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