26 June, 2015

A new family, genus and species of scorpion from Myanmar amber

Andrea Rossi has recently investigated a new scorpion found in amber (burmite) from Myanmar. A new fossil family, genus and species are described.

Sucinlourencous adrianae Rossi, 2015 (Sucinlourencoidae)

A remarkable new family, genus and species of scorpion are described from the cretaceous burmese amber (burmite) from Myanmar. The new family Sucinlourencoidae fam. n. shows particular features that are unique among the extinct burmese families and the existing families of scorpions.

Rossi A. A new family, genus and species of scorpion from the burmite of Myanmar (Scorpiones: Sucinlourencoidae). Arachnida - Rivista Aracnologica Italiana. 2915;1(1):3-21.

Thanks to Dr. Rossi for sending me his paper!

24 June, 2015

The history of three important Tityus species in Brazil

Professor Wilson Lourenco has recently published an interesting article where he present the history of three important Brazilian Tityus species (Buthidae): Tityus bahiensis (Perty, 1833), Tityus serrulatus Lutz & Mello, 1922 and Tityus costatus (Karsch, 1879).

In the present study, comments are proposed on historical aspects of the most conspicuous scorpion species of the genus Tityus found in Brazil. Both Tityus bahiensis (Perty) and Tityus serrulatus Lutz & Mello are better known for their infamous reputation of noxious species. However, the original discovery and description of both species are associated with interesting historical episodes. A short comment is also provided on Tityus costatus (Karsch), the species possibly involved in the first record of a scorpion incident in Brazil.

Lourenco WR. What do we know about some of the most conspicuous scorpion species of the genus Tityus? A historical approach. J Venom Anim Toxins Incl Trop Dis. 2015;21:20. [Open Access]

Thanks to professor Lourenco for sending me his article!

12 June, 2015

Medical important scorpions in Western Brazilian Amazon

It is well known that scorpions are a major public health problem in many regions of Brazil, but inside Brazil this problem have partly been neglected. But with with an increasing number of sting registrations every year in the country and 78,091 cases reported in 2013, it is important with quality research identifying dangerous species and risk factors.

Amanda M. Queiroz and co-workers have now published a case-controlled study analysis the severity of scorpion stings in Western Brazilian Amazon. Dangerous species are Tityus obscurus (Gervais, 1843), T. metuendus Pocock, 1897 and T. silvestris Pocock, 1897 (family Buthidae). Six deaths were registered and the main conclusion of the study is that scorpion stings showed a extensive distribution in the Western Brazilian Amazon and represent a potential occupational health problem for rural populations in this region.


Queiroz AM, Sampaio VS, Mendonca I, Fe NF, Sachett J, Ferreira LC, et al. Severity of Scorpion Stings in the Western Brazilian Amazon: A Case-Control Study. PLoS One. 2015;10(6):e0128819. [Open Access]

11 June, 2015

Scorpions of the Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are famous for their animals and their impact on our knowledge on animal evolution. But there are also scorpions present on most of the islands in the Galapagos archipelago. Baert & Mahnert have recently published a paper on the scorpion (and other non-spider) fauna of the islands.

Two species are present: Centruroides exsul (Meise, 1934) (Buthidae) and Hadruroides galapagoensis Maury 1975 (Carabotonidae).

The geographic and ecological distribution of the arachnid species belonging to the Amblypygi (Charinus insularis Banks, 1902), the Opiliones (Galanomma microphthalma Juberthie, 1970), the Schizomida (Schizomus portoricensis (Chamberlin, 1922)), the Scorpiones (Centruroides exsul (Meise, 1934) and Hadruroides galapagoensis Maury, 1975), the Solifugae (Neocleobis solitarius (Banks, 1902)) and 25 species of Pseudoscorpiones from the Galàpagos are described. Only the schizomid Schizomus portoricensis and the pseudoscorpions Paratemnoides nidificator (Balzan, 1888), Lechytia chthoniiformis (Balzan, 1887), Aphelolpium cayanum Muchmore, 1979, and Aphelolpium longidigitatum (Ellingsen, 1910) occur also on the American mainland. The pseudoscorpion Withius piger (Simon,1878) is a cosmopolite species.

Baert L, Mahnert V. The distribution of the non‐araneae and non‐acari arachnids of Galápagos. Belgian Journal of Entomology. 2015;28:1-76. [Open Access]

Thanks to Rolando Teruel for sending me this article!

10 June, 2015

New species in the enigmatic genus Palaeocheloctonus from northern Madagascar

As many of you already know, Madagascar is a hotspot for scorpion diversity and endemism. Wilson Lourenco and Lucienne Wilme have now described a new species in the enigmatic genus Palaeocheloctonus Lourenco, 1996 (Hormuridae) in northern Madagascar, far from the locations known for the other species in the genus.

Palaeocheloctonus septentrionalis Lourenço & Wilme, 2015

The new species is an indication for a micro-endemic and vicariant population within Madagascar. 

A new scorpion species, Palaeocheloctonus septentrionalis sp.n., is described from the North of Madagascar. The new species clearly suggests a new case of micro-endemic and vicariant population within the island. The number of Palaeocheloctonus species in Madagascar is now increased to two and the known geographical distribution of the genus is extended within that great island, but remains strongly disrupted.

Lourenco WR, Wilme L. Micro-endemic populations of Palaeocheloctonus Lourenço, 1996 (Scorpiones: Hormuridae) in Madagascar: A new case of vicariance among Malagasy scorpions. Arthropoda Selecta. 2015;24(2):189-95. [Open Access]

Thanks to professor Lourenco for sending me this paper!

Family Hormuridae

05 June, 2015

A new species of Diplocentrus from Honduras

Kevin Sagastume-Espinoza and co-workers have recently published a new species of Diplocentrus Peters, 1861 (Scorpionidae) from Cayos Cochinos in north Honduras, and from a nearby island locality of Utila.

Diplocentrus insularis Sagastume-Espinoza, Longhorn & Santibanez-Lopez, 2015

 An identification key for the genus in Honduras is included.

Three species of genus Diplocentrus are found in north-northwestern Honduras. These species represent the southern east limits of Diplocentrus’ distribution. In recent years, a broad survey of arachnids in Honduras has yielded a collection of several specimens of an undescribed species from two islands in northern Honduras. This new species represents the second species of the genus inhabiting an island. The present contribution describes this new species, and compares it against its most similar relatives. A dichotomous key for the identification of the species of Diplocentrus in Honduras is also included.

Sagastume-Espinoza KO, Longhorn SJ, Santibanez-Lopez CE. A new scorpion species of genus Diplocentrus Peters, 1861 (Scorpiones: Diplocentridae) endemic to Islas de la Bahia, Honduras. C R Biol. 2015 May 27. [Subscription required for full text]

Family Scorpionidae

04 June, 2015

Redescription of the male Protoiurus kadleci

When Protoiurus kadleci (Kovarik, Fet, Soleglad & Yagmur, 2010) (Iuridae) was originally described, the authors thought that they were describing a sexual mature adult. Yagmur and co-workers have now examined more males, and concluded that the original male described was subadult. In the new article, sexually mature males and their hemispermatophores are described.

An updated identification key for the genus is also presented.

Additional material of a rare scorpion species Protoiurus kadleci (Kovařík et al., 2010) from Turkey (Antalya Province) was examined, in particular, sexually mature males. New information is presented on the morphometric differences between adult and subadult males of this species, and on the differences between P. kadleci and other species of Protoiurus. An updated diagnosis of P. kadleci is presented, as well as updated key to six species of Protoiurus, and a map showing all known localities.

Yagmur EA, Kovarik F, Fet V, Soleglad ME, Yesilyurt F. Etudes on iurids, IX. Further Analysis of a Rare Species Protoiurus kadleci (Scorpiones: Iuridae) from Turkey, Based on Adult Males. Euscorpius. 2015 (201):1-18. [Open Access]

Family Iuridae

Three new species of Hottentotta from Ethiopia

Frantisek Kovarik og Tomas Mazuch have published a new paper in their series of papers dealing with the scorpion fauna of Ethiopia. Their latest article focus on the genus Hottentotta Birula, 1908 (Buthidae), and three new species are described.

Hottentotta gambelaensis Kovarik, 2015
Hottentotta gibaensis Kovarik, 2015
Hottentotta novaki Kovarik, 2015

The article has color pictures of all Hottentotta species and their habitat. An identification key to the species in Ethiopia is also included.

Three new species H. gambelaensis Kovařík, sp. n., H. gibaensis Kovařík, sp. n. and H. novaki Kovařík, sp. n. from Ethiopia are described, compared with other species and fully illustrated with color photos of habitus and localities. Data about the distribution of Hottentotta in Ethiopia including photos of all seven known species and their Ethiopian localities are summarized.

Kovarik F, Mazuch T. Scorpions of Ethiopia (Arachnida: Scorpiones). Part III. Genus Hottentotta Birula, 1908 (Buthidae), with Description of Three New Species. Euscorpius. 2015 (202):1-37. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

03 June, 2015

A new study elevates several Scorpio maurus subspecies in Palestina and Israel to species status

Scorpio maurus Linneaus, 1758 (Scorpionidae) has been considered monotypic (one species) for almost a century, having at the most 19 recognized subspecies. In spite of a wide distribution in Africa and Asia and occurrence in different habitats, is has been very difficult to find taxonomical characteristics proving that Scorpio maurus in reality is a species complex with many hidden species. The opinion for many years has been that Scorpio maurus is a single, widespread, polymorphic species.

In 2009, Lourenco elevated several subspecies in North Africa to species status. Since them, other species have been described (Blog posts on Scorpio). Talal and co-workers have now published a very interesting study of the Scorpio maurus populations in Palestina and Israel, focusing especially on the two subspecies Scorpio maurus fuscus Ehrenberg, 1829 and Scorpio maurus palmatus Ehrenberg, 1829. The study revealed seven geographically-delimited clades of Scorpio maurus, corresponding to at least four currently recognized subspecies in their study area. Based on genetic, morphological and behavioral support, the authors elevate four subspecies to species status. The results presented support the theory that Scorpio maurus in reality is a species complex, comprising of multiple distinct phylogenetic, ecological and biological species.

Scorpio fuscus (Ehrenberg, 1829). Previously Scorpio maurus fuscus Ehrenberg, 1829.
Scorpio kruglovi (Ehrenberg, 1829). Previously Scorpio maurus kruglovi Ehrenberg, 1829.
Scorpio palmatus (Ehrenberg, 1829). Previously Scorpio maurus palmatus Ehrenberg, 1829.
Scorpio propinquus (Simon, 1872). Previously Scorpio maurus propinquus Simon, 1872.

 Check the article for information about the distribution of the new species.

Scorpio Linnaeus, 1758 (family Scorpionidae Latreille, 1802) was considered monotypic for over a century, and comprised a single species, Scorpio maurus Linnaeus, 1758, with 19 subspecies, distributed fromWest Africa, throughout the Maghreb and the Middle East, to Iran. Two parapatric subspecies, Scorpio maurus fuscus (Ehrenberg, 1829) and Scorpio maurus palmatus (Ehrenberg, 1828), have long been recognized in Israel.We examined morphological variation, burrow architecture and genetic divergence among 39 populations across the distribution of the two subspecies to assess whether they are conspecific and, if not, how many species might be involved. Cuticle coloration, pedipalp chela digital carina condition, and selectedmeasurements were recorded. Sixty burrows were excavated and examined for burrow structure and depth. A multilocus dataset comprising concatenated fragments of one nuclear (28S rDNA) and three mitochondrial (12S rDNA, 16S rDNA, Cytochrome c Oxidase Subunit I) loci, totaling ca. 2400 base-pairs, was produced for individuals, and a single-locus dataset comprising 658 base-pairs of the COI locus for 156 individuals. Despite overlapping ranges in morphometric characters of pedipalp chela shape, the putative subspecies were easily distinguished by cuticle coloration and condition of the pedipalp chela digital carina, and were also found to differ significantly in burrow architecture and depth. Phylogeographical analyses of the COI and multilocus datasets recovered seven distinct clades. Separate analyses of mitochondrial sequences, and combined analyses of mitochondrial and nuclear sequences support most clades. The two major clades corresponded with the geographical distributions of S. m. fuscus and S. m. palmatus in the region. Specimens from these clades were genetically distinct, and exhibited different burrow structure in geographically-proximate localities, suggesting reproductive isolation. The palmatus clade included two distinct subclades of specimens from localities adjacent to the Dead Sea. Three other clades, comprising specimens from the most northeastern localities, were tentatively assigned to subspecies previously recorded in neighboring Jordan and Syria. The morphological, behavioral and genetic evidence supports previous suggestions that Scorpio maurus is a species complex and justifies the following taxonomic emendations: Scorpio fuscus (Ehrenberg, 1829), stat. nov.; Scorpio kruglovi (Ehrenberg, 1829), stat. nov.; Scorpio palmatus (Ehrenberg, 1828), stat. nov.; Scorpio propinquus (Simon, 1872), stat. nov.

Talal S, Tesler I, Sivan J, Ben-Shlomo R, Muhammad Tahir H, Prendini L, et al. Scorpion speciation in the Holy Land: Multilocus phylogeography corroborates diagnostic differences in morphology and burrowing behavior among Scorpio subspecies and justifies recognition as phylogenetic, ecological and biological species. Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2015 May 15.[Subscription required for full text]

Family Scorpionidae

02 June, 2015

New species in the enigmatic genus Belisarius from Spain

The troglomorphic genus Belisarius Simon, 1879 (Troglotayosicidae) with one species, has so far only been known from limited areas in the southeastern Pyrenees in France and in Cataluña in Spain. Professor Wilson Lourenco has now revealed the existence of another species in Sierra de las
Nieves (Malaga Province) in southern Spain.

Belisarius ibericus Lourenco, 2015

The occurrence of a new species in this enigmatic genus this far away from the previously known locations is discussed.

Intensive investigation in the collections of the Natural History Museum in Paris led to the location of the original specimens of Belisarius xambeui described by Euge`ne Simon (Simon No. 2675) from the Territoire de Conat in the Pyre´ne´ es-Orientales, France. The two females registered under No. 2675 are now considered as the holotype and paratype of B. xambeui. This investigation on the Belisarius material also led to the discovery of another interesting specimen collected by J. Malhomme in the ‘‘Sierra de las Nieves’’ in the south of Spain. This specimen is described herein as a new species. Comments are also proposed on the mesic environmental conditions, which prevails in ‘‘Sierra de las Nieves’’ region, and on the possible palaeoclimatic events that resulted in the present disrupted distribution of the genus Belisarius.

Lourenco WR. The genus Belisarius Simon, 1879 (Scorpiones: Troglotayosicidae), with the description of a new vicariant species from the south of Spain. Comptes Rendus - Biologies. 2015;338:362-7. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Rolando Teruel for sending me this article!

Family Troglotayosicidae

New Euscorpius species from Southern Bulgaria

The scorpion fauna in Bulgaria is under investigation and in a recent paper Tropea and co-workers present a new species in the genus Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 (Euscorpiidae) from the Western Rhodope Mts. in southern Bulgaria.

Euscorpius drenskii Tropea, Fet, Parmakelis, Kotsakiozi & Stathi, 2015

A special combination of characters has not made it possible to assign the new species to any of the established subgenera.

A new scorpion species, Euscorpius drenskii sp. nov., is described from the Western Rhodope Mts. in southern Bulgaria. It is characterized by an oligotrichous trichobothrial pattern, which shows a conspicuous loss of one trichobothrium in the external median patellar series (em = 3), also observed in E. carpathicus (Linnaeus, 1767) and the subgenus Alpiscorpius Gantenbein, Fet, Largiadèr & Scholl, 1999. Phylogenetic analysis of 16S rDNA marker sequences does not show any close relationship between these three groups, suggesting that the observed loss of a trichobothrium is an independent event.

Tropea G, Fet V, Parmakelis A, Kotsakiozi P, Stathi I. A new species of Euscorpius (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae) from southern Bulgaria. Arachnologische Mitteilungen. 2015;49:10-20. [Open access]

Thanks to professor Victor Fet and Gioele Tropea for sending me the new article!

Family Euscorpiidae