27 February, 2017

Heteronebo news from Cuba

Rolando Teruel and Tomás M. Rodríguez-Cabrera have recently published an article presenting the first findings of the genus Heteronebo Pocock, 1899 (Scorpionidae) on Isla de Pinos, southwestern Cuba.

After investigation of Henetonebo materials from Cuba, Heteronebo morenoi (Armas, 1973) is raised to species status (previous status Heteronebo bermudezi morenoi (Armas, 1973)). Both H. morenoi (Armas, 1973) and H. bermudezi (Moreno, 1938) will be more thoroughly described in a forthcomming paper.

The diplocentrine scorpion genus Heteronebo Pocock, 1899 is recorded herein for the first time from Isla de Pinos, southwestern Cuba. A total of 15 specimens of Heteronebo bermudezi (Moreno, 1938) were collected in two nearby localities of the southern coast of the island, where it occurs in exactly the same habitat previously known for this species in Guanahacabibes Peninsula and two cays of Canarreos Archipelago. The allegedly polytypic status of this species is also revised and full species rank is restored to the subspecies Heteronebo bermudezi morenoi (Armas, 1973). An updated distribution map of H. bermudezi is provided.

Teruel R, Rodriguez-Cabrera TM. The Missing Piece of the Puzzle Solved: Heteronebo Pocock, 1899 (Scorpiones: Scorpionidae) Occurs at Isla de Pinos, Cuba. Euscorpius. 2017(240):1-4. [Open Access]

Family Scorpionidae

21 February, 2017

A new Hottentotta species from India

Kuruppalath Aswathi and co-workers have recently described a new species of Hottentotta Birula, 1908 (Buthidae) from the Kerala region in India.

Hottentotta keralaensis Aswhati, Sureshan & Lourenço, 2016

A new species of scorpion, Hottentotta keralaensis sp. n. is described. The type material was collected in a Thorn Scrub forest, a part of Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary. The description of the new species raised the total number of Hottentotta Birula, 1908 species into two in the Kerala state, South of India.

Aswhati K, Sureshan PM, Lourenço WR. One more new species of Hottentotta Birula, 1908 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from the State of Kerala in South of India. Aracnida - Rivista Arachnologica Italiana. 2016;2(10):34-44.

Thanks to Kuruppalath Aswathi for sending me their paper!

Family Buthidae

16 February, 2017

New study suggest that the widely distributed Aussi scorpion Urodacus yaschenkoi is a species complex

Australian scorpions have received less attention that scorpions from other continents. Karen Luna-Ramirez and co-workers have recently published a study of the widely distributed scorpion Urodacus yaschenko (Birula, 1903) (Scorpionidae). Both genetic and morphological data suggest that U. yaschenkoi is a species complex, consisting of three or more species. More specimens from different areas should be studied and a revision of the species should be made in the future before final conclusions can be made.

Background. Australian scorpions have received far less attention from researchers than their overseas counterparts. Here we provide the first insight into the molecular variation and evolutionary history of the endemic Australian scorpion Urodacus yaschenkoi. Also known as the inland robust scorpion, it is widely distributed throughout arid zones of the continent and is emerging as a model organism in biomedical research due to the chemical nature of its venom.

Methods. We employed Bayesian Inference (BI) methods for the phylogenetic reconstructions and divergence dating among lineages, using unique haplotype sequences from two mitochondrial loci (COXI, 16S) and one nuclear locus (28S). We also
implemented two DNA taxonomy approaches (GMYC and PTP/dPTP) to evaluate the presence of cryptic species. Linear Discriminant Analysis was used to test whether the linear combination of 21 variables (ratios of morphological measurements) can predict individual's membership to a putative species.

Results. Genetic and morphological data suggest that U. yaschenkoi is a species complex. High statistical support for the monophyly of several divergent lineages was found both at the mitochondrial loci and at a nuclear locus. The extent of mitochondrial divergence between these lineages exceeds estimates of interspecific divergence reported for other scorpion groups. The GMYC model and the PTP/bPTP approach identified major lineages and several sub-lineages as putative species. Ratios of several traits that approximate body shape had a strong predictive power (83 100%) in discriminating
two major molecular lineages. A time-calibrated phylogeny dates the early divergence at the onset of continental-wide aridification in late Miocene and Pliocene, with finer-scale phylogeographic patterns emerging during the Pleistocene. This structuring dynamics is congruent with the diversification history of other fauna of the Australian arid zones.

Discussion. Our results indicate that the taxonomic status of U. yaschenkoi requires revision, and we provide recommendations for such future efforts. A complex evolutionary history and extensive diversity highlights the importance of conserving U. yaschenkoi populations from different Australian arid zones in order to preserve patterns of endemism and evolutionary potential.

Luna-Ramirez K, Miller AD, Rasic G. Genetic and morphological analyses indicate that the Australian endemic scorpion Urodacus yaschenkoi (Scorpiones: Urodacidae) is a species complex. PeerJ. 2017;5:e2759. [Open Access]

A scorpion from Guatemala on a visit to England

Scorpions sneaking into luggage, goods etc. and ending up as stowaways in non-scorpion countries is quite common. Several cases have been documented in journals and newspapers. A recent case from England was published by Rony E. Trujillo and co-workers. In this case, a female Centruroides thorellii (Kraepelin, 1891) (Buthidae) from Guatemala was found in the luggage of a family in England (that recently had visited Guatemala).

We recorded a pregnant female of the Central American bark stripped scorpion Centruroides thorellii (Kraepelin, 1891), which arrived to England as a stowaway in the bag of a woman that previously visited the Departments of Sacatepéquez, Sololá and San Marcos, Guatemala. On January 2, this C. thorellii female had a litter of three off-spring and three infertile eggs, but she has eaten them, probably as consequence of the stress caused by the hard travel and the environmental changes. We provide a map with the geographical distribution of this species and photos of the female detected in a British train.

Trujillo RE, De Armas LF, Mansfield D. Centruroides thorellii (Scorpiones: Buthidae): Traveling from Guatemala to England Without a Passport. Euscorpius. 2017(239):1-4. [Open Access]

Thanks to Rony E. Trujillo for sending me his paper!

09 February, 2017

A major review of the genus Pandinus Sensu Lato and new species from the Horn of Africa

In the last years several there have been several studies on the genus Pandinus Sensu Lato and several new genera and species have been described. In October, 2016, Lorenzo Prendini published an review article, trying to sort out the situation for Pandinus Sensu Lato and criticized some of the previous work on this taxa.

In a recent article in the series "Scorpions of the Horn of Africa", Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers follow up on Prendini's criticism and present a new taxonomy for Pandinus Sensu Lato based on new materials from the Horn of Africa. This is a major review with many taxonomical changes and four new species. This is the main taxonomical conclusions of this article:

New species/status:

Pandiborellius Rossi, 2015 - Raised from subgenus status.
Pandiborellius awashensis (Kovarik, 2012) - Previous status Pandinus awashensis Kovarik, 2012.
Pandiborellius igdu Kovarik, Lowe, Soleglad & Pliskova, 2017 - New species from Ethiopia.
Pandiborellius insularis Kovarik, Lowe, Soleglad & Pliskova, 2017 - New species from Eritrea.
Pandiborellius lanzai (Rossi 2015) - Previous status Pandinus lanzai Rossi 2015.
Pandiborellius magretti (Borelli, 1901) - Previous status Pandinus magretti (Borelli, 1901).
Pandiborellius meidensis (Karsch, 1879) - Previous status Pandinurus meidensis (Karsch, 1879).
Pandiborellius nistriae (Rossi, 2014) - Previous status Pandinurus nistrae (Rossi, 2014).
Pandiborellius percivali (Pocock, 1902) - Previous status Pandinurus percivali (Pocock, 1902).
Pandiborellius somalilandus (Kovarik, 2012) - Previous status Pandinurus somalilandus (Kovarik, 2012).

Pandinopsis Vachon, 1974 - Returned to subgenus status in Pandinus (Thorell, 1876).

Pandinurus afar Kovarik, Lowe, Soleglad & Pliskova, 2017 - New species from Ethiopia.
Pandinurus citernii (Borelli, 1919) - Restored from synonymy with P. phillipsii (Pocock, 1896).
Pandinurus intermedius (Borelli, 1919) - Restored from synonymy with P. phillipsii (Pocock, 1896).
Pandinurus mazuchi (Kovarik, 2011) - Previous status Pandinus mazuchi Kovarik, 2011.
Pandinurus oromo Kovarik, Lowe, Soleglad & Pliskova, 2017 - New species from Ethiopia.
Pandinurus phillipsii (Poocock, 1896) - Restored from synonymy.
Pandinurus smithi (Pocock, 1897) - Previous status Pandinus smithi (Pocock, 1897).
Pandinurus trailini (Kovarik, 2013) - Previous status Pandinus trailini Kovarik, 2013.

Pandinus dictator (Pocock, 1888) - Previous status  Pandinopsis dictator (Pocock, 1888).
Pandinus lowei Kovarik, 2012 - Previous status  Pandinurus lowei (Kovarik, 2012).
Pandinus viatoris (Pocock, 1890) - Previous status  Pandinurus viatoris (Pocock, 1890).


Pandinurus bottegoi Rossi 2015 - Synonymized with Pandinurus platycheles (Werner, 1916). 
Pandinurus cianferonii Rossi 2015 - Synonymized with Pandinurus pallidus (Kraepelin, 1894).
Pandinurus riccardoi Rossi 2015 - Synonymized with Pandinurus platycheles (Werner, 1916).
Pandinus sabbadinii Rossi 2015 - Synonymized with Pandiborellius magretti (Borelli, 1901).
Pandinurus vachoni Rossi 2014 - Synonymized with Pandinurus sudanicus (Hirst, 1911). 

The article also present several identification keys and also high quality photos of both species and habitats.

We introduce a new system of classification for the subfamily Scorpioninae Latreille, 1802 which includes genera Heterometrus Ehrenberg, 1828, Opistophthalmus C. L. Koch, 1837, Pandiborellius Rossi, 2015 stat. n., Pandinoides Fet, 1997, Pandinops Birula, 1913, Pandinurus Fet, 1997, Pandinus (Pandinus) Thorell, 1876, Pandinus (Pandinopsis) Vachon, 1974 stat. n., Pandinus (Pandipalpus) Rossi, 2015 stat. n., and Scorpio Linné, 1758. We provide a checklist of 41 valid species and their synonyms of Pandinus sensu lato. We revise Horn of Africa genera Pandiborellius stat. n. and Pandinurus; all species are fully complemented with color photos of live and preserved specimens, as well as their habitat. Included are morphological keys to the subfamily Scorpioninae and genera Pandiborellius stat. n. and Pandinurus. Several new characters in trichobothrial pattern, granulation of pedipalp movable and fixed fingers and spiniform formula of tarsomeres of legs are used and discussed. Described herein are Pandiborellius igdu sp. n. from Ethiopia, Pandiborellius insularis sp. n. from Eritrea, Pandinurus afar sp. n. from Ethiopia, and Pandinurus oromo sp. n. from Ethiopia. Pandinurus citernii (Borelli, 1919) comb. n. and Pandinurus intermedius (Borelli, 1919) comb. n. are restored from synonymy. Pandinurus (Pandipavesius) Rossi, 2015 is synonymized with Pandiborellius Rossi, 2015 stat. n.; Pandinus (Pandinoirens) Rossi, 2015 is synonymized with Pandinurus Fet, 1997; Pandinurus (Pandiborellius) sabbadinii Rossi, 2015 is synonymized with Pandiborellius magrettii (Borelli, 1901) comb. n.; Pandinurus (Pandinurus) cianferonii Rossi, 2015 is synonymized with Pandinurus pallidus (Kraepelin, 1894); Pandinus (Pandinoirens) riccardoi Rossi, 2015 and Pandinus (Pandinoirens) bottegoi Rossi, 2015 are synonymized with Pandinurus platycheles (Werner, 1916); Pandinus (Pandinurus) vachoni Rossi, 2014 is synonymized with Pandinurus sudanicus (Hirst, 1911); and Pandinurus (Pandipalpus) pygmaeus Rossi, 2015 is synonymized with Pandinus (Pandipalpus) lowei Kovařík, 2012 comb. n.. Hemispermatophores of Pandiborellius insularis sp. n., Pandinurus afar sp. n. and Pandinurus oromo sp. n are illustrated and described, and morphology of Pandinus sensu lato hemispermatophores is discussed.

Kovarik F, Lowe G, Soleglad ME, Pliskova J. Scorpions of the Horn of Africa (Arachnida: Scorpiones). Part X. Pandiborellius stat. n. and Pandinurus (Scorpionidae) with Description of Four New Species from Eritrea and Ethiopia, and Review of Pandinus Sensu Lato Taxonomy. Euscorpius. 2017(238):1-103. [Open Access]

Family Scorpionidae