23 February, 2016

The book "Fauna of India - Scorpions" is now available online


Tikader and Bastawade's major work on Indian scorpions, Fauna of India - Scorpions, is now freely available online. This major book was published in 1983, and has detailed, comprehensive descriptions and information about the species of scorpions known from India at that time.The book has been made available online by The Zoological Survey of India.

Since the publication of this book, the scorpion fauna of India has been updated, and also many taxonomical changes have been made. But the book is still an important source of information for those interested in India's interesting scorpion fauna.

Fauna of India - Scorpions online [Open Access ]

The whole series Fauna of India is also available online.

Tikader BK, Bastawade DB. Fauna of India. Scorpions. Calcutta: Zoological Survey of India; 1983. 670 p.

Thanks to Zeeshan Mirza for informing me about the online publishing of the Fauna of India!

19 February, 2016

Two new species in the "micro-scorpion" genus Chaneke from Mexico

Very small scorpion species are often informally referred to as "micro-scorpions". Many of these species have been hidden previously because of their size and habitat (e.g. leaf litter). Modern sampling techniques using UV-light have revealed many of these small and rare species in the last years.

Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers have recently described two new species in the "micro-scorpion" genus Chaneke Francke, Teruel & Santibanez-Lopez, 2014 (Buthidae) from Mexico.

Chaneke baldazoi Kovarik, Teruel & Lowe, 2016

Chaneke hofereki Kovarik, Teruel & Lowe, 2016

Herein we describe two new species of the recently discovered buthid scorpion genus Chaneke Francke, Teruel et Santibáñez-López, 2014. Both are from Oaxaca State in southern Mexico: Chaneke hofereki sp. n. based upon adults of both sexes from a single coastal locality, and Chaneke baldazoi sp. n. based upon adult females and juveniles from a mountain site in the Sierra Madre. Additional information is given on their taxonomy, distribution, ecology, and reproductive biology, fully complemented with color photos of live and preserved specimens, and their habitat.

Kovarik F, Teruel R, Lowe G. Two New Scorpions of the Genus Chaneke Francke, Teruel et Santibáñez-López, 2014 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Southern Mexico. Euscorpius. 2016 (218):1-20. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

12 February, 2016

An update on scorpionism in Ecuador

Previously it has been assumed that Ecuadorian scorpions have had low public health importance, but a study published by Adolfo Borges and co-workers late last year present several severe and fatal sting cases from Ecuador. The species involved in the serious cases was Tityus asthenes Pocock, 1893 (Buthidae).

The presence in rural areas of western Ecuador of scorpions in the genus Tityus capable of producing pediatric mortality is hereby evidenced. The medical significance of scorpions in Ecuador has been underestimated partly because of the clinically unimportant stings delivered by Centruroides margaritatus and Teuthraustes atramentarius, which have venom with low toxicity to vertebrates. Five intradomiciliary cases of scorpion envenoming in victims aged between 1.9 and 16 years old, including one fatality, are reported from rural settings in forest areas of Chone (n ¼ 2) and Flavio Alfaro (n ¼ 3) counties, northern Manabí province, western Ecuador. Three cases were graded as Class II (moderate) and two in Class III (severe) envenoming. Manifestations showed characteristic autonomic nervous system hyper-stimulation and the fatality (a 1.9-year-old boy from Flavio Alfaro) was due to cardiorespiratory failure. Marked leukocytosis in four of the cases (21,800e31,800 cells/mm3), with notable neutrophilia (58e82%), suggests induction of a venom-mediated systemic inflammatory response-like syndrome. Specimens responsible for cases in Flavio Alfaro County, including the fatality, were classified as Tityus asthenes Pocock, accountable for severe scorpionism in Colombia. These findings demand implementation of control and therapeutic measures in affected areas in Ecuador, including evaluation of available scorpion antivenoms.

Borges A, Morales M, Loor W, Delgado M. Scorpionism in Ecuador: First report of severe and fatal envenoming cases from northern Manabí by Tityus asthenes Pocock. Toxicon. 2015;105:56-61. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks a lot to Dr. Borges for sending me his article!

09 February, 2016

DNA barcoding indicates hidden diversity of Euscorpius in Turkey

For many years, only two species of Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 (Euscorpiidae) were reported from Turkey. Today, we list 12 valid species from Turkey. Victor Fet and co-workers have now published an article were they have studied the phylogenetic relationships of some additional Anatolian Euscorpius populations using molecular markers. The results confirm the validity of several existing species (previously only described by morphological methods), but also show the presence of undescribed taxonomic forms, possibly of species level.

The Anatolian fauna of the genus Euscorpius (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae) is in the process of reassessment. Twelve species of this genus are currently recognized for Anatolia, of which seven have been recently described on the basis of morphology. We demonstrate additional cryptic diversity in Anatolian Euscorpius by applying molecular markers (mitochondrial COI and 16S rDNA genes) from 14 populations, of which 13 were morphologically characterized by “em=3,” a phenotypic marker on the pedipalp patella. All studied Anatolian forms are strongly supported as a single clade compared to the European (from the Alps to the Balkans) taxa of the subgenus Alpiscorpius. Of these, six are assigned to known species (E. ciliciensis, E. mingrelicus, E. eskisehirensis, E. phrygius, and E. uludagensis); and two (Ankara and Sakarya) are closely related to a clade containing E. phrygius and E. uludagensis. Four clades represent undescribed taxonomic forms, possibly of species level: Balikesir/Canakkale (Kazdağları National Park), Konya, Denizli, and Trabzon, all with em=3. Another putative species from Kayseri Province, Aladağlar (=Antitaurus) Mts., is related to (E. ciliciensis + E. eskisehirensis) clade; however, it exhibits em=4, which appears to be the first case of reversal in this important trait for the genus Euscorpius.

Fet V, Graham MR, Blagoev G, Karatas A, Karatas A. DNA Barcoding Indicates Hidden Diversity of Euscorpius (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae) in Turkey. Euscorpius. 2016 (216):1-12. [Open Access]

Family Euscorpiidae

08 February, 2016

A checklist of the scorpions in the collections of the National Museum of Natural History (Sofia, Bulgaria)

Frantisek Kovarik and Petar Beron have recently published an article summing up the results after investigating and identifiying the scorpions deposited in the collection of NMNH (Sofia, Bulgaria).

The scorpions deposited in the collection of NMNH (Sofia) are identified and revised. The collection contains 61 species of 34 genera and ten families (Bothriuridae, Buthidae, Chaerilidae, Diplocentridae, Euscorpiidae, Liochelidae, Iuridae, Caraboctonidae, Scorpionidae, and Vaejovidae), incl. the holotype and paratypes of Euscorpius deltshevi, the holotype and paratypes of Euscorpius drenskii, the holotype and paratypes of Euscorpius popovi Tropea et al., paratype of Chaerilus tyznai Kov., holotype and paratype of E. beroni Fet, 2000, topotypes of Butheoloides charlotteae Lourenço, 2000 and specimens of the recently described Euscorpiops problematicus (Kovařík, 2000). They were collected mostly by P. Beron and identified mostly by F. Kovařík and V. Fet and come from 34 countries: Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Romania, Greece, Montenegro, Turkey, Italy (incl. Sardinia), France (incl. Corsica), USA, Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Nigeria, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Indonesia, Iran, China (incl. Tibet), Malaysia, Nepal, Thailand, Afghanistan and Papua New Guinea.

Kovarik F, Beron P. A checklist of the scorpions (Arachnida, Scorpiones) in the collections of the National Museum of Natural History (Sofia). Historia Naturalis Bulgarica. 2015;22:37-44.

Thanks to Frantisek Kovarik and Petar Beron for sending me this article!

05 February, 2016

An analysis of the genus Uroplectes in Ethiopia

Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers have recently published an article discussing the status of Uroplectes Peters, 1861 and Uroplectoides Lourenco, 1998 (Buthidae) in Ethiopia. Based on new analysis and new materials, the following main conclusions have been made:

Uroplectoides Lourenco, 1998 is synonymized with Uroplectes Peters, 1861.

Uroplectoides abyssinicus Lourenco, 1998 is synonymized with Uroplectes fischeri (Karsch, 1879).

Uroplectoides emiliae  (Werner, 1916) is changed to Uroplectes emiliae (Werner, 1916)

All data about the distribution of Uroplectes fischeri (Karsch, 1879) in Ethiopia and Somalia are summarized. U. fischeri is fully illustrated with color photos of habitus and locality. Uroplectoides abyssinicus Lourenço, 1998 is discussed and synonymized with U. fischeri. Genus Uroplectoides Lourenço, 1998 is synonymized with Uroplectes Peters, 1861. Hemispermatophore of U. fischeri was extracted and illustrated for the first time. In addition to mor-phological analysis we also describe the karyotype of male U. fischeri from Ethiopia (2n=28).

Kovarik F, Lowe G, Hoferek D, Pliskova J, Stahlavsky F. Scorpions of Ethiopia. Part IV. Genus Uroplectes Peters, 1861 (Scorpiones : Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2016 (217):1-14. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae