espece du genre Buthus Leach, 1815 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) du Maroc. Boletin de la SEA. 2011(48):183-7.

Family Buthidae

03 August, 2011

A new Centruroides from Honduras

Rolando Teruel has recently described a new Centruroides (Buthidae) from Honduras:

Centruroides hirsuticauda Teruel, 2011

A identification key for the genus in Honduras is provided.

A new species of the genus Centruroides Marx 1890 is herein described from the west-central region of Honduras, which has been previously confused with Centruroides margaritatus (Gervais 1841). This species can be distinguished from the remaining members of the "margariatus" group by its relatively small size and the abundant metasomal setation, among other features. A key for the identification of the four Honduran members of this group is included.

Teruel R. Una nueva especie de Centruroides Marx 1890 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) de Honduras, America Central. Boletin de la SEA. 2011(48):61-6.

Family Buthidae

29 July, 2011

Two new Lychas and new status for to buthid genera

Wilson Lourenco has looked into the "Ananteris phylogenetic group" (Buthidae) in his recent paper and published the following conclusions:

New species:
Lychas eliseanneae Lourenco, 2011 (Indonesia).
Lychas inexpectatus Lourenco, 2011 (Laos).

New status:
Ananteroides Borelli, 1911 (from synonymy with Ananteris Thorell, 1891).
Microananteris Lourenco, 2003 (from synonymy with Ananteris Thorell, 1891).

New combination:
Ananteroides feae Borelli, 1911 (previously Ananteris feae (Borelli, 1911)).
Microananteris minor Lourenco, 2003 (previously Ananteris minor (Lourenco, 2003)).

See paper for details.

The composition of the “Ananteris group” (sense Fet et al., 2005) is tentatively proposed. The worldwide geographical pattern of distribution of the elements associated to this “phylogenentic group” is discussed. The biogeographic patterns presented by extant and fossil elements of this group confirm a model of panbiogeographic distribution which clearly corresponds with old Pangaean patterns. Two new species are described in the genus Lychas C. L. Koch. These suggest possible links between elements of the most basal “Ananteris group” and other buthids.

Lourenco WR. The "Ananteris group" (Scorpiones: Buthidae); suggested composition and possible links with other buthids. Boletin de la SEA. 2011(48):105-13.

Thanks to Professor Lourenco for sending me this paper!

Family Buthidae

27 July, 2011

The genetics of Hottentotta from Morocco

Pedro Sousa and co-workers have collected Hottentotta from Morocco and done genetical and phylogentical analysis of the populations found. The Maghrebian Hottentotta consist of the two species H. franzwerneri (Birula, 1914) and H. gentili (Pallary, 1924), and this study shows that further studies are necessary to comprehend the taxonomy of Hottentotta from this region and whether color is a valid tool in the species diagnosis.

The medically important scorpion genus Hottentotta Birula, 1908 has long been a taxonomical challenge. This species-rich scorpion genus contains three lineages spread over most of Africa and part of Asia. The Maghrebian Hottentotta was historically recognised as a single species, H. franzwerneri (Birula, 1914), divided in two subspecies with disjunct distributions. A recent morphological study raised both Maghreb subspecies to species level, H. franzwerneri and H. gentili (Pallary, 1924). In this study we assess the phylogenetic relationships between specimens of the genus Hottentotta from Morocco using cytochrome oxidase 1 (CO1) mitochondrial DNA sequences. Our finding of H. gentili in the eastern portion of Morocco increases the known range of this taxon and significantly reduces the geographic distance that separates it from H. franzwerneri. Furthermore, we found four well supported clades in the Maghrebian Hottentotta. All H. franzwerneri specimens group in the franzwerneri clade, but H. gentili specimens group in three different clades. The Ziz valley clade form a sister group to the franzwerneri clade, specimens from the core range of H. gentili group in the central clade, while specimens from the southern distribution of the species group in the Low Draa valley clade, basal in our tree. These findings challenge current Hottentotta taxonomy because they imply paraphyly of H. gentili, although mitochondrial introgression cannot be excluded. Further studies are needed to fully comprehend the taxonomy of Hottentotta from this region and the role that colour characters play in scorpion species diagnoses.

Sousa P, Froufe E, Harris DJ, Alves PC, van der Meijden A. Genetic diversity of Maghrebian Hottentotta (Scorpiones: Buthidae) scorpions based on CO1: new insight on the genus phylogeny and distribution. Afr Invertebr. 2011;52(1):135-43. [Free fulltext?]

Thanks to Dr. Sousa for sending me this article!

Family Buthidae

26 July, 2011

In memory of the victims of the Oslo bombing and Utøya shooting massacre Friday 22.07.11.

A new species of Hemiscorpius from Somalia

The medical important genus Hemiscorpius Peters, 1861 (Hemiscorpiidae) is mostly known (and infamous) from the Middle East, but this genus is also represented in East Africa. Wilson Lourenco has now described a new species in the genus from Somalia.

Hemiscorpius somalicus Lourenco, 2011

New considerations are proposed about the species of Hemiscorpius Peters, 1861 reported from East Africa. Hemiscorpius tellinii Borelli, 1904 is accepted as a valid species, distinct from Hemiscorpius socotranus Pocock, 1899. This last species most certainly represents an endemic element to the Island of Socotra and its presence in Somalia requires further investigation. One new species, Hemiscorpius somalicus sp. n., is described from the region of Meleden in northeast Somalia. The total number of species in the genus Hemiscorpius is now raised to 12.

Lourenco WR. The genus Hemiscorpius Peters, 1861 (Scorpiones: Hemiscorpiidae) in East Africa, and description of a new species from Somalia. Entomol Mitt Zool Mus Hamburg. 2011;15(185):275-85.

Thanks to Professor Lourenco for sending me this paper!

Family Hemiscorpiidae

A new species in Guyanochactas from French Guiana

Lourenco & Ythier have recently described a new species in the genus Guyanochactas Lourenco, 1998 (Chactidae) from French Guiana.

Guyanochactas flavus Lourenco & Ythier, 2011

The genus Guyanochactas was synonymized with Broteochactas by Soleglad & Fet, 2003, 2005. Lourenço & Ythier (2011) have chosen not to accept this synonymization, and described the new species in Guyanochactas. The taxonomy of The Scorpion Files follows Soleglad & Fet (2005), but it is impossible for me to know where to put the new species. I have chosen to reinstate Guyanochactas with its original species in The Scorpion Files based on Lourenço & Ythier (2011) until a new revision on the family Chactidae is published.

A new species of scorpion belonging to the genus Guyanochactas Lourenço, 1998 (family Chactidae Pocock, 1893), is described on the basis of three specimens collected in French Guiana. The new species is characterized by reddish-yellow to pale yellow coloration and moderate to small size, 35 to 38 mm in total length. This is the second species of the genus Guyanochactas reported from French Guiana.

Lourenco WR, Ythier E. A new species of Guyanochactas Lourenco, 1998 (Scorpiones, Chactidae) from French Guyana. Boletin de la SEA. 2011(48):203-6.

Thanks to Professor Lourenco for sending me this paper!

Family Chactidae

25 July, 2011

A New Scorpions of the World book review

I have previously blogged about the great book "Scorpions of the World" authored by Roland Stockmann and my friend Eric Ythier that was published in 2010. Matthew Graham has now published a thorough review of the book in The Journal of Arachnology. The review is freely available for all.

I agree with Graham that this book belongs in the bookshelf of every serious scorpion enthusiast!

Graham MR. Book Review - Scorpions of the World. J Arachnol. 2011;39(1):166-7. [Free fultext]

Review of Mesobuthus in China with a new species

The scorpion fauna of China is under investigation and Sun & Sun have now published a review of Chinese Mesobuthus with the discovery of a new species.

Mesobuthus karshius Sun & Sun, 2011 (Buthidae)

The paper presents an identification key for Chinese Mesobuthus.

Mesobuthus karshius new species from the southern region of Xinjiang, China, is described. Nine species and subspecies of the genus Mesobuthus Vachon 1950 from China are recorded, and diagnoses of M. eupeus mongolicus (Birula 1911), M. eupeus thersites (C.L. Koch 1839) and M. martensii martensii (Karsch 1879) are provided. In addition, M. caucasicus przewalskii (Birula 1897), M. caucasicus intermedius (Birula 1897), M. eupeus mongolicus (Birula 1911), M. karshius sp. nov. and M. martensii martensii (Karsch 1879) are illustrated, and a key to the Chinese Mesobuthus is also provided.

Sun D, Sun Z-N. Notes on the genus Mesobuthus (Scorpiones: Buthidae) in China, with description of a new species. J Arachnol. 2011;39(1):59-75. [Subscription required for fulltext]

Family Buthidae

19 July, 2011

Surprise! - A new Buthus species from Cyprus

It has been rumored for some time, but now it has finally become published. Yagmur, Koc and Lourenco has discovered a second species on Cyprus in addition to Mesobuthus cyprius. And the new species belongs to Buthus and not Mesobuthus.

Buthus kunti Yagmur, Koc & Lourenco, 2011 (Buthidae)

Based on the inquires I've gotten from peoples finding scorpions in their houses in Cyprus, scorpions are quite common (but not often seen by peoples), at least in southern parts. These have probably been M. cyprius, as the new species has so far only been reported from northern Cyprus. It will be interesting to know how widespread the new species is.

Interestingly, Cyprus is the only area were members of Buthus and Mesobuthus have been found together.

During the last decade, several contributions to the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 (family Buthidae) and especially to the ‘Buthus occitanus’ species complex were proposed. These contributions led to the definition of several species, previously considered only as subspecies or varieties, and also to the description of new species. In the present study, the questionable presence of the genus Buthus in the Cyprus is rediscussed and a new species Buthus kunti sp. n. is described.

Yagmur EA, Koc H, Lourenco WR. A new species of Buthus Leach, 1815 from Cyprus (Scorpiones, Buthidae). ZooKeys. 2011;115:27-38. [Free fulltext]

Thanks to Ersen Yagmur and Gerard Dupre for sending me this paper!

Family Buthidae

30 June, 2011

A new Centruroides from Mexico

Ponce-Saavedra and Francke recently published a new Centruroides (Buthidae) from Mexico.

Centruroides macota Ponce-Saavedra & Francke, 2011

Ponce-Saavedra J, Francke OF. Nueva especie de alacran del genero Centruroides (Scorpiones, Buthidae) del estado de Jalisco, Mexico. Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad. 2011;82:465-74.8Free fultext]

Thanks to Oscar Francke for sending med this paper!

Family Buthidae

14 June, 2011

How do the scorpion pectines work?

Elisabeth Knowlton and Douglas Gaffin have recently published a paper looking into how the thousands of peg sensilla that cover the pectines work.

All scorpions have two mid-ventral organs called pectines. Each pecten has thousands of pore-tipped sensilla sensitive to a variety of volatile organic and waterbased stimulants. However, it was previously unknown whether individual sensilla were functionally identical or different. The information enhancement hypothesis predicts that all sensilla have similar chemosensitivities such that each is a unit of a parallel processing system. The information segmentation hypothesis states that sensilla differ in their chemosensitivities, a functional arrangement akin to the glomeruli-specific chemical detection system in the moth or human olfactory sense. In this study, we tested these hypotheses by extracellularly tip-recording sensillar responses to three aqueous tastants: 0.01 M KCl, 0.1 M citric acid, and 40% ethanol by volume. We isolated stimulation to one sensillum at a time and compared the chemoresponses. Sensilla appeared to respond similarly to the same stimulant (i.e., sensillar tip-recordings revealed activity of the same cell types), although sometimes a few sensilla responded with higher spike rates than the others. We conclude that our data primarily support the information enhancement hypothesis but for future tests of sensillar function we suggest a new hybrid model, which proposes that a few specialized sensilla exist among a mostly uniform field of identical sensilla.

Knowlton ED, Gaffin DD. Functionally redundant peg sensilla on the scorpion pecten. J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2011 Jun 7.doi: 10.1007/s00359-011-0650-9. [Subscription required for fulltext]

08 June, 2011

A review of scorpion reproductive strategies

Michael Warburg has recently published an interesting review on scorpion reproductive strategies. In addition to reviewing the existing knowledge on this topic, he also makes suggestions about future research on this topic.

Most scorpion species are iteroparous, breeding more than once during their life. Some of these species are parthenogenetic. The other reproductive strategy (RS) semelparity, when scorpions breed only a single time during their life, is rare and has been documented only once. The mass allocated by the female to produce either a litter or a single offspring is the reproductive allocation (RA). It is difficult to calculate RA since the difference in female mass before and after parturition is difficult to obtain. In addition, the litter size is hardly ever accurate because of maternal cannibalism. An attempt was made to calculate RA in Nebo hierichonticus (E. Simon, 1872). Based on litter size, on breeding frequency and on longevity of the female, it is possible to estimate the reproductive potential (RP). These aspects of scorpion reproduction are reviewed and the difficulties involved in this study are discussed.

Warburg MR. Scorpion reproductive strategies, allocation and potential; A partial review. European Journal of Entomology. 2011;108(2):173-81. [Free fulltext]

07 June, 2011

A redescription of Tityus atriventer

Rolando Teruel and Frantisek Kovarik have published an article with a redescription of Tityus atriventer Pocock, 1897 (Buthidae) from the Caribbean.

The largely neglected Lesser Antillean scorpion Tityus atriventer Pocock, 1897 is herein redescribed, after study of the two syntypes and one additional adult male. The latter was recently collected from Union Island (about 55 km northeast of Grenada), and it implies the first published finding of this species after its original description, and the first record of the species both outside the type-locality and from the Grenadines islands. The taxonomic position of T. atriventer is clarified (including designation of a lectotype and a paralectotype), its diagnosis is updated, a fully illustrated redescription is presented according to the current taxonomy of the genus, and a comparison to its morphologically closest relatives is also provided.

Teruel R, Kovarik F. Redescription and taxonomic position of Tityus atriventer Pocock, 1897 (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2011(115):1-9. [Free fultext]

Family Buthidae