31 December, 2012

Euscorpius croaticus from Croatia raised to species status

"Hidden" Euscorpius species are still waiting to be discovered in Europe, especially in Greece and in the Balkans. Matthew Graham and co-workers have now raised Euscorpius germanus croaticus Di Caporiacco, 1950 (Euscorpiidae) to species status based on molecular and morphological evidence.

Euscorpius croaticus Di Caporiacco, 1950

The taxonomic identity of Euscorpius germanus croaticus Di Caporiacco, 1950, described from Croatia and Bosnia, has remained unclear ever since its discovery. We studied the lectotype from the Velebit Mountains as well as new material from Biserujka Cave on Krk Island, Croatia. We reassessed E. g. croaticus using both morphology and DNA barcodes (cox1 sequences) from one of the Biserujka Cave specimens and 15 congeneric species. The resulting DNA phylogeny suggests that E. g. croaticus is not a subspecies of E. germanus. The taxon appears to be a separate lineage, which groups close to subgenus Alpiscorpius but differs from all its members in several morphological characters. We elevate E. g. croaticus to species rank as Euscorpius croaticus Di Caporiacco, 1950, stat. nov., and provide a detailed redescription of both sexes.

Graham MR, Webber MM, Blagoev G, Ivanova N, Fet V. Molecular and morphological evidence supports the elevation of Euscorpius germanus croaticus Di Caporiacco, 1950 (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae) to E. Croaticus Stat. Nov., a rare species from croatia. Revista Iberica de Arachnologia. 2012 (21):41-50.

Thanks to Professor Victor Fet for sending me this paper!

Family Euscorpiidae

A new species of Isometrus from Laos

Wilson Lourenco and Elise-Anne Leguin have recently described a new species of Isometrus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Buthidae) from Laos.

Isometrus lao Lourenco & Leguin, 2012

A new species, Isometrus (Reddyanus) lao sp. n., is described from the northern region of Luang-Prabang, Laos. Differences in coloration and morphometric values of the Isometrus species described from Southeast Asia attest to a micro-endemic distribution pattern. Comments on the other Isometrus species of Southeast Asia are proposed and comparative illustrations and morphometric values are also added.

Lourenco WR, Leguin E-A. A new species of Isometrus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Laos. Acta Arachnologica. 2012;61(2):71-6.

Thanks to Professor Lourenco for sending me his article!

Family Buthidae

A new Buthus from Cameroon

Professor Wilson Lourenco and co-workers are still unraveling the mysteries of the African "Buthus occitanus species complex". This time a new species of Buthus Leach, 1815 (Buthidae) is described from Cameroon.

Buthus prudenti Lourenco & Leguin, 2012

A new species belonging to the genus Buthus Leach (Scorpiones: Buthidae) is described from northern Cameroon in Central Western Africa. The new species can be included in the “Buthus occitanus” complex of species, and probably can be associated with the “Buthus occitanus” from the former French West Africa (AOF) previously reported by Vachon from this large region. This is the first record of a Buthus species from Cameroon, and with the description of Buthus prudenti sp. n., the status of one more population of Buthus spp. from the sub-Saharan region of Africa is clarified.

Lourenco WR, Leguin E-A. A New Species of the Genus Buthus (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Northern Cameroon. Euscorpius. 2012 (152):1-9.[Free full text]

Family Buthidae

21 December, 2012

A new Ananteris from Suriname

Another Christmas scorpion species from professor Wilson Lourenco. This time he reports of a new species of Ananteris Thorell, 1891 (Buthidae) from Suriname.

Ananteris surinamensis Lourenco, 2012

A new species of the genus Ananteris Thorell has been discovered in Suriname. Ananteris surinamensis sp. n. is described from a single female collected in the region of ‘Serra de Tumucumaque’ on the border with the state of Pará, Brazil. This is the frst record of a species of Ananteris from Suriname. The number of Ananteris species described from the Guyanas region is raised to seven.

Lourenco WR. The genus Ananteris Thorell, 1891 (Scorpiones, Buthidae) in Guyanas region, with a description of a new species from Suriname. Entomologische Mitteilungen aus dem Zoologischen Museum Hamburg. 2012;16(188):41-7.

Thanks to professor Lourenco for sending me his paper!

Family Buthidae

A new Grosphus from Madagascar

Madagascar is a gold mine for scorpion diversity and professor Wilson Lourenco has now described a new species of Grosphus Simon, 1880 (Buthidae) from the island.

Grosphus bicolor Lourenco, 2012

The southwestern portion of Madagascar appears to have one of the highest levels of scorpion diversity on the island and in two previous publications an analysis of the known species of Grosphus from this region was presented. One more new species, Grosphus bicolor sp. n. is described from dry spiny bush in inland region, between Ranohira and Llakaka.

Lourenco WR. A new species of Grosphus Simon, 1880 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from the Southwest of Madagascar. entomologische Mitteilungen aus dem Zoologischen Museum Hamburg. 2012;16(188):33-40.

Thanks to professor Lourenco for sending me his paper!

Family Buthidae

Habitat distribution and seasonality of Paruroctonus boreus in Washington State

Paruroctonus boreus (Girard, 1854) (Vaejovidae) is a widespread species in western United State and Canada, and is the most northern scorpion in North America. Richard Zack and Chris Looney have published a study on habitat distribution and seasonality of this species in southcentral Washington State.

The northern scorpion, Paruroctonus boreus (Girard 1854) is recorded from big sage climax, sand dune, cheatgrass dominated, and partially disturbed big sage habitats on the Hanford Nuclear Site, located in southcentral Washington State. Based on a pitfall trapping survey, the species was most commonly encountered in partially disturbed big sage habitat and rarely found in cheatgrass dominated plant communities. A total of 127 specimens were taken with the earliest collection made 20–28 March and the latest 9–24 October. Habitat occurrence on the Hanford Site is compared with comparable studies at other locations. The possible negative effect of cheatgrass invasion on scorpion occurrence is discussed.

Zack RS, Looney C. Habitat distribution and seasonality of the northern scorpion, Paruroctonus boreus (Girard) (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae), at the Hanford Site, southcentral Washington State. Pan-Pacific Entomologist. 2012;88(3):292-8. [Subscription required for full text]

17 December, 2012

Morphological investigations of five species from Venezuela

Walter Bechara and Jonathan Liria have published a paper on geometric morphometrics in five species of Buthidae and Scorpionidae from Venezuela. The paper is in Spanish and I have only read the English abstract which is presented below.

Bechara WY, Liria J. Morfometría geométrica en cinco especies de Buthidae y Scorpionidae (Arachnida: Scorpiones) de Venezuela. Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad. 2012;83:421-31. [Free full text]

Thanks to Walter Bechara for sending me a link to the full text of the paper!

A new Vaejovis from Mexico

Erwin Pabel Miranda-Lopez and co-workers have recently described a species of Vaejovis Koch, 1836 (Vaejovidae) from Morelia, Michocan in Mexico.

Vaejovis morelia Miranda-Lopez, Ponce-Saavedra & Francke, 2012

Vaejovis morelia sp. nov. from Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico is described. This species belongs to the mexicanus group (sensu Sissom, 2000), and is morphologically similar to V. pusillus Pocock, 1898 and V. dzahui Santibañez y Francke 2010, species from mountainous zones, and with which it is compared.

Miranda-Lopez EP, Ponce-Saavedra J, Francke OF. Una especie nueva de Vaejovis (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae) del centro de México. Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad. 2012;83:966-75.

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for sending me this paper!

Family Vaejovidae

11 December, 2012

A new Hemiscorpius from Southwestern Iran

Aysergül Karatas and Muhammed Gharkheloo have described a new species in the genus Hemiscorpius Peters, 1861 (Hemiscorpiidae) from Southwestern Iran.

Hemiscorpius kashkayi Karatas & Gharkheloo, 2013

This is the sixth species in this genus reported from Iran. Knowledge on the taxonomy of this genus is very important as it has high medical importance and it is possible that other species than the well known Hemiscorpius lepturus may cause serious morbidity in humans.

A new Hemiscorpius species, H. kashkayi sp. nov., is described from the Khuzestan and Ahwaz region in southwestern Iran. H. kashkayi is related to H. persicus Birula, 1903, known from Baluchestan in eastern Iran, which does not show sexual dimorphism between males and females, like H. kashkayi. These 2 species differ from all other Iranian Hemiscorpiidae species in having no sexual dimorphism. H. kashkayi is distinguished from H. persicus by its relatively short and well-developed stout metasoma and pedipalp segments, less well-developed patellar process, and carapacial and mesosomal carination.


Karatas A, Gharkheloo MM. A new Hemiscorpius Peters, 1861 (Scorpiones: Hemiscorpiidae) from southwestern Iran. Turkish Journal of Arachnology. 2013;37:1-9. [Free full text]

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for sending me this paper!

Family Hemiscorpiidae

21 November, 2012

A congress on scorpion (and snake) envenomations in the Mediterranean region in May 2013

Dr. Oulaid Touloun at the Université Cadi Ayyad in Morocco has asked me to inform you about a new congress in May next year focusing on scorpion and ophidian envenomations in the Mediterranean region:

Dear Colleague,

We are pleased to remember  that The Laboratory of Ecology & Environnment L2E organize with the collaboration of Moroccaon Society of Herpetology the First Mediterranean Congress on Scorpion and Ophidian Envenomations (CMESO 1) in Marrakech, Morocco (May 20-23 2013).
This congress will be an opportunity for researchers, experts and the various operators in the domain of envenomations to take stock of the various research topics and to increase the exchange of know-how in zoological research, biochemical, toxicological, Treatment of envenomations and the management of poisoned persons.
CMESO1 has a particular interest because it presents the results of research that have direct impact on the socio-economic and biomedical. It is also the first meeting devoted to scorpion and ophidian envenomations in the Mediterranean region and present also an opportunity to influence policy makers in the countries concerned to pay more attention to this scourge and to respond effectively to this serious problem.
We kindly ask you to link the Congress (www.cmeso1.uca.ma) on your website to ensure wide dissemination. Thank in advance for your collaboration.


Dr. Oulaid TOULOUN
Équipe de Recherche "Écologie Animale & Environnement"
Laboratoire " Écologie & Environnement "
Département de Biologie, Faculté des Sciences Semlalia BP 2390,
Université Cadi Ayyad, Marrakech 40000, Maroc

16 November, 2012

Three new species of Compsobuthus from Africa and The Middle East

Frantisek Kovarik has published three new species of Compsobuthus Vachon, 1949 from East Africa and The Middle East.

Compsobuthus krali Kovarik, 2012 (Yemen)
Compsobuthus levyi Kovarik, 2012 (Jordan and Israel)
Compsobuthus somalilandus Kovarik, 2012 (Somaliland)

An identification key for the genus is supplied.

Compsobuthus krali sp. n. of the werneri group from Yemen, C. levyi sp. n. of the werneri group from Jordan and Israel, and C. somalilandus sp. n. of the acutecarinatus group from Somaliland are described. A key to all species of the genus Compsobuthus Vachon, 1949 is presented.

Kovarik F. Three New Species of Compsobuthus Vachon, 1949 from Yemen, Jordan, Israel, and Somaliland (Scorpiones:Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2012 (150):1-10. [Free full text]

Family Buthidae

Five new species of Chaerilus from Asia

Frantisek Kovarik have recently published five new species of Chaerilus Simon, 1877 (Chaerilidae) from Asia.

Chaerilus cimrmani Kovarik, 2012 (Thailand)
Chaerilus seiteri Kovarik, 2012 (Philippines)
Chaerilus solegladi Kovarik, 2012 (Malaysia and Borneo, Indonesia)
Chaerilus terueli Kovarik, 2012 (Vietnam)
Chaerilus wrzecionkoi Kovarik, 2012 (Tibet, China)

A identification key for the genus is supplied.

Chaerilus cimrmani sp. n. from Thailand, C. seiteri sp. n. from Philippines (Negros Island), C. solegladi sp. n. from Indonesia and Malaysia (Borneo Island), C. terueli sp. n. from Vietnam (Côn Son Island), and C. wrzecionkoi sp. n. from China (Tibet) are described. A key to all species of the genus Chaerilus Simon, 1877 is also presented.

Kovarik F. Five New Species of Chaerilus Simon, 1877 from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam (Scorpiones: Chaerilidae). Euscorpius. 2012 (149):1-14.[Free full text]

Family Chaerilidae

14 November, 2012

Size (or age) influence activity and habitat use in Centruroides vittatus

Earlier this Fall, Neal McReynolds published a study on ontogenetic shifts in microhabitat use, foraging and temporal activity for Centruroides vittatus (Say, 1821) (Buthidae). I haven't had the time to read the paper until now, so sorry for late blogging.The abstract sums the study up pretty well.

Ontogenetic shifts in activity and habitat use by the scorpion Centruroides vittatus in Laredo, Texas can occur with shifts in microhabitat use, the height of the scorpion in vegetation and seasonal and lunar activity among different sizes of C. vittatus but not taxa of prey in the diet. The microhabitat use by the different size classes was significantly different with significant associations among the cacti with a high frequency of larger scorpions on prickly pear cactus and strawberry cactus and between grass and other vegetation with a high frequency of smaller scorpions on grass. A comparison of the mean height of scorpion on blackbrush among the size classes was not significant but height on grass was significant. The activity of the size classes was significantly different among months and lunar cycle. Temperature had a significant effect on the activity of scorpions by different size classes and in different microhabitats. Caterpillar availability did not have a significant association with either scorpion size class or microhabitat use by scorpions. The taxa of prey captured by the different size classes were not significantly different including no notable difference in scorpions feeding on caterpillars. The size classes of C. vittatus show microhabitat and temporal shifts in activity. The results suggest that smaller scorpions can possibly be avoiding the larger scorpions by reducing activity in the preferred microhabitat (prickly pear and strawberry cactus) of larger scorpions.

McReynolds CN. Ontogenetic Shifts in Microhabitat Use, Foraging and Temporal Activity for the Striped Bark Scorpion Centruroides vittatus (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2012 (144):1-19. [Free full text]

05 November, 2012

A new Vaejovis from Mexico

Vaejovis bandido Graham, Ayrey & Bryson, 2012 from Mexico (Photo: Rob Bryson)

Matthew Graham, Richard Ayrey and Robert Bryson have recently published a description of a new species of Vaejovis C. L. Koch, 1836 (Vaejovidae) from the Sierra de los Ajos in Mexico.

Vaejovis bandido Graham, Ayrey & Bryson, 2012

Multivariate analyses of morphological characters provide strong evidence that a highland Vaejovis from the Sierra de los Ajos, a Madrean ‘sky island’ in northern Sonora, Mexico, represents a distinct new species of the V. vorhiesi group. This new species is described and compared to other geographically adjacent species of the V. vorhiesi group, named V. bandido, and brief notes on ecology are provided. Results from this study provide evidence that multivariate analysis of morphological characters is a powerful tool to delimit small and otherwise cryptic scorpion species.

Graham MR, Ayrey RF, Bryson Jr RW. Multivariate methods support the distinction of a new highland Vaejovis (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae) from the Sierra de los Ajos, Mexico. Journal of Arachnology. 2012;40:281-90. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Dr. Graham for sending me this paper and to Rob Bryson for sharing a picture of the new species with The Scorpion Files!

Family Vaejovidae

11 October, 2012

A new Vaejovis species from Arizona, USA

Vaejovis halli from Arizona, USA. Photo: Rich Ayrey (C)

Richard Ayrey has described another Vaejovis C. L. Koch, 1836 (Vaejovidae) from the Mogollon Highlands of northern Arizona (USA).

Vaejovis halli Ayrey, 2012

A new scorpion species, Vaejovis halli sp. nov., is described. This relatively small, brown new species is found on Mount Ord in the Mazatzal Mountains along the Mogollon Rim of northern Arizona. The new species appears most similar to V. vorhiesi Stahnke and V. deboerae Ayrey. The most distinguishing characteristic of this new species is the number of inner denticles (ID) found on the pedipalp fingers with six on the movable finger and usually five on the fixed finger, which more closely correlates with Vaejovis species from the mountains of southern Arizona rather than those geographically closer in northern Arizona.

Ayrey RF. A New Vaejovis from the Mogollon Highlands of Northern Arizona (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae). Euscorpius. 2012 (148):1-13. [Free full text]

Thanks to Rich Ayrey for sharing a picture of the new species with The Scorpion Files!

Family Vaejovidae

10 October, 2012

Two new species of Chaerilus from Vietnam and Cambodia

Wilson Lourenco has described two new species in the genus Chaerilus Simon, 1877 (Chaerilidae).

Chaerilus anneae Lourenco, 2012 (Vietnam)
Chaerilus kampuchea Lourenco, 2012 (Cambodia)

Two new species of Chaerilus are described from Southeast Asia: C. anneae sp. n. from southern Vietnam and C. kampuchea sp. n. from Cambodia. These new species are compared to the other Chaerilus species known from Southeast Asia and Indonesian islands. This study suggests that different species are not too much distinct morphologically, rather corresponding to micro-endemic populations. Molecular studies, now in preparation, are deemed to bring further evidence to favor or refute this hypothesis.

Lourenco WR. More about the genus Chaerilus Simon, 1877 in Vietnam and Cambodia, with descrptions of two new species. Arthropoda Selecta. 2012;21(3):235-41. [Free full text]

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for sending me this paper!

Family Chaerilidae

05 October, 2012

Intraguild predation in scorpions: Tityus vs. Chactas

Scorpions are generalist predators and it is agreed that one of the greatest predator of scorpions are scorpions themselves. Despite this, interspesific predation in scorpions have rarely been observed in the field (most observations being done in captivity).

Jairo Moreno-Gonzalez and Nicolas Hazzi reported this summer about a case of intraguild predation in Colombia involving a Tityus forcipula Gervais, 1843 feeding on a Chactas vanbenedeni Gervais, 1843.

The first case of intraguild predation in the neotropical region by Tityus forcipula (Gervais) (Buthidae) predating upon Chactas vanbenedeni (Gervais) (Chactidae) in Yotoco Forest Reserve, Valle del Cauca, Colombia, is recorded. A comprehensive table including known records of intraguild predation is provided. Despite similarity between the microhabitats of both species, this observation of predation might be casual.

Moreno-Gonzalez JA, Hazzi NA. Intraguild predation case: Tityus forcipula Gervais, 1843 (Scorpiones, Buthidae) feeding on Chactas vanbenedeni Gervais, 1843 (Scorpiones, Chactidae) in Colombia. Revista Iberica de Arachnologia. 2012;20:117-20.

Thanks to Jairo Moreno-Gonzalez for sending me his paper!

On the type locality of Mesobuthus vesiculatus

Aysegül Karatas and Muhammed Mouradi Gharkheloo have previously published a redescription of Mesobuthus vesiculatus (Pocock, 1899) (Buthidae) from Iran. Now these author, together with Victor Fet, have published a short note discussing the type locality of this species.

The type locality for Mesobuthus vesiculatus (Pocock, 1899) (Scorpiones: Buthidae) is identified as Astarqān, East Azerbaijan Province, Iran, at 38°32'03"N, 46°12' 36"E.

Karatas A, Fet V, Gharkheloo MM. On the type locality of Mesobuthus vesiculatus (Pocock, 1899) (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2012 (147):1-3. [Free full text]

04 October, 2012

Another new species in the enigmatic, troglomorphic genus Troglotayosicus from Colombia

Ricardo Botero-Trujillo and co-workers have discovered another species in the rare and enigmatic genus Troglotayosicus Lourenco, 1981 (Troglotayosicidae) in leaf litter in southwestern Colombia.

Troglotayosicus hirsutus Botero-Trujillo, Ochoa, Tovar & Souza, 2012

This scorpion is found in leaf litter, and is not a cave dweller. It has troglomorphies like reduces and eyes and pigmentation.

Troglotayosicus hirsutus, a new species of troglomorphic scorpion, is described based on three adult males, three adult females and eight juveniles captured by ultraviolet light detection in forest leaf litter of the municipality of Buesaco, southwestern Colombia. Though similar to the other Colombian species in the genus, Troglotayosicus humiculum Botero Trujillo & Francke, 2009, T. hirsutus sp. nov. exhibits a combination of distinctive morphological features, including a densely hairy appearance which gives the name to the new species. With this description, the number of known species in the genus Troglotayosicus is raised to three, two of which inhabit leaf litter in forests of Nariño department (Colombia), whereas the type species, Troglotayosicus vachoni Lourenço, 1981, remains known only from Los Tayos Cave in Ecuador. With this new finding, it is plausible that the genus Troglotayosicus is not much rare after all, but that its apparent rarity might be a sampling artifact instead. However, this possibility does not imply that the genus is necessarily common, and only additional studies may tell about the vulnerability of the genus.

Botero-Trujillo R, Ochoa JA, Tovar OA, Souza J. A new species in the scorpion genus Troglotayosicus from forest leaf litter in Southwestern Colombia (Scorpiones, Troglotayosicidae). Zootaxa. 2012 (3506):63-76. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Dr. Botero-Trujillo for sending me his article!

Family Trglotayosicidae

03 October, 2012

A new species of Scorpio from Niger

The previous monotypic genus Scorpio Linnaeus, 1758 (Scorpionidae) in Africa has been under investigation for some time. Lourenco & Cloudsley-Thompson has now discovered a new species from Niger.

Scorpio niger Lourenco & Cloudsley-Thompson, 2012

This is the first record of Scorpio from Niger and the third species to be reported beyond the Saharan region of Africa (the two other species being S. savanicola Lourenco, 2009 from Cameroon and S. occidentalis Werner, 1936 from Senegal).

For almost a century, Scorpio maurus L., 1758 (Scorpiones, Scorpionidae) has been considered to be no more than a widespread and presumably highly polymorphic species. Recent investigation of the ancient classifications by Birula (1910) and Vachon (1952) have led to the consideration of several African populations at the rank of species. Two new species have also been described from Cameroon (Lourenço, 2009) and Sudan Lourenço & Cloudsley-Thompson, 2009), countries not previously recorded as containing members of the genus Scorpio. In the present paper, the enigmatic presence of the genus Scorpio in Congo has been tentatively clarified, and this record is attributed to mislabelling. A new species is also described from Niger. It is the first confirmed record of a species of Scorpio from that country.

Lourenco WR, Cloudsley Thompson JL. About the enigmatic presence of the genus Scorpio Linnaeus, 1758 in Congo with the description of a new species from Niger (Scorpiones, Scorpionidae). Serket. 2012;13(1/2):1-7.

Thanks to professor Lourenco for sending me his article!

Family Scorpionidae

A new species of Buthus from Egypt

Lourenco & Simon have recently published a new species of Buthus Leach, 1815 (Buthidae) from Alexandria, Egypt.

Buthus orientalis Lourenco & Simon, 2012

This species was described from specimens found in a museum collection. Interestingly, no scorpion species can be found in the area where the this species originally was collected because of the development of the city of Alexandria. Collecting in a nearby area revealed no Buthus specimens either. It is therefor possible that this species is now extinct due to habitat destruction.

During the last decade, the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 (Family Buthidae) was the subject of several studies. These concerned in particular the ‘Buthus occitanus’ complex of species. Several populations previously considered as subspecies or varieties were raised to the rank of species and many new species were also described. The majority of the species considered in these studies come mostly from Northwest Africa. In a recent paper, the questionable presence of the genus Buthus in Egypt, in other regions than Sinai, was reconsidered and one new species was described from the region of Siwa. In some unpublished notes by E. Simon, the genus Buthus was recorded from Alexandria, but these data were not confirmed subsequently. The material studied by E. Simon was recently ‘relocated’ in the collections of the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle in Paris. It is described here as a new species.

Lourenco WR, Simon E. Confirmation of a new species of Buthus Leach, 1815 from Alexandria, Egypt (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Serket. 2012;13(1/2):8-15.

Thanks to professor Lourenco for sending me his paper!

Family Buthidae

02 October, 2012

A new extinct species found in Baltic amber

Wilson Lourenco has published a new species of fossil scorpion based on a specimen found in baltic amber.

Palaeolychas weitschati Lourenco, 2012 (Buthidae)

A new species of Baltic fossil scorpion, Palaeolychas weitschati sp. n. is described based on a specimen found in amber from the Samland Peninsula in Baltic coast. The new species is the second one described for the genus Palaeolychas Lourenço et Weitschat, and thus belongs to the same lineage as the majority of other scorpions known from Baltic amber, which is clearly associated with the extant scorpion fauna of tropical regions in America, Asia and Africa. This new find attests, however, to a considerable degree of diversity in the Baltic amber-producing forests.

Lourenco WR. Further Considerations on Scorpions Found in Baltic Amber, with a Description of a New Species (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2012 (146):1-7. [Free full text]

28 September, 2012

Euscorpius sicanus in Tunisia is natural and not recently introduced

Euscorpius sicanus from Italy. Photo: Jan Ove Rein (C)
The presence of Euscorpius (Euscorpiidae) in some areas in North Africa has been known for many years. These populations have been regarded of many as introduced by humans, but some have raised the questions if they represented isolated relict populations.

Matt Graham and co-workers have now published a DNA barcoding study of Euscorpius sicanus (C. L. Koch, 1837) from Tunisia. By comparing specimens from Tunisia with conspecifics from Malta, Sardinia and Greece, they have showed that the North African populations of this species were probably not recently introduced and instead represent an ancient and isolated natural population. Interestingly, analysis of the data suggests that the isolation between the African and European populations happened in the timeframe when scientists think that the Mediterranean basin was refilled after the "Messinan salinity crisis" (late Miocene).

We used a DNA barcoding marker (mitochondrial cox1) to investigate the controversial natural occurrence of Euscorpius sicanus (C.L. Koch) in North Africa. We tested this hypothesis by comparing a sample collected from a mountain in Tunisia to disjunct populations in Sardinia, Malta, and Greece. Using these samples, and a few additional Euscorpius spp. from southern Europe as outgroups, we reconstructed the maternal phylogeny. We then used a molecular clock to place the phylogeny in a temporal context. The Tunisian sample grouped closest to a specimen from Sardinia, with both being more distantly related to E. sicanus from Malta, which is known to be genetically similar to samples from Sicily. Molecular clock estimates suggest an ancient disjunction across the Mediterranean Sea, with the divergence between samples from Sardinia and Tunisia estimated to have occurred between the Late Miocene and late Pliocene. The divergence date (mean = 5.56 Mya) closely corresponds with the timing of a sudden refilling of the Mediterranean Sea after it had evaporated during the Messinian salinity crisis. This rapid influx of water, in conjunction with tectonic activity, could have sundered connections between Euscorpius in North Africa and what is now the island of Sardinia. These results provide yet another case in which DNA barcodes have proven useful for more than just identifying and discovering species.

Graham MR, Stoev P, Akkari N, Blagoev G, Fet V. Euscorpius sicanus (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae) from Tunisia: DNA barcoding confirms ancient disjunctions across the Mediterranean Sea. Serket. 2012;13(1/2):16-26.

Thanks to Matt Graham for sending me their paper!

27 September, 2012

New genus and species from Cuba

Cryptoiclus rodriguezi Teruel & Kovarik, 2012 female from Cuba. Photo: Rolando Teruel (C)

I just got my hands on Kovarik and Teruel's wonderful book "Scorpions of Cuba", previously mentioned in this blog. This is a very informative book covering all known scorpions described from Cuba (with color pictures of all species and many habitat pictures too), but a new genus and couple of new species was also discovered by the authors while researching for the book:


Cryptoiclus Teruel &Kovarik, 2012 - A new genus endemic for eastern Cuba.
Cryptoiclus rodriguezi Teruel & Kovarik, 2012 - Only known species in the genus.

Cryptoiclus seems to be a very rare taxa. Only four specimens have been collected during 25 years of intensive searching.


Microtityus pusillus Teruel & Kovarik, 2012 (new species)
Microtityus flaviscens Teruel, 2001 (new status - previously M. fundorai flaviscens Teruel, 2001)

You will find updated identification keys to all scorpion taxa known so far from Cuba.

The "Scorpions of Cuba" book is a must for all scorpion researchers and enthusiasts interested in the scorpion fauna of Cuba, Caribbean and Central America!

Teruel R, Kovarik F. Scorpions of Cuba. Jakub Rolcik - Clarion Production; 2012. ISBN 978-80-904340-1-1.

Thanks to Rolando Teruel for sharing a picture of the new species Cryptoiclus rodriguezi!

Family Scorpionidae
Family Buthidae

25 September, 2012

Redescription of Mesobuthus vesiculatus from Iran

Aysegül Karatas and Muhammed Mouradi Gharkheloo have recently published a redescription of Mesobuthus vesiculatus (Pocock, 1899) (Buthidae) from Iran.

The scorpion Mesobuthus vesiculatus (Pocock, 1899) was briefly described from northwestern Iran based on only one male with a picture indicating the dorsal habitus of the holotype; the author pointed out that it has a large and globular telson with a short aculeus. This species, with very distinct morphological features, is now redescribed based on new specimens (3 ♂♂, 3 ♀♀) collected from West Azerbaijan and East Azerbaijan (Iran). Detailed figures and measurements are presented and the trichobotrial pattern and paraxial organ are illustrated for the first time. The morphological differences of M. vesiculatus from similar species M. caucasicus, M. eupeus, and Sassanidotus gracilis are discussed.

Karataş A, Gharkheloo MM. Redescription of Mesobuthus vesiculatus (Pocock, 1899) (Scorpiones: Buthidae) based on specimens from Iran. Turkish Journal of Zoology. 2012;36(5):576-84. [Free full text]

Family Buthidae

Scorpion envenomation in a region in Morocco

Oulaid Touloun and co-workers have recently published a very interesting and informative study on scorpion envenomation in the region of Marrakesh Tensift Alhaouz in western Morocco.

In addition to typical epidemiological data, the paper also present data on the different species' habitat preferences. This makes the paper especially interesting as this explains why some species are more involved in sting incidents than others (and how they are involved). For example, all sting cases involving the burrowing species of Scorpio was caused by children playing with the scorpions after dislodging them from their caves.

Two species have caused fatalities between 1996 and 2006: Androctonus mauritanicus (22) and Hottentotta gentili (10). The latter species has not been mention often (or at all) in the medical literature as a potent species, and should be noted herafter. Interestingly, no fatalities involved Buthus spp., which has been considered medical important for north Africa (and of course still can be).

Morocco is a country in northwest Africa on the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean which presents an extremely diversified and rich scorpion fauna. In the Marrakesh Tensift Alhaouz region, scorpions have great medical importance where scorpionism remains a genuine public health problem for local populations. Scientific expeditions in this region, carried out since 1994, allowed us to record 11 species and subspecies that represent 28% of Moroccan scorpion fauna, including ten that are endemic to the country. The distribution maps of all these species had already been established and then updated, which allowed us to specify new factors affecting their distribution modes. The present epidemiological study on scorpionism through prospective investigation has shown the severity of this problem. Of 724 scorpion sting cases, 32 deaths were reported between 1996 and 2006. Androctonus mauritanicus (Pocock, 1902) is the most medically important scorpion species in the study area (responsible for 53% of cases). Respective elevated morbidity and mortality rates of 30% and 48% have been recorded from accidents occurring in dwelling interiors. Limb extremities comprise the body areas that most exposed to stings (59%) which occurred predominantly during the summer period (53%). The age group most affected ranged from 16 to 30 years old (42%). This study determined some epidemiological characteristics of these envenomations and established their causes, origins and consequences.

Touloun O, Boumezzough A, Slimani T. Scorpion envenomation in the region of Marrakesh Tensift Alhaouz (Morocco): epidemiological characterization and therapeutic approaches. Serket. 2012;13(1/2):38-50.

Thanks to Dr. Touloun for sending me this paper!

24 September, 2012

Scorpion diversity in Northeastern Algeria

Salah Eddine Sadine and co-workers have recently published a paper on the diversity and ecological distribution of scorpions in the Natiornal Park of Belezma in northeastern Algeria.

Three species were found (see abstract below for details). The authors report of Buthus occitanus (Amoreux, 1789), but this species is now limited to Europe only and the African subspecies and forms were elevated to species level. It is not clear from the paper which species of Buthus that actually occur in the study area.

This study refers to the observations and collections of scorpions at National Park of Belezma (NPB), in Batna, Northeast Algeria. During the summer of 2006, the investigations conducted in the forests of Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica M.), of Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis L.) and Holm oak (Quercus ilex L.) resulted in collecting a total of 103 scorpion specimens representing three species, belonging to two different families. The family Buthidae is represented by Androctonus bicolor (relative abundance “RA” = 1.9%) and Buthus occitanus (RA = 82.5%). The family Scorpionidae is represented only by Scorpio maurus (RA = 15.5%). According to the canonical correspondence analysis (CCA), two groups with more or less homogeneous distribution are distinguished: A. bicolor and S. maurus frequent foothills dominated by the herbaceous layer between 900 to 1100 meters of altitude, while B. occitanus was found in high mountain habitats at more than 1300 meters of altitude where the covering of woody vegetation is high. The main habitats colonized by these species are discussed according to their orographic characteristics, general appearance of the substrate and the structure of vegetation cover.

Sadine SE, Alioua Y, Chenchouni H. First data on scorpion diversity and ecological distribution in the National Park of Belezma, Northeast Algeria. Serket. 2012;13(1/2):27-37.

Thanks to Dr. Sadine for sending me this paper!

14 September, 2012

Euscorpius italicus found in Cyrpus

Euscorpius italicus Thorell, 1876 (Euscorpiidae) is known from several Europan countries, but introduced populations have also been reported from Algeria, Morocco,Yemen and Iraq. In addition, I've seen many reports of accidental findings of single E. italicus specimens from many northern European countries (stowaways).

Ersen Yagmur has now published a finding of a specimen of Euscorpius italicus in a house in Northern Cyprus. This is clearly an introduced specimen, but it is not clear if it represent an introduced population or if it is just a single introduced stowaway.

The scorpion species Euscorpius italicus (Herbst, 1800) is recorded for first time from Cyprus. This represents a new scorpion family, genus and species record for the country. Besides, this is first insular record from Mediterranean Sea. The characteristic morphological features, zoogeographical remarks and ecological notes on the species are presented in this study.

Yagmur EA. First Record of the Genus Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae) in Cyprus. Acta Zoologica Bulgarica. 2012;64(3):329-30.

Thanks to Ersen for sending me this article!

13 September, 2012

The scorpions of Sint Eustatius, Lesser Antilles

Rolando Teruel and Hannah Madden have published an interesting paper describing the scorpion fauna of Sint Eustatius, Lesser Antilles. Three species from three genera and two families were found on the island. The paper has information about the habitat of the species present, and also an identification key for the taxa on the island.

In the present note, we revise the scorpion fauna of the small island of Sint Eustatius, in the Lesser Antilles. A total of two families, three genera and three species are confirmed to occur there: the buthids Centruroides barbudensis (Pocock, 1898) and Isometrus maculatus (DeGeer, 1778), and the scorpionid Oiclus purvesii (Becker, 1880). These include the first record of the occurrence in Sint Eustatius of the family Scorpionidae and the genus Oiclus Simon, 1880, as well as the first published findings of I. maculatus since 1942. A key to the easy identification of all three species is provided.

Teruel R, Madden H. The Scorpions (Arachnida: Scorpiones) of Sint Eustatius, Lesser Antilles. Euscorpius. 2012 (145):1-9. [Free full text]

06 September, 2012

Scorpion fauna of Hatila Valley National Park, northeastern Turkey

For those interested in the scorpion fauna of Turkey, Ersen Yagmur and co-workers have published a paper on the scorpion fauna of Hatila Valley National Park in northeastern Turkey.

During 2008‐2011, we studied scorpion fauna of Hatila Valley National Park in Artvin Province. A total of 40 specimens were collected from five different localities, and three species belong to three families were identified: Mesobuthus eupeus eupeus (C. L. Koch, 1838) (Buthidae) Euscorpius mingrelicus (Kessler, 1874) (Euscorpiidae) and Calchas nordmanni Birula, 1899 (Iuridae). This is the first study of the scorpion species of Hatila Valley.

Yagmur EA, Koc H, Tropea G, Yesilyurt F. Scorpion fauna of Hatila Valley National Park (Artvin, Turkey). Anadolu Doga Bilimeri Dergisi. 2012;3(1):15-22.

Thanks to Ersen Yagmur for sending me this paper!

04 September, 2012

A new Euscorpius from Turkey

Gioele Tropea and co-workers have recently described a new species of Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 (Euscorpiidae) from the Dilek Peninsula in western Turkey. This is another "hidden" Euscorpius species from the "Euscorpius carpathicus species complex".

Euscorpius avcii Tropea, Yagmur, Koc, Yesilyurt & Rossi, 2012

I'm expecting more new Euscorpius species in the future as there are still many unresolved populations that now are being under investigation.

A new species of the genus Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 is described based on specimens collected from Dilek Peninsula (Davutlar, Aydın) in Turkey. It is characterized by an oligotrichous trichobothrial pattern (Pv= 7, et= 5/6, eb= 4) and small size. Euscorpius (Euscorpius) avcii sp. n. is the first named species of the subgenus Euscorpius from Turkey.

Tropea G, Yagmur EA, Koc H, Yesilyurt F, Rossi A. A new species of Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 (Scorpiones, Euscorpiidae) from Turkey. ZooKeys. 2012;219:63-80. [Free full text]

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for sending me this paper!

Family Euscorpiidae

03 September, 2012

Scorpions of India - a review

Bastawade and co-workers have published a small review of scorpions reported in India and their distribution.113 species from 25 genera is reported from India.

No abstract.

Bastawade DB, Jadhav SS, Sharma RM. Scorpionida. Zoological Survey in India. 2012;4(6):1-16. [Free full text]

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for sending me this paper and to Pedro Coelho for informing me about the link to the online pdf!

29 August, 2012

New book: Scorpions of Cuba

Rolando Teruel and Frantisek Kovarik have published a new book, Scorpions of Cuba. Here is information about the book:

A new book in English by Rolando Teruel and Frantisek Kovarik. The island of Cuba hosts the most diverse scorpion fauna per area, and this book is the result of its long-range studies. Treated are all 54 species in the form of keys, comments on morphology,  habitats and distribution maps, 636 color photos depicting preseved as well as live specimens, their mating, parental care and localities, and presented are descriptions of two new taxa - Cryptoiclus rodriguezi gen. et sp. n. (Diplocentrinae) and Microtityus pusillus sp. n.
More information on the book can be obtained at http://kovarex.com/scorpio/, where 11 selected pages give an idea about the internal arrangement and appearance of the publication. The book can be ordered directly from the second author at kovarik.scorpio@gmail.com. The price is 60 euros (75 USD), which includes postage.

I have not seen the book yet, but I'm quite sure it will be great. I will write a review of the book as soon as I get it.

23 August, 2012

A major revision of Iurus with a new genus and two new species

In 2010, Soleglad, Fet, Kovarik & yagmur published a major revision on the genus Iurus Thorell, 1876 (Iuridae) from Greece and Turkey. The same authors have now published a new phylogenetic revision based on both morphological characteristics (especially from the hemispermatophore) and DNA studies. Several additional specimens from multiple geographical locations were used in the analysis.

Iurus is now split into two genera, based on the structure of the hemispermatophore.

Iurus Thorell, 1876

Protoiurus Soleglad, Fet, Kovarik & Yagmur, 2012

The two genera have now the following composition and distribution:

Iurus dekanum (Roewer, 1943), stat. nov. (Greece: Crete)

Iurus dufoureius (Brullé, 1832) (Greece: Peloponnese and Kythira Island)

Iurus kinzelbachi Kovařík, Fet, Soleglad & Yağmur, 2010 (Turkey: Aydın and Izmir Provinces; Greece: Samos Island)

Protoiurus asiaticus (Birula, 1903), comb. nov. (Turkey: Adana, Adıyaman, Kahramanmaraş, Mersin and Niğde Provinces)

Protoiurus kadleci (Kovařík, Fet, Soleglad & Yağmur, 2010), comb. nov. (Turkey: Antalya, and Mersin Provinces)

Protoiurus kraepelini (von Ubisch, 1922), comb. nov. (Turkey: Antalya, Isparta, Konya, Karaman, Mersin, and Muğla Provinces; Greece: Megisti Island)

Protoiurus rhodiensis Soleglad, Fet, Kovařík & Yağmur, sp. nov. (Greece: Rhodes Island)

Protoiurus stathiae Soleglad, Fet, Kovařík & Yağmur, sp. nov. (Greece: Karpathos Island)

The paper, which is freely available on the Internet, has a identification key and many illustrations and distribution maps.

Iurus populations from the Aegean area are studied, including the Greek islands of Crete, Karpathos, Kythira, Rhodes, and Samos. A new genus, Protoiurus gen. nov., and two new species, Protoiurus rhodiensis sp. nov. and P. stathiae sp. nov., are described. The two genera, Iurus and Protoiurus, are diagnosed by their hemispermatophore structure; a cladistic analysis based on this structure is presented. Genus Iurus Thorell, 1876 includes three species: I. dekanum, I. dufoureius, and I. kinzelbachi; genus Protoiurus includes five species: P. asiaticus comb. nov., P. kadleci comb. nov., P. kraepelini comb. nov., P. rhodiensis sp. nov., and P. stathiae sp. nov. The type specimen of Chaerilomma dekanum Roewer, 1943 has been studied and determined to be a valid species Iurus dekanum (Roewer, 1943) representing the population from Crete. New diagnoses for subfamilies Calchinae (genus Calchas) and Iurinae (genera Iurus and Protoiurus) are provided as well as keys to the species of Iurus and Protoiurus.

Soleglad ME, Fet V, Kovarik F, Yagmur EA. Etudes on iurids, V. Further revision of Iurus thorell, 1876 (scorpiones: Iuridae), with a description of a new genus and two new species. Euscorpius. 2012 (143):1-70. [Free full text]

Family Iuridae

20 August, 2012

Luc Ross - RIP

I got the sad news this morning from The American Tarantula Society that scorpion and tarantula researcher and enthusiasts Luc Ross has passed away. I was in contact with Luc from time to time for many years, and his arachnology knowledge will be missed.

Luc wrote many articles, both popular science and scientific. Here is a list of some of his papers that I was able to find in my archives:

1.    Ross LK, van der Ende TC. Geographic distribution and faunal listing of the family Buthidae C.L. Koch, 1837 (Arachnida: Scorpiones) in the Antilles, with notes on negative human impact in the region. Forum Magazine of the American Tarantula Society. 2010;18(2):11-7.
2.    Ross LK. Observational notes on early-instar Opisthacanthus maculatus (Lourenco & Goodman, 2006) (Scorpiones: Liochelidae). Forum Magazine of the American Tarantula Society. 2009;17(4):11-3.
3.    Ross LK. A short note on the care and maintenance of Paruroctonus becki (Gertsch & Allred, 1965) (Vaejovidae) in captivity. Forum Magazine of the American Tarantula Society. 2009;17(2):8-10.
4.    Ross LK. NOTES ON GESTATION PERIODS AND LITTER SIZE IN THE ARENICOLOUS BUTHID SCORPION Leiurus quinquestriatus (EHRENBERG, 1828) (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins Including Tropical Diseases. 2009;15(2):347-52.
5.    Ross LK. FREQUENCY OF SPERMATOPHORE PRODUCTION AND REGENERATION IN THE MALES OF Tityus (Atreus) magnimanus POCOCK, 1897 (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins Including Tropical Diseases. 2009;15(1):157-62.
6.    Ross LK. NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS ON COURTSHIP AND MATING IN Tityus (Atreus) magnimanus POCOCK, 1897 (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins Including Tropical Diseases. 2009;15(1):43-53.
7.    Ross LK. First report of random larval orientation in the genus Vaejovis C.L. Koch, 1836 (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae). Boletin de la SEA. 2009;45:531-2.
8.    Ross LK. A concise introduction to Androctonus australis (Linnaeus, 1758) (Scorpiones: Buthidae) and recommended care in captivity. Forum Magazine of the American Tarantula Society. 2008;16(3):15-22.
9.    Ross LK. A jumping spider feeding on an earthworm. Peckhamia. 2008;71.1:1-2.
10.    Ross LK. Predation on Platycryptus undatus (De Geer 1778) by Parasteatoda tepidariorum (C. L. Koch 1841) (Araneae: Salticidae, Theridiidae). Peckhamia. 2008;72.1:1-.
11.    Ross LK. Observations on newborn Opisthacanthus maculatus Lourenco & Goodman, 2006 (Scorpiones, Liochelidae) from Madagascar. Revista Iberica de Aracnologia. 2008;18:123-7.
12.    Ross LK. Confirmation of parthenogenesis in the medically significant, synanthropic scorpion Tityus stigmurus (Thorell, 1876) (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Revista Iberica de Aracnologia. 2008;18:115-21.
13.    Ross LK. Brief notes on three broods of Babycurus jacksoni (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Forum Magazine of the American Tarantula Society. 2007;16(2):15-7.
14.    Ross LK. Development & care of early-instar Pandinus imperator (Scorpiones: Scorpionidae). Forum Magazine of the American Tarantula Society. 2007;16(1):24-8.
15.    Ross LK. The golden scorpion of China: Mesobuthus martensii (Karsch, 1879) (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Forum Magazine of the American Tarantula Society. 2006;15(1):11-4.
16.    Ross LK. The Cuban burrowing cockroach, Byrsotria fumigata (Guerin), as prey for captive scorpions. Forum Magazine of the American Tarantula Society. 2006;15(2):7-9.
17.    Ross LK, West RC. A listing of male theraphosids which lack tibial apophyses. Journal of the British Tarantula Society. 2005;20(3):81-.
18.    Ross LK. The striped bark scorpion Centruroides vittatus. Forum Magazine of the American Tarantula Society. 2005;14(3):92-5.
19.    Ross LK. An alternative approach to keeping Poecilotheria species in captivity. Forum Magazine of the American Tarantula Society. 2005;14(1):11-3.
20.    Ross LK. A case of autotomy and regeneration of non-functional appendages in a female theraphosid spider. Journal of the British Tarantula Society. 2005;20(4):102-4.
21.    Ross LK. On female Augacephalus breyeri. Forum Magazine of the American Tarantula Society. 2003;12(3):102-3.
22.    Ross L. Notes and observations of behavioural variance between two sibling male specimens of Hysterocrates gigas Pocock, 1897. Journal of the British Tarantula Society. 2003;19(1):22-6.
23.    Ross LK. The emperor scorpion, Pandinus imperator (C.L. Koch) in captivity. Part 1: basic care and maintenance. Journal of the British Tarantula Society. 2002;17(2):40-5.
24.    Ross LK. The emperor scorpion, Pandinus imperator (C.L. Koch) in captivity. Part II: breeding and contributions to conservation. Journal of the British Tarantula Society. 2002;17(4):108-11.
25.    Ross LK. Captive care and maintenance of arboreal baboon spiders (Stromatopelma and Heteroscodra). Journal of the British Tarantula Society. 2001;16(3):95-102.
26.    Ross LK. Introductory guidelines for terrestrial Asiatic theraphosids in captivity. Journal of the British Tarantula Society. 2001;16(4):116-9.
27.    Ross LK. New World arboreal tarantulas 101. Journal of the British Tarantula Society. 2001;17(1):6-16.
28.    Ross L. Feeding New World arboreal spiderlings. Forum Magazine of the American Tarantula Society. 1999;8(1):6-7.
29.    Ross L. The basics on keeping New World arboreal tarantulas. Forum Magazine of the American Tarantula Society. 1999;8(2):45-6.

My thoughts are with Luc's family. The family has asked that people with stories, antidotes or comments to post them on his Facebook account:



Jan Ove Rein
Editor of The Scorpion Files