20 November, 2020

A new species of Pandinurus from Somaliland and a couple of restored species from synonymization


 Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers recently published an article with the description of a new species of Pandinurus Fet, 1997 (Scorpionidae) from Somaliland.

Pandinurus awalei Kovarik, Lowe & Elmi, 2020

The authors also discuss a couple of the synonymizations done by Prendini & Loria (2020) in their recent revision of parts of the family Scorpionidae. Their conclusion is that Pandinurus intermedius (Borelli, 1919) is restored from synonymy with Pandinurus citernii (Borelli, 1919) and Pandipalpus lowei (Kovařík, 2012) is restored from synonymy with Pandipalpus viatoris (Pocock, 1890).

Abstract:
A new species Pandinurus awalei sp. n. is described from Somaliland. The male of Pandiborellius somalilandus (Kovařík, 2012) is also described for the first time and sexual dimorphism of the species is defined. The habitus, morphology and habitats of both species are illustrated in detail with color and UV fluorescence images, including both live and preserved specimens. The species Pandinurus intermedius (Borelli, 1919) and Pandipalpus lowei (Kovařík, 2012) of Pandininae that were synonymized by Prendini & Loria (2020) are reinstated as valid species.

Reference:
Kovarik F, Lowe G, Elmi HSA. Scorpions of the Horn of Africa (Arachnida: Scorpiones). Part XXV. Description of Pandinurus awalei sp. n. and the male of Pandiborellius somalilandus (Kovařík, 2012), with remarks on recent synonymies (Scorpionidae: Pandininae). Euscorpius. 2020(322):1-21. [Open Access]

Family Scorpionidae

 

18 November, 2020

Systematic revision of the Asian Forest Scorpions (Heterometrinae simon, 1879) with many taxonomical changes in the family Scorpionidae

 


As I posted in a previous blog post, Lorenzo Prendini and Stephanie Loria published a huge systematic revision of the Asian Forest Scorpions (Heterometrinae Simon, 1879) in October. This revision is mainly focused on the genus Heterometrus Ehrenberg, 1828  which is split into several new genera, but has also taxonomical decisions for other taxa in Scorpionidae.

Here are some of the main higlights from this impressive work.

Rugodentidae Bastawade et al., 2005 is raised to family status (from subfamily status) including the genus Rugodentus Bastawade et al., 2005.



Pandinopsis Vachon, 1974. Raised to genus status.



Pandipalpus Rossi, 2015. Raised to family status.


Chersonesometrus Couzijn, 1978. Raised to genus status.

Chersonesometrus bastawadei
Prendini & Loria, 2020. New species from India.

Chersonesometrus hendersoni
Prendini & Loria, 2020. New species from India.

Chersonesometrus nathanorum Prendini & Loria, 2020. New species from India.

Chersonesometrus shivashankari Prendini & Loria, 2020. New species from India.



Deccanometrus Prendini & Loria, 2020. New genus.

Deccanometrus obscurus
(Couzijn, 1981). Raised to species status.


Gigantometrus Couzijn, 1978. Raised to genus status.



Javanimetrus Couzijn, 1981. Raised to genus status.



Sahyadrimetrus Prendini & Loria, 2020. New genus.

Sahyadrimetrus mathewi Prendini & Loria, 2020. New species from India.

Sahyadrimetrus rugosus (Couzijn, 1981). Raised to species status.

Sahyadrimetrus tikaderi Prendini & Loria, 2020. New species from India.



Srilankametrus Couzijn, 1981. Raised to genus status.

Srilankametrus couzijni
Prendini & Loria, 2020. New species from India.

Srilankametrus pococki Prendini & Loria, 2020. New species from Sri Lanka.

There are also several new combinations (species transferred from Heterometrus to one of the new genera) and synonymizations for many species in this article. I will refer to the abstract and appendix 4 (p. 479) in the article for a list of these as it will be too extensive  to list all of these here. Also check out the Scorpionidae family page to see the alle the new taxa and their content.

The article has several identification key for the relevant taxa in Scorpionidae.

Abstract:
[Due to lack of time I have omitted italics for species and genus names as this had to be done manually]
The genera and species of the Asian forest scorpions (Scorpionidae Latreille, 1802) are revised  based on a phylogenetic analysis of 186 morphological characters and 4188 base pairs of concatenated DNA sequence from three mitochondrial loci and two nuclear loci. Revision of the Asian  scorpionids required a critical reappraisal of the suprageneric classification of Scorpionidae, on  the basis of which the monotypic Indian scorpionoid genus, Rugodentus Bastawade et al., 2005, stat.  rev., and its type species, Rugodentus keralaensis Bastawade et al., 2005, stat. rev., are  revalidated, and subfamily Rugodentinae Bastawade et al., 2005, revalidated and elevated to the  rank of fam- ily, Rugodentidae Bastawade et al., 2005, stat. nov. et stat. rev.; Heterometrinae  Simon, 1879, stat. nov., and Opistophthalminae Rossi, 2016, stat. nov., are elevated to the rank of  subfamily; Pandi­ nopsis Vachon, 1974, stat. nov., and Pandipalpus Rossi, 2015, stat. nov., are  elevated to the rank of genus, resulting in two new combinations: Pandinopsis dictator (Pocock,  1888), comb. nov., and Pandipalpus viatoris (Pocock, 1890), comb. nov.; and 10 new synonyms are  presented: Pandinopsini Rossi, 2016 = Pandininae Thorell, 1876, syn. nov.; Protophthalmini Rossi,  2016 = Opistoph- thalminae Rossi, 2016, syn. nov.; Protophthalmus Lawrence, 1969 = Opistophthalmus  C.L. Koch, 1837, syn. nov.; Pandinoides (Dunlopandinoides) Rossi, 2016 = Pandinoides Fet, 2000,  syn. nov.; Pandinurus (Pandicaporiaccous) Rossi, 2015 = Pandiborellius Rossi, 2015, syn. nov.;  Buthus defensor C.L. Koch, 1837 = Pandinurus gregoryi (Pocock, 1896), syn. nov.; Buthus heros C.L. Koch, 1837 = Pandinurus exitialis (Pocock, 1888), syn. nov.; Pandinus lowei Kovařík, 2012 = Pandipalpus viatoris  (Pocock, 1890), syn. nov.; Pandinurus (Pandipalpus) pygmaeus Rossi, 2015 = Pandipalpus viatoris  (Pocock, 1890), syn. nov.; Pandinus intermedius Borelli, 1919 = Pandinurus citernii (Borelli,  1919), syn. nov. The following revisions are implemented to the classification of the Asian forest scorpions (Heterometrinae). Three former subgenera of Heterometrus Ehrenberg, 1828 are revalidated  and elevated to the rank of genus: Chersonesometrus Couzijn, 1978, stat. nov. et stat. rev.;  Javanimetrus Couzijn, 1981, stat. nov. et stat. rev.; and Srilankametrus Couzijn, 1981, stat. nov.  et stat. rev. One subgenus is elevated to the rank of genus: Gigantometrus Couzijn, 1978, stat.  nov. Two new genera and eight new species are described: Deccanometrus, gen. nov.; Sahyadrimetrus,  gen. nov.; Cher­ sonesometrus bastawadei, sp. nov.; Chersonesometrus hendersoni, sp. nov.;  Chersonesometrus natha­ norum, sp. nov.; Chersonesometrus shivashankari, sp. nov.; Sahyadrimetrus mathewi, gen. et sp. nov.; Sahyadrimetrus tikaderi, gen. et sp. nov.; Srilankametrus couzijni, sp.  nov.; Srilankametrus pococki, sp. nov. Heterometrus sensu stricto is restricted to eight species of  the nominotypical subgenus, all other species, formerly placed in Heterometrus, are transferred to  appropriate genera, five species are revalidated, and two subspecies elevated to the rank of  species, resulting in 28 new combinations: Chersonesometrus beccaloniae (Kovařík, 2004), comb.  nov.; Chersonesometrus fulvipes (C.L. Koch, 1837), comb. nov.; Chersonesometrus madraspatensis  (Pocock, 1900), comb. nov.; Chersonesometrus pelekomanus (Couzijn, 1981), comb. nov. et stat. rev.;  Chersonesometrus tristis (Henderson, 1919), comb. nov.; Chersonesometrus wroughtoni (Pocock, 1899),  comb. nov.; Deccanometrus bengalensis (C.L. Koch, 1841), comb. nov.; Deccanometrus latimanus  (Pocock, 1894), comb. nov.; Deccanometrus liurus (Pocock, 1897), comb. nov.; Deccanometrus obscurus  (Couzijn, 1981), comb. et stat. nov.; Dec­ canometrus phipsoni (Pocock, 1893), comb. nov.;  Deccanometrus ubicki (Kovařík, 2004), comb. nov.; Deccanometrus xanthopus (Pocock, 1897), comb.  nov.; Gigantometrus swammerdami (Simon, 1872), comb. nov.; Gigantometrus titanicus (Couzijn, 1981),  comb. nov. et stat. rev.; Heterometrus glaucus (Thorell, 1876), comb. nov. et stat. rev.;  Heterometrus laevigatus (Thorell, 1876), comb. nov. et stat. rev.; Heterometrus silenus (Simon,  1884), comb. nov. et stat. rev.; Javanimetrus cyaneus (C.L. Koch, 1836), comb. nov.; Sahyadrimetrus  barberi (Pocock, 1900), comb. nov.; Sahyadrimetrus kanarensis (Pocock, 1900), comb. nov.;  Sahyadrimetrus rugosus (Couzijn, 1981), comb. et stat. nov.; Sahyadrime­ trus scaber (Thorell,  1876), comb. nov.; Srilankametrus caesar (C.L. Koch, 1841), comb. nov. et stat. rev.;  Srilankametrus gravimanus (Pocock, 1894), comb. nov.; Srilankametrus indus (DeGeer, 1778), comb. nov.; Srilankametrus serratus (Pocock, 1900), comb. nov; Srilankametrus yaleensis (Kovařík et al., 2019), comb. nov. Twenty-seven new synonyms are presented: Scorpio leioderma Dufour, 856 = Sahyadrimetrus scaber (Thorell, 1876), syn. nov.; Palamnaeus costimanus var. β borneensis Thorell, 1876 = Heterometrus longimanus (Herbst, 1800), syn. nov.; Palamnaeus liophysa Thorell, 1888 = Heterometrus longimanus (Herbst, 1800), syn. nov.; Palamnaeus oatesii Pocock, 1900 = Heterometrus petersii (Thorell, 1876), syn. nov.; Palamnaeus swammerdami flavimanus Pocock, 1900 = Gigantometrus swammerdami (Simon, 1872), syn. nov.; Heterometrus liophysa var. madoerensis Kopstein, 1921 = Heterometrus glaucus (Thorell, 1876), syn. nov.; Heterometrus laevifrons Roewer, 1943 = Heterometrus glaucus (Thorell, 1876), syn. nov.; Heterometrus (Chersonesometrus) granulomanus Couzijn, 1981 = Srilankametrus caesar (C.L. Koch, 1841), syn. nov.; Heterometrus (Heterometrus) liophysa separatus Couzijn, 1981 = Heterometrus glaucus (Thorell, 1876), syn. nov.; Heterometrus (Heterometrus) liophysa spartanicus Couzijn, 1981 = Heterometrus glaucus (Thorell, 1876), syn. nov.; Heterometrus (Heterometrus) longimanus bengkalitensis Couzijn, 1981 = Heterometrus longimanus (Herbst, 1800), syn. nov.; Heterometrus (Heterometrus) longimanus marmoratus Couzijn, 1981 = Heterometrus longimanus (Herbst, 1800), syn. nov.; Heterometrus (Heterometrus) petersii mindanaensis Couzijn, 1981 = Heterometrus silenus (Simon, 1884), syn. nov.; Heterometrus (Heterometrus) spinifer solitarius Couzijn, 1981 = Heterometrus spinifer (Ehrenberg, 1828), syn. nov.; Heterometrus (Srilankametrus) indus laevitensus Couzijn, 1981 = Srilankametrus indus (DeGeer, 1778), syn. nov.; Heterometrus (Heterometrus) keralaensis Tikader and Bastawade, 1983 = Sahyadrimetrus rugosus (Couzijn, 1981), syn. nov.; Heterometrus cimrmani Kovařík, 2004 = Heterometrus laevigatus (Thorell, 1876), syn. nov.; Heterometrus mysorensis Kovařík, 2004 = Chersonesometrus tristis (Henderson, 1919), syn. nov.; Heterometrus nepalensis Kovařík, 2004 = Deccanometrus bengalensis (Pocock, 1900), syn. nov.; Heterometrus rolciki Kovařík, 2004 = Sahyadrimetrus scaber (Thorell, 1876), syn. nov.; Heterometrus sejnai Kovařík, 2004 = Javanimetrus cyaneus (C.L. Koch, 1836), syn. nov.; Heterometrus tibetanus Lourenço et al., 2005 = Deccanometrus bengalensis (Pocock, 1900), syn. nov.; Heterometrus liangi Zhu and Yang, 2007 = Heterometrus silenus (Simon, 1884), syn. nov.; Heterometrus telanganaensis Javed et al., 2010 = Deccanometrus xanthopus (Pocock, 1897), syn. nov.; Heterometrus atrascorpius Mirza et al., 2012 = Chersonesometrus beccaloniae (Kovařík, 2004), syn. nov.; Heterometrus minotaurus Plíšková et al., 2016 = Heterometrus laevigatus (Thorell, 1876), syn. nov.; Heterometrus bastawadei Rossi, 2016 = Rugodentus keralaensis Bastawade et al., 2005, syn. nov. Another 25 synonyms by previous authors are confirmed, for a total of 51 synonyms in subfamily Heterometrinae. Revised diagnoses with comparative images, and a key and distributional atlas of the genera and species are provided, along with a summary of available data for their ecology and conservation status, where applicable.

Reference:
Prendini L, Loria SF. Systematic revision of the Asian Forest Scorpions (Heterometrinae simon, 1879), revised suprageneric classification of Scorpionidae latreille, 1802, and revalidation of Rugodentidae Bastawade et al., 2005. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 2020(442):1-480. [Open Access]

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for sending me this article.

Family Scorpionidae

16 November, 2020

Two new species of Chaerilus from southern Asia

 

Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers have recently published an article describing two new species of Chaerilus Simon, 1877 (Chaerilidae) from Laos and Thailand.

Chaerilus kautti Kovarik, Lowe, Stockmann & Stahlavsky, 2020 (Thailand)

Chaerilus pulcherrimus Kovarik, Lowe, Stockmann & Stahlavsky, 2020 (Laos)

Abstract:
Chaerilus kautti sp. n. from Thailand and C. pulcherrimus sp. n. from Laos are described and fully illustrated with color photographs of live and preserved specimens. C. kautti sp. n. is characterized by the unique combination of two characters: movable finger of pedipalp with 11 imbricated rows of granules; and pedipalp chela length/width ratio in male 4.55. C. pulcherrimus sp. n. is characterized by the unique combination of four characters: movable finger of pedipalp with 8 imbricated rows of granules; total length 16–19 mm; pedipalp chela length/width ratio in male 2.57, in female 2.69; and sternite VII smooth. In addition to analysis of external morphology and hemispermatophores, we also specify the number of chromosomes of both species: C. kautti sp. n. (2n=118) and C. pulcherrimus sp. n. (2n=102).

Reference:
Kovarik F, Lowe G, Stockmann M, Stahlavsky F. Two new Chaerilus from Thailand and Laos (Scorpiones: Chaerilidae). Euscorpius. 2020(324):1-20. [Open Access]

Family Chaerilidae

13 November, 2020

Life history aspects of the buthid scorpion Tityus forcipula from Colombia


 Knowledge of the life history of an animal is important and for scorpions there are very few life history studies that cover most of the lives of a species. In a recent article Michael Seiter and co-workers present a study of the embryonic and post-embryonic development of Tityus forcipula (Gervais, 1843) (Buthidae) from Colombia under different climate regimes in the laboratory (which may follow the climate changes the world is now experiencing).

The results showed that  T. forcipula reared under laboratory conditions was not able to thrive under constant higher temperatures. This may be an indication that this species will be vulnerable for an increase in temperature due to global warming.

Abstract:
Observations on the entire life history of scorpion species are uncommon, and these studies primarily focus on postembryonic development. So far, little is known on how changes in temperature or humidity could affect communities of scorpions. Here, we present data on the embryonic and postembryonic development of Tityus forcipula (Gervais, 1843), a scorpion living in the Colombian Central Cordillera that was subjected to different climate regimes. For a comparative approach, one group was raised under lower conditions (23–248C) and another group was raised under higher temperatures (25–278C, meaning a 2–38C increase). Our results clearly demonstrate that T. forcipule reared under laboratory conditions is not able to thrive under constant higher temperatures. A minority of the latter group (, 10%) reached adulthood, but never reproduced. Of the 43 specimens kept under lower temperatures (with a mild diapause), 21 females and 19 males reached maturity in the 5th instar; only one female and two males required an extra molt to mature. Tityus forcipula specimens reached maturity after 463 days of postembryonic development. The average for embryonic development was 208 days, with an average of 12 neonates per litter. Twenty-four different morphometric measurements were taken from all specimens for each exuvium of the juveniles and the adult stage. The results indicated a relationship albeit partly poorly developed, between the sexes, in several measured structures and the instars.

References:
Seiter M, Friedl N, Cozijn MA. Life history aspects of the buthid scorpion Tityus forcipula (Gervais, 1843) with remarks on its thermal limits. The Journal of Arachnology. 2020;48(2):161-8.[Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Michael Seiter and Michiel Cozijn for sending me their article!

 

Characterization of aspects of fluorescence in the exoskeleton of scorpions


Scorpions glow (fluorescence) when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. At present, the biological functionality –if any– of this intriguing fluorescence is unknown and awaits further investigation.

Daniel López-Cabreraa and co-workers recently published an article investigating some aspects of fluorescence in the exoskeleton of 24 species of scorpions. The study suggests that the intensity of fluorescence is heterogeneous throughout the scorpion's exoskeleton (some parts fluoresce more intensely than other). Also, they conclude that fluorescence may correlate directly to the ecomorphotype of the scorpions.

Abstract:
Scorpions are a mesodiverse and nocturnal group of arachnids inhabiting most biomes worldwide. Different species of scorpions have divergent adaptations to the substrate they live in, but most of them share an intriguing characteristic: their exoskeleton contains fluorophores that emit blue-greenish fluorescence under ultraviolet radiation. Although there are some reports in the literature on the study of fluorescence in scorpions, the biological functionality of this light emission is currently unknown and is under debate. In this work, the properties of emission from the scorpion's exoskeleton are studied by means of digitally processed photographs taken of living specimens under ultraviolet illumination and complemented with standard spectroscopic measurements of emission and excitation spectra. With the aim of identifying possible correlations between the fluorescence, the characteristics color of the exoskeleton and the biology of the scorpions, 4 families, 9 genera and 24 species were studied. Our results suggest that the intensity of fluorescence is heterogeneous throughout the scorpion's exoskeleton studied here in such a way that pedipalps and metasomal segments fluoresce more intensely than the mesosomal segments. The spectrum of fluorescence across species is practically identical, suggesting that the same fluorophores are present in their exoskeletons. However, the fluorescence intensity emitted by each species varies according to their characteristic color (associated with the exoskeleton optical reflectance). Since the coloration of the exoskeleton is determined by the concentration of melanin and other pigments according to the substrate where scorpions live in, we conclude by suggesting that fluorescence may correlate directly to the ecomorphotype of the scorpions.

Reference:
López-Cabrera D, Ramos-Ortiz G, González-Santillán E, Espinosa-Luna R. Characterization of the fluorescence intensity and color tonality in the exoskeleton of scorpions. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology. 2020;209:111945. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Edmundo González Santillán for sending me their article!

 

06 November, 2020

Two new species in the genus Chiromachetes from India


 
Shauri Sulakhe and several co-workers recently published an article presenting two new species in the small genus Chiromachetes Pocock, 1899 (Hormuridae) from India, raising the number of species in the genus to five.

Chiromachetes parakrami Sulakhe, Deshpande, Dandekar, Ketkar, Gowande, Padhye & Bastawade, 2020

Chiromachetes ramdasswamii Sulakhe, Deshpande, Dandekar, Ketkar, Gowande, Padhye & Bastawade, 2020

Abstract:
Two new species of Chiromachetes Pocock, 1899 (Hormuridae) are described from the northern Western Ghats of India using an integrated taxonomic approach. Chiromachetes parakrami sp. n. and C. ramdasswamii sp. n. are closely related and differ from each other and C. sahyadriensis by morphological features and raw genetic divergence of 7.9–9.4 %.

Reference:
Sulakhe S, Deshpande S, Nikhil D, Ketkar M, Gowande G, Padhye A, et al. Two new species of Chiromachetes (Scorpiones: Hormuridae) from the northern Western Ghats, India. Euscorpius. 2020(320):1-27. [Open Access]

Family Hormuridae

04 November, 2020

A new study on scorpion life history traits and the effect of different feeding regimes

 


There is not much published on the life history traits in scorpions and especially on the influence of different feeding regimes. Michael Seiter and co-workers have recently published a study investigating the embryonic and postembryonic development in the species Tityus neibae Armas, 1999 (Buthidae) exposed to different feeding regimes. 

The results indicated a strong relationship between different feeding regimes, sex, morphometrics and life stages. Se abstract or article for further details.

Abstract:
Scorpions often experience food shortages, yet information on their baseline nutritional input is lacking. In many life histories, there is a trade-off between adult size and development time that is interrelated with food availability. We present precise data on the influence of two different feeding regimes that affect development in the buthid scorpion Tityus neibae. The results indicate a strong relationship between the treatment group, sex, morphometrics and life stages. The different diet inputs had no influence on the embryonic development or the litter size but had a major effect on the postembryonic development time and on the life stage when individuals reached maturity. No females or males reached maturity by the 4th instar when fed every two weeks and only males that were fed weekly were able to reach maturity by the 4th. Thus, a trade-off in T. neibae males is apparent, since they can reach maturity earlier in life, resulting in an overall smaller body size that may reduce the risk of predation. By contrast, females may have been selected to reach full development with an overall larger body size that results in an increase in the fitness, the number, or the size of the offspring.

Reference:
Seiter M, Mosetig L, Milasowszky N. The trade-off between adult size and development time due to different feeding regimes in the scorpion Tityus neibae. Invertebrate Reproduction & Development. 2020:1-7. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Michael Seiter for sending me their article!

New article on the scorpions of Iran with an identification key for all species


 Iran is a large coutry with a big scorpion diversity counting 68 species (41 endemic to Iran). There have been an increase in publications on Iranian scorpions in the last decade, and now Hossein Barahoei and co-workers have published a major annotated checklist of the scorpion fauna of Iran and an identification key for all species.

Abstract:
An updated checklist of the scorpiofauna of Iran is presented. The checklist is based on records of scorpion species which their presence have been confirmed in Iran through field expeditions, examination of scorpion collections, literature review, and personal communications with researchers. According to the presented checklist the scorpion fauna of Iran consists of 68 valid species (41 endemic to Iran) belonging to 19 genera and four families and 6 doubtful reports (belong family Buthidae). Hemiscorpius gaillardi (Vachon, 1974) and Compsobuthus jakesi Kovařík, 2003 reported for the first time from Hormozgan province. Odontobuthus tavighiae Navidpour et al., 2013 collected for the first time from Fars province. Kraepelinia palpator (Birula, 1903) and O. tirgari Mirshamsi et al., 2013 were new records for South Khorasan province fauna. The list is dominated by members of the family Buthidae (58 species) with 85.3% of total species. The level of regional endemism exceeds 60.3%. A dichotomic identification key.

Reference:
Barahoei H, Navidpour S, Aliabadian M, Siahsarvie R, Mirshamsi O. Scorpions of Iran (Arachnida: Scorpiones): Annotated checklist, DELTA database and identification key. Journal of Insect Biodiversity and Systematics. 2020;6(4):375-474. [Open Access]

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for sending me this article!

 

Centruroides marcanoi is confirmed for Haiti


 Rolando Teruel and Rene Durocher have confirmed the presence of Centruroides marcanoi Armas, 1981 (Buthidae) in Haiti in a recent paper.

Abstract:
The scorpion Centruroides marcanoi Armas, 1981, is endemic from Hispaniola, where it was previously known only from southwestern Dominican Republic. Its predictable occurrence in Haiti is herein documented for the first time, upon a subadult individual photographed in Kenscoff, a mountain site of the Massif de la Selle located ca. 10 km south-southwest of Port-au Prince.

Reference:
Teruel R, Durocher R. First record of Centruroides marcanoi Armas, 1981 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Haiti. Boletin del Grupo de Sistematica y Ecologia de Atropodos Caribenos. 2020;5:1-5. [Available from author in Research Gate]

Thanks to Rolando for sending me their article!

 

03 November, 2020

A new article on the evolution of telson morphology and venom glands in scorpions


 

 The telson of the scorpions includes the stinger and the cenom glands and come in different forms in different taxa. Especially interesting is the presence of an extra "stinger" - the sub-aculear tooth - in some taxa. 

Wilson Lourenco has now published an article discussing  the possible coevolution of telson morphology and venom glands and also the possible origin/function of the sub-aculear tooth.

Abstract:
As in previous contributions to the JVATiTD, the aim of this note is to bring some general information on a particular aspect of the scorpion biology. An attempt is made to explain the possible coevolution of telson morphology and venom glands, which took place during several hundred million years and in particular since scorpions migrated from aquatic to terrestrial environments. Three components can be directly associated with predation and defensive behaviours: (1) morphology of the chelae and structure of the chelae fingers granulations; (2) morphology of the metasoma and in particular of the telson; (3) evolution of tegumentary glands in the telson toward different types of venom glands. Since a number of recent contributions already treated some of these aspects, I will limit my comments to the possible evolution of the telson in relation to the evolution of venom glands. As in previous contributions, the content of this article is basically addressed to non-specialists on scorpions whose research embraces scorpions in several fields such as venom toxins and public health.

Reference:
Lourenco WR. The coevolution between telson morphology and venom glands in scorpions (Arachnida). J Venom Anim Toxins Incl Trop Dis. 2020;26:e20200128. [Open Access]

01 November, 2020

A new species of Reddyanus from Laos

 

Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers recently published an article with the description of a new species of Reddyanus Vachon, 1972 (Buthidae) from Laos.

Reddyanus justi Kovarik, Lowe & Stahlavsky, 2020

Abstract:
A new species Reddyanus justi sp. n. from Laos is described, fully complemented with color photographs of live and preserved specimens. The new species is characterized by the irregular quadrilateral shape of the subaculear tubercle in males. In addition to analysis of external morphology and hemispermatophore, we also describe the karyotype (2n=12).

Reference:
Kovarik F, Lowe G, Stahlavsky F. Reddyanus justi sp. n. from Laos (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2020(321):1-11. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

 

 

16 October, 2020

Advanced warning: Hugh revision of the genus Heterometrus and several parts of Scorpionidae recently published


I just got an email from Gerard Dupre containing a 500 page revision of Heterometrus Ehrenberg, 1828 and other parts of the family Scorpionidae. I normally do not blog about new articles until I have read and "processed" them, but in this case the taxonomical changes are massive and it will take me quite some time to update The Scorpion Files. Because the Scorpionidae is an important and popular family among both professionals and enthusiasts, I'm posting the news about this paper immediately. 

I will post more details in a separate post later.

Abstract:
See article for the large abstract.

Reference:
Prendini L, Loria SF. Systematic revision of the Asian Forest Scorpions (Heterometrinae simon, 1879), revised suprageneric classification of Scorpionidae latreille, 1802, and revalidation of Rugodentidae Bastawade et al., 2005. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 2020(442):1-480. [Open Access]

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for informing me about this important paper!

Family Scorpionidae (not updated yet!)

 

 

14 October, 2020

A new species of Ananteris from Suriname


Wilson Lourenco and co-workers recently published a new species of Ananteris Thorell, 1891 (Buthidae) from Suriname. 

Ananteris pierrekondre Lourenço, Chevalier, Gangadin & Ythier, 2020

Abstract:
A new species belonging to the genus Ananteris Thorell is described from a sandy dry forest formation located in Pierre Kondre, nearby Carolina, Para District in Suriname, a site located near the Suriname river. The description of this new species brings further evidence about the biogeographic patterns of distribution presented by most species of the genus Ananteris, which are highly endemic in most natural formations of South America. The new species is the second one of the genus Ananteris to be described from Suriname.

Reference:
Lourenco WR, Chevalier J, Gangadin A, Ythier E. Description of a new species of Ananteris Thorell, 1891, from Suriname (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Bulletin de la Société entomologique de France. 2020;125(3):233-9. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Eric Ythier for sending me their article!

Family Buthidae

 

13 October, 2020

A new species of Euscorpiops from China

 

Here is another recent paper by Zhiyoung Di and Sha Qiao. In this paper they describe a new species in the genus Euscorpiops Vachon, 1980 (Euscorpiidae) from China. 

Euscorpiops lii Di & Qiao, 2020

The article also presents an identification key for the genus in China.

Abstract:
A new species, Euscorpiops lii sp. nov., from Xizang (Tibet) in southwest China is described herein. Adult scorpions in this species are principally characterized by yellow-brown colour, a length of less than 40 mm, 17 trichobothria on the external surface of the pedipalp patella and usually six trichobothria on the ventral surface of the pedipalp patella in both sexes. With the description of this new species, the number of known species of the genus Euscorpiops from China is raised to 13 (five species found in Xizang, including the new species, and eight other species in Yunnan). A key to the species of the genus Euscorpiops from China is presented.

Reference:
Di Z, Qiao S. Euscorpiops lii sp. nov. and a key of the genus Euscorpiops Vachon, 1980 (Scorpiones, Scorpiopidae) from China. ZooKeys. 2020(968):71-83. [Open Access]

Thanks to Zhiyoung Di and Gerard Dupre for sending me this article!

Family Euscorpiidae

 

A new species of Scorpiops from China


 Zhiyoung Di and Sha Qiao have recently published a new species of Scorpiops Peters, 1861 (Euscorpiidae) from China. 

Scorpiops songi Di & Qiao, 2020

The article also has an identification key for all Scorpiops species found in China.

Abstract:
A new species, Scorpiops songi sp.n., from Xizang (China), is described and illustrated. It is characterized by light yellow brown color in living individuals, large size (length of adult male about 72.0 mm), small and dense granules on integument, a pair of small median eyes (diameter< 0.5 mm), 17 trichobothria (5 eb, 2 esb, 2 em, 4 est, 4 et) on the external surface of pedipalp patella and 7 or 8 trichobothria on the ventral surface of pedipalp patella, chela with a length/ width ratio about 2.4 in one adult male and average of 2.8 in two immature females, pedipalp chela fingers on adult females and males scalloped, pectinal teeth count 7 in five males and 6 in three females, pectinal fulcra vestigial. The number of known species of Scorpiops from China is raised to 16, is more than half of the known species (29) in the world.

Reference:
Di Z, Qiao S. Scorpiops songi sp.n. and key to species of Scorpiops from China (Scorpiones: Scorpiopidae). Arthropoda Selecta. 2020;29:316-24. [Open Access]

Thanks to  Zhiyoung Di and Gerard Dupre for sending me this article!

Family Euscorpiidae

 

Evolutionary dynamics of rDNA clusters on chromosomes of buthid scorpions


I have stolen the original title from this article for this post as I must admit that the topic is beyond my knowledge. I do have a master in zoology, but back then we learned very little about genetics. 

Anyway, Frantisek Stahlavsky and several other co-workers have recently published a study on the evolutionary dynamics of rDNA clusters on chromosomes of buthid scorpions. The study provides the first analysis of karyotype evolution within a phylogenetic context for the whole of the family Buthidae. For more information you can check out the abstract or the article.

Abstract:
We examined the distribution of genes for major ribosomal RNAs (rDNA) on holokinetic chromosomes of 74 species belonging to 19 genera of scorpions from the family Buthidae using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Our analysis revealed differences between the two main evolutionary lineages within the family. The genera belonging to the ‘Buthus group’, with a proposed Laurasian origin, possess one pair of rDNA mainly in an interstitial position, with the only exceptions being the terminal location found in some Hottentotta and Buthacus species, possibly as a result of chromosome fissions. All the remaining buthid ‘groups’ possess rDNA found strictly in a terminal position. However, the number of signals may increase from an ancestral state of one pair of rDNA loci to up to seven signals in Reddyanus ceylonensis Kovařík et al., 2016. Despite the differences in evolutionary dynamics of the rDNA clusters between the ‘Buthus group’ and other lineages investigated, we found a high incidence of reciprocal translocations and presence of multivalent associations during meiosis in the majority of the genera studied. These phenomena seem to be typical for the whole family Buthidae.

Reference:
Šťáhlavský F, Nguyen P, Sadílek D, Štundlová J, Just P, Haddad CR, et al. Evolutionary dynamics of rDNA clusters on chromosomes of buthid scorpions (Chelicerata: Arachnida). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 2020;Online first:1-19. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Frantisek Kovarik for sending me their article!

Family Buthidae

 

 

02 October, 2020

Тaxonomic position of Orthochirus olivaceus from Egypt and Sudan


Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers have studied the taxonomic position of the species Orthodactylus olivaceus Karsch, 1881 (Buthidae). This taxa has been considered a synonym of O. scrobiculosus (Grube, 1873) for a long time. This study shows that Orthochirus olivaceus (Karsch, 1881) is a valid species. The study also concludes that Orthochirus aristidis (Simon, 1882) is a junior synonym of O. olivaceus (Karsch, 1881).

Abstract:
We address the taxonomic position of Orthodactylus olivaceus Karsch, 1881, the type species of the genus Orthochirus Karsch, 1892. For over a century, this taxon was considered a synonym of Orthochirus scrobiculosus (Grube, 1873); however, the latter was recently limited to Central Asia (Turkmenistan) (Kovařík et al., 2020). Analysis of Karsch’s holotype confirmed that Orthochirus olivaceus (Karsch, 1881), is a valid species. Its type locality published as “Sicily” is clearly incorrect. It is a senior synonym of Butheolus aristidis Simon, 1882, syn. n., described from Sudan (Nubia). We confirm its distribution in northern Sudan and southern Egypt.

Reference:
Kovarik F, Fet V, Siyam M. Тaxonomic position of Orthochirus olivaceus (Karsch, 1881), the type species of the genus Orthochirus Karsch, 1892 (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2020(319):1-15. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

Genetic diversity within Leiurus quinquestriatus populations in Egypt


 Leiurus quinquestriatus (Ehrenberg, 1828) (Buthidae) is one of the most dangerous scorpions in the world when it comes to venom potency and knowledge about the taxonomy and biology of this species is very important.

Moustafa Sarhan and co-workers have recently published a study on the genetic diversity within Leiurus quinquestriatus populations in Egypt. This species is quite common in this country. The results shows a high genetic variation among L. quinquestriatus populations in Egypt and suggest that at least one population located in Sinai may be a separate species.

Abstract:
The highly toxic and medically important scorpion Leiurus quinquestriatus is the most common scorpion species in Egypt and in some regions, is medically problematic for the local population. We studied variation in the mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene within 12 populations from different ecogeographical regions of Egypt. Our results indicate a high genetic variation among L. quinquestriatus populations with five haplotypes existing. Our data also suggests the existence of

Reference:
Sarhan M, Badry A, Younes M, Saleh M. Genetic diversity within Leiurus quinquestriatus (Scorpiones: Buthidae) populations in Egypt as inferred from 16S mDNA sequence analysis. Zoology in the Middle East. 2020;66(3):269-76. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Dr. Ahmed Badry for sending me this article!

Family Buthidae

 

 

11 September, 2020

An investigation of the defensive behaviors of the southern unstriped scorpion, Vaejovis carolinianus


 In the last decade there have been several studies looking into sting use and venom use in scorpions in relation to prey capture and defense. Venom metering in scorpions has been well documented, but few studies have focused on the other behavioral options a scorpion has in regard to prey capture or defense.

David Nelson and co-workers have now published a study on the defensive behaviors of Vaejovis carolinianus (Beauvois, 1805) (Vaejovidae) with regards to the scorpion's assessment of risk and refuge availability. The study concludes that V. carolinianus can assess risk and features of the local environment and, therefore, alter their defensive strategies accordingly.

Abstract:
Selection should favor individuals that acquire, process, and act on relevant environmental signals to avoid predation. Studies have found that scorpions control their use of venom: both when it is released and the total volume expelled. However, this research has not included how a scorpion’s awareness of environmental features influences these decisions. The current study tested 18 Vaejovis carolinianus scorpions (nine females and nine males) by placing them in circular arenas supplied with varying numbers (zero, two, or four) of square refuges and by tracking their movements overnight. The following morning, defensive behaviors were elicited by prodding scorpions on the chelae, prosoma, and metasoma once per second over 90 s. We recorded stings, venom use, chelae pinches, and flee duration. We found strong evidence that, across all behaviors measured, V. carolinianus perceived prods to the prosoma as more threatening than prods to the other locations. We found that stinging was a common behavior and became more dominant as the threat persisted. Though tenuous, we found evidence that scorpions’ defensive behaviors changed based on the number of refuges and that these di erences may be sex specific. Our findings suggest that V. carolinianus can assess risk and features of the local environment and, therefore, alter their defensive strategies accordingly.

Reference:
Nelsen DR, David EM, Harty CN, Hector JB, Corbit AG. Risk Assessment and the Effects of Refuge Availability on the Defensive Behaviors of the Southern Unstriped Scorpion (Vaejovis carolinianus). Toxins. 2020;12(9). [Open Access]

08 September, 2020

Yet another remarkable cave scorpion finding in Europe


 In Mars I blogged about the remarkable finding of the troglophile cave scorpion Sardoscorpius troglophilus Tropea & Onnis, 2020 (Belisariidae) from Sardinia (Italy). Now I can inform about a remarkable new troglobitic scorpion species from a cave system in Montenegro.

Euscorpius studentium Karaman, 2020 (Euscorpiidae)

The new species is a true troglobite missing eyes and having reduced pigmentation and is actually the first true troglobitic scorpion species in Europe. Only two specimens have been found and it is assumed that the population is very small and critical endangered due to human activities in the cave system it inhabits.

The article also has an interesting discussion about the evolution of troglobitic scorpions.

Abstract:
A troglobite, Euscorpius studentium n. sp. is described based on a single immature male specimen from Skožnica, a relatively small cave in the coastal region of Montenegro. The characteristics of the new species are compared with the characteristics of an immature male specimen of troglophile Euscorpius feti Tropea, 2013 of the same size, from another cave in Montenegro. Some identified differences indicate evolutionary changes that are the result of the process of adaptation of troglobite scorpions for life under conditions found in underground habitats: reduced eyes, depigmentation, smooth teguments with reduced granulation and tubercles, elongated sharp and thin ungues of the legs and narrowed body. The settlement of limestone caves by large troglobionts such as scorpions follows karstification processes. Lithophilic forms that evolved under these conditions possess the necessary climbing abilities that are prerequisite for settlement of hypogean habitats. Uncontrolled visits by tourists in recent years have seriously threatened the fauna of Skožnica cave, including this new and first recognized troglobite scorpion species among European fauna.

Reference:
Karaman I. A new Euscorpius species (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae) from a Dinaric cave - the first record of troglobite scorpion in European fauna. Biologia Serbica. 2020;42. [Open Access]

Thanks to professors Ivo Karaman and Victor Fet for sending me this very interesting article!

Family Euscorpiidae

04 September, 2020

Description of the male Wernerius mumai

 

Some species are rare and found in few numbers and sometimes a species is described on the basis of just  one of the sexes. This was the case for Wernerius mumai (Sissom, 1993) (Vaejovidae). Richard Ayrey and Brandon Meyers have now found males of this species and has described this sex in a recent paper.

Abstract:
A male of Wernerius mumai (Sissom, 1993) is described for the first time, collected at the type locality (Gold Road, Black Mountains, Mohave County, Arizona). Originally placed in the genus Vaejovis, this species later was transferred by Soleglad & Fet (2008) to the genus Wernerius. It is one of the smallest vaejovid species known. The pedipalp fixed finger usually has 6 ID denticles and the movable finger has 7. The most unique characteristic of this species is the long, pointed, subaculear tubercle.

Reference:
Ayrey RF, Myers BT. Description of the male of Wernerius mumai (Sissom, 1993) from western Arizona, with data on reproduction (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae). Euscorpius. 2020(317):1-17. [Open Access]

Family Vaejovidae

03 September, 2020

How will climate changes impact the diverse scorpion fauna of Mexico?

Scorpions are infamous among many peoples and many will not focus on the conservation of this "dangerous" animal group when the global climate changes. But it is important to remember that scorpion diversity is an indicator of the health of the fauna in an area or its ecosystem and knowledge about the impact of climate changes on the scorpion fauna is important for more than scorpions alone.

Carolina Ureta and co-workers have recently published a study evaluating the vulnerability of scorpions in Mexico to climate change and if Mexican protective measures are sufficient to protect this animal group under future climate models. The short answer is that the scorpion fauna of Mexico is vulnerable under both current and under future climatic conditions.

Abstract:
Scorpions have high levels of endemism and their distributions are typically narrow, making them particularly vulnerable to changes in their environment. Unfortunately, little is known about the status ofscorpion conservation worldwide. Here, we compiled information on scorpion diversity across the world and highlighted Mexican scorpion diversity. We created and overlapped scorpions’ hotspots with the Mexican system of protected areas. We also modeled the potential distribution area of 24 wide distributed scorpion species under current and future scenarios to evaluate their vulnerability to climate change considering full and null dispersal models, and calculated the percentage of their distribution that will be protected by the natural protected areas in the future. Our results indicate that while Mexico has the greatest diversity of scorpion species compared to any other country in the world, these animals are not sufficiently protected by the system of natural protected areas under neither current nor under future climatic conditions. In terms of climate change vulnerability, we assessed the impact to these species if their migration to future more climatically suitable areas is not feasible. However, if full migration is feasible for species with broad ecological habitats, nine species might have a more widespread distribution,including three species with medical importance (Centruroides spp.).

Reference:
Ureta C, González EJ, Ramírez-Barrón M, Contreras-Félix GA, Santibáñez-López CE. Climate change will have an important impact on scorpion’s fauna in its most diverse country, Mexico. Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation. 2020;18(2):116-23. [Open Access]

Thanks to Matt Simon for informing me about this article!

 

02 September, 2020

Observations on the diet and reproduction of Centruroides gracilis from Honduras

 

Centruroides gracilis (Latreille, 1804) (Buthidae) is a widespread scorpion in Central America and Caribbean, but there is little information published on the behavior and ecology of this species. Anna Davison and co-workers have now published an obervational study on the diet and reproduction of this species on Utila Island in Honduras.

Abstract:
The brown bark scorpion Centruroides gracilis (Latreille, 1804) (Buthidae) is an abundant and widespread species, however, fairly little is known about its ecology and natural history. We include several observations from Utila Island, Honduras, that expand on the known literature regarding the diet and reproductive behavior of C. gracilis. We report several prey items for this opportunistic species, which include invertebrates such as spiders (including tarantulas), centipedes, katydids, and crickets; as well as a case of cannibalism between two adult females C. gracilis. We suggest that such cannibalism may be driven by high population densities and/or strong intraspecific competition for prey sources on the island. Additionally, we observed a courtship dance involving a female that still carried second-instar offspring, a common behavior within the Buthidae family, although, to our knowledge, not previously reported for C. gracilis.

Reference:
Davison AM, Brown TW, Arrivillaga C. Notes on the diet and reproduction of the bark scorpion Centruroides gracilis (Scorpiones: Buthidae) on Utila Island, Honduras. Euscorpius. 2020(314):1-7. [Open Access]

 

28 August, 2020

A review of the genus Orthochirus from Asia


 Frantisek Kovarik, Victor fet and Ersen Yagmur have recently published another review of the genus Orthochirus Karsch, 1891 (Buthidae) from Asia. These are the main conclusions:

New species:

Orthochirus birulai Kovarik, Fet & Yagmur, 2020 (Pakistan)

Orthochirus formozovi Kovarik, Fet & Yagmur, 2020 (Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan)

Orthochirus grosseri Kovarik, Fet & Yagmur, 2020 (Uzbekistan)  

Orthochirus kryzhanovskyi Kovarik, Fet & Yagmur, 2020 (Pakistan)

Orthochirus nordmanni Kovarik, Fet & Yagmur, 2020 (Afghanistan)

Orthochirus sejnai Kovarik, Fet & Yagmur, 2020 (Iran)

New status:

Orthochirus persa (Birula, 1900) Raised from subspecies status: Butheolus melanurus persa Birula, 1900.

Synonymizations:

Paraorthochirus blandini Lourenço & Vachon, 1997 = Orthochirus blandini (Lourenço & Vachon, 1997) is synonymized with Orthochirus fuscipes (Pocock, 1900)

Afghanorthochirus erardi Lourenço & Vachon, 1997 = Orthochirus erardi (Lourenço & Vachon, 1997) is synonymized with Orthochirus persa (Birula, 1900)

The article has an identification key to all Orthochirus found in ten Asian countries.

Abstract:
We describe six new species of Orthochirus: O. birulai sp. n. (Pakistan), O. formozovi sp. n. (Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan), O. grosseri sp. n. (Uzbekistan), O. kryzhanovskyi sp. n. (Pakistan), O. nordmanni sp. n. (Afghanistan), and O. sejnai sp. n. (Iran). Descriptions are complemented with color photographs of preserved specimens. The identities of Orthochirus melanurus (Kessler, 1874) (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan), O. persa (Birula, 1900) stat. n. (Afghanistan, Iran), and O. scrobiculosus (Grube, 1873) (Turkmenistan) are reexamined, based on detailed study of the type specimens; lectotypes of all three species are designated. We demonstrate for the first time that the name O. scrobiculosus, previously used as an ‘umbrella’ for various Orthochirus from Central Asia and the Middle East, is currently applicable only to a few confirmed populations from the southwestern Turkmenistan, near the Caspian Sea. New synonymies are proposed at the species level: Paraorthochirus blandini Lourenço & Vachon, 1997 = Orthochirus fuscipes (Pocock, 1900), syn. n. and Afghanorthochirus erardi Lourenço & Vachon, 1997 = Orthochirus persa (Birula, 1900), stat. n., syn. n. We provide a distribution map and a key to all Orthochirus found in ten Asian countries: Afghanistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan (41 species).

Reference:
Kovarik F, Fet V, Yagmur EA. Further review of Orthochirus Karsch, 1892 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Asia: taxonomic position of O. melanurus, O. persa, O. scrobiculosus, and description of six new species. Euscorpius. 2020(318):1-78. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

26 August, 2020

A new study on the Vaejovis in the Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona (US)


 

 Emma E. Jochim and co-workers recently published a phylogenetic analyses of the Vaejovis scorpions in the Santa Catalina Mountains (Vaejovidae). One of the main conclusions is that Vaejovis brysoni Ayrey & Webber, 2013 is synomized with Vaejovis deboerae Ayrey, 2009.

Abstract:
Scorpions belonging to the Vaejovis vorhiesi species complex are widely distributed throughout the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Most species are endemic to single mountain ranges but two species, Vaejovis deboerae Ayrey, 2009 and V. brysoni Ayrey & Webber, 2013, have been documented from the Santa Catalina Mountains in Arizona. We reevaluated the taxonomic diversity of these scorpions by integrating data from several different sources. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that scorpions in the Santa Catalina Mountains are monophyletic but comprise two divergent mitochondrial lineages that overlap at the type locality of V. deboerae. We failed to detect congruence between these lineages and the remaining datasets which suggests that there is a single species that we refer to as V. deboerae (=V. brysoni syn. nov.). Our inability to gather molecular data from the female holotype of V. deboerae could be the basis for future nomenclatural volatility if future studies find that the mitochondrial lineages are validated by other forms of data (e.g., male morphology). Results from this study underscore the importance of integrative methods for delimiting species in morphologically cryptic groups. Furthermore, we recommend generating DNA barcodes for holotypes as part of the description process to reduce future nomenclatural quagmires.

Reference:
Jochim EE, Broussard L-LM, Hendrixson BE. Integrative species delimitation and taxonomic status of the scorpion genus Vaejovis Koch, 1836 (Vaejovidae) in the Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona. Euscorpius. 2020(316):1-11. [Open Access]

Family Vaejovidae

17 August, 2020

A review of the scorpions of Nepal

 

Binu Shrestha and Tobias Dörr have recently published a review of the scorpion fauna of Nepal. At the moment, 12 species in four families are known, but the scorpion fauna of Nepal is understudied and these numbers may change in the future. An identification key to the known taxa is presented.

Abstract:

The arachnid fauna of Nepal is poorly studied. Here, we present a literature review summarizing the current state of knowledge about the occurrence and distribution of scorpion species reported from Nepal. In addition, we offer field notes about scorpion observations made during several visits to Nepal between 1998 and 2018. Finally, we present a genus-level identification key to the scorpion taxa likely to be encountered in Nepal.

Reference:
Shrestha B, Dörr T. Scorpions (Arachnida: Scorpiones) of Nepal: literature review and field notes. Arachnology. 2020;18(5):430-5, 6. [Subscritpion required for full text]

 

12 August, 2020

A new species of Neoscorpiops from India

Shauri Sulakhe and co-workers have recently published an analysis of the species of the genus Neoscorpiops Vachon, 1980 (Euscorpiidae) and a new species from India is described.

Neoscorpiops phaltanensis Sulakhe, Sayyed, Deshpande, Dandekar, Padhye & Bastawade, 2020

Abstract:
All species of the genus Neoscorpiops Vachon, 1980 are compared and taxonomic validity is established based on molecular phylogeny and morphological comparisons through integrated taxonomic approach. A new species Neoscorpiops phaltanensis sp. nov. is described from India and differs from its congeners on the basis of internal surface of patella with anterio-ventral tubercle medium to almost equal compared to posterio-ventral tubercle; dorsal carination on II-IV metasomal segments ending in a short spine; chela length to manus width ratio in males and females 3.1:3.6; anterior portion of carapace finely granular; trichobothria on patella ventral 17–19; trichobothria on patella exterior 27–29. In addition to external morphology, hemispermatophore morphology of the new species is also provided. Neoscorpiops phaltanensis sp. nov. is closely related to N. satarensis and differs by morphological features and raw genetic divergence of 7.1–7.3%. The entire study is complemented with colour and UV photographs. First molecular phylogeny of genus Neoscorpiops is presented here.

References:
Sulakhe S, Sayyed A, Deshpande S, Dandekar N, Padhye A, Bastawade D. Taxonomic validity of Neoscorpiops Deccanensis, N. Tenuicauda, N. Satarensis and N. Maharashtraensis with description of a new species of Neoscorpiops Vachon, 1980 (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae) from India. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 2020;117. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Dr. Rajiv Karbhal for sending me the article!

Family Euscorpiidae


 

31 July, 2020

A new scorpion book is available



Dutch scorpion enthusiast Jeroen Kooijman has previously authored a scorpion book written in Dutch. Now an English version is available. Kooijman is an experienced scorpion enthusiast that has been keeping and breeding scorpions for more than 20 years. He has also given lectures, courses and more about scorpions in The Netherlands for many years.

The book covers most aspects of scorpion biology and useful information for keeping scorpions in captivity. The book is illustrated with many color pictures. The book will be useful both for the captive care enthusiast and those who want to learn more about scorpions in general.

The book is published by the Dutch Scorpion Society and can be ordered from info@schorpioen.org.

Thanks to Jeroen for sending me a copy of the book!

Reference:
Kooijman J. Scorpions: Nederlandse Schorpionenvereniging; 2020.

29 July, 2020

Five new species of Euscorpius from Albania, Greece, North Macedonia and Serbia


For the last two decades numerous new cryptic species of Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 (Euscorpiidae) have been described from Europe. This has been possible thanks to molecular phylogenetic in combination with the more traditional morphological characteristics. Frantisek Kovarik and Frantisek Stahlavsky have now published five new species in this genus.

Euscorpius bonacinai Kovarik & Stahlavsky, 2020 (Albania)

Euscorpius janstai Kovarik & Stahlavsky, 2020 (North Macedonia)

Euscorpius kabateki Kovarik & Stahlavsky, 2020 (Greece)

Euscorpius sadileki Kovarik & Stahlavsky, 2020 (Serbia)

Euscorpius scheraboni Kovarik & Stahlavsky, 2020 (Greece)


Two new characteristics for Euscorpius identification are also presented.

Abstract:
Five new species are described: Euscorpius bonacinai sp. n. (Albania), E. janstai sp. n. (North Macedonia), E. kabateki sp. n. (Greece), E. sadileki sp. n. (Serbia), and E. scheraboni sp. n. (Greece), fully complemented with color photographs. New species are distinguished from all other species of the genus on the basis of five taxonomic characters. Two other new characters, shape of the pedipalp chela fingers and number of chromosomes, are presented and discussed. In addition to the analyses of external morphology, we also describe karyotypes of two species: E. janstai sp. n. (2n=112) and E. sadileki sp. n. (2n=90).

Reference:
Kovarik F, Stahlavsky F. Five new species of Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae) from Albania, Greece, North Macedonia, and Serbia. Euscorpius. 2020(315):1-37. [Open Access]

Family Euscopiidae

27 July, 2020

A review of scorpion predators in Cuba



Tomás M. Rodríguez-Cabrera and co-workers have studied instances of predation involving Cuban scorpions from various localities around the island and have compiled a review of all predators reported for scorpions in Cuba in a recently published article.

Abstract:
The ecology of Cuban scorpions is very insufficiently studied and the scarce existing information on their natural enemies is dispersed in the literature. However, scorpions in general are well known to play an important role both as predators and prey in natural ecosystems. Herein we present new instances of predation on different species of scorpions in Cuba, and a review on the topic.

Reference:
Rodríguez-Cabrera TM, Teruel R, Savall EM. Scorpion predation in Cuba: new cases and a review. Euscorpius. 2020(306):1-7. [Open Access]

24 July, 2020

A new species of Didymocentrus from the Lesser Antillean island of Martinique



Rolando Teruel and Karl Questel have recently published a description of a new species in the genus Didymocentrus Kraepelin, 1905 (Diplocentridae) from  the Lesser Antillean island of Martinique.

Didymocentrus martinicae Teruel & Questel, 2020

The new species is edemic to Martinique and its small satellite islets Gros Îlet and Îlet-à-Ramiers.

Abstract:
A new species of the diplocentrid scorpion of the genus Didymocentrus Kraepelin, 1905 is herein described from the Lesser Antillean island of Martinique. It long remained misidentified as Didymocentrus lesueurii (Gervais, 1844), the only species of this genus inhabiting the adjacent island of Saint Lucia. The direct comparison of adults of both sexes from these two islands revealed solid morphological characters, which warrant their recognition as two different taxa. Each one is endemic from a single major island, where it is widespread even in its satellite islets. This addition raises the known composition of the genus to 12 species, 10 of them exclusively Antillean.

Reference:
Teruel R, Questel K. A new Lesser Antillean scorpion of the genus Didymocentrus Kraepelin, 1905 (Scorpiones: Diplocentridae). Euscorpius. 2020(313):1-15. [Open Access]

Family Diplocentridae

23 July, 2020

Arizona tarantula preys on scorpions



Scorpions are fierce predator catching many different prey, but they are also hunted by a wide range of predators. It has been reported on several occations that scorpions have been preyed on by theraphosid spiders (aka Tarantulas) and recently Jennifer Duberstein and Dannielle Sherwood have published a research note documenting an Paravaejovis spinigerus (Vaejovidae) being caught and eaten by an Aphonopelma chalcodes Chamberlin, 1940 in Arizona, USA.

Abstract:
No abstract.

Reference:
Duberstein JN, Sherwood D. Predation of Paravaejovis spinigerus (Wood, 1863) (Scorpiones: Vaejovide) by Aphonopelma chalcodes Chamberlin, 1940 (Araneae: Theraphosidae) in Arizona. Arachnology. 2020;18(5):496-8.[Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Dannielle Sherwood for sending me their article!

Four new species of Ananteris from French Guiana



Eric Ythier and co-workers have recently published a review of the Ananteris Thorell, 1891 (Buthidae) found in French Guiana and described four new species:

Ananteris dacostai Ythier, Chevalier & Lourenco, 2020

Ananteris mamilihpan Ythier, Chevalier & Lourenco, 2020

Ananteris sipilili Ythier, Chevalier & Lourenco, 2020

Ananteris tresor Ythier, Chevalier & Lourenco, 2020

An identification key for the genus in French Guiana is also provided.

Abstract:
A synopsis is proposed for all the scorpion species of the genus Ananteris Thorell, 1891 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) collected in French Guiana, including thorough diagnoses and distributional records for each documented species. Four new species are also described, raising the total number of Ananteris species described from French Guiana to eleven. Most species are illustrated, a geographical distribution map is presented and a key to the species is proposed.

Reference:
Ythier E, Chevalier J, Lourenco WR. A synopsis of the genus Ananteris Thorell, 1891 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) in French Guiana, with description of four new species. Arachnida - Rivista Aracnologica Italiana. 2020;VI(XXVIII):2-33.

Family Buthidae

22 July, 2020

Six new species of Orthochirus from Iran



As a part of an ongoing field study of the scorpion fauna of Iran, Frantisek Kovarik and Shahrokh Navidpour has publish and article describing six new species of Orthochirus Karsch, 1891 (Buthidae) from Iran.

Orthochirus hormozganensis Kovarik & Navidpour, 2020

Orthochirus kermanensis Kovarik & Navidpour, 2020

Orthochirus kucerai Kovarik & Navidpour, 2020 

Orthochirus masihipouri Kovarik & Navidpour, 2020

Orthochirus semnanensis Kovarik & Navidpour, 2020 

Orthochirus vignolii Kovarik & Navidpour, 2020

The article provides several color pictures of the new taxa and their habitat.  An identification key for the genus Orthochirus in Iran, Iraq and Turkey is also provided.

Abstract:
Six new scorpion species from Iran, Orthochirus hormozganensis sp. n. (Hormozgan Province), O. kermanensis sp. n. (Kerman Province), O. kucerai sp. n. (Kerman Province), O. masihipouri sp. n. (Bushehr Province), O. semnanensis sp. n. (Semnan Province), and O. vignolii sp. n. (Yazd Province) are described, compared with other Iranian Orthochirus species, and fully illustrated with color photographs. A key and a distribution map of Orthochirus of Iran, Turkey, and Iraq (18 species) are included.

Reference:
Kovarik F, Navidpour S. Six new species of Orthochirus Karsch, 1892 from Iran (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2020(312):1-42. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae


21 July, 2020

The history of Leiurus taxonomy and a new species from Mauritania



Wilson Lourenco has recently described a new species of Leiurus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Buthidae) from Mauritania.

Leiurus dekeyseri Lourenco, 2020

In the article professor Lourenco also sums up the taxonomical history of Leiurus, which until 2002 was believed to be monotypical with only Leiurus quinquestriatus (Ehrenberg, 1828). The knowledge of this genus is important as its species have some of the most potent venoms in the scorpion world.

Abstract:
The aim of this contribution is to bring some precise information on the reasons why the number of noxious scorpion species is constantly growing. This fact is directly associated with the zoological research on the domains generally defined as systematics and taxonomy. The classification of any zoological group is in most cases a source of problem for most biologists not directly involved with this almost confidential aspect of the zoological research. Much information has been gathered and published over two centuries on the classification but it is remains poorly accessible and too technical for non experts. The exposed example could be taken from several groups of scorpions possessing infamous species, but the choice went to the genus Leiurus Ehrenberg, 1828 distributed from North Africa to the Middle East. Maybe this contribution will help to explain why so numerous cases of species misidentification are regularly present in the general literature devoted to scorpion venoms and incidents.

Reference:
Lourenco WR. Why does the number of dangerous species of scorpions increase? The particular case of the genus Leiurus Ehrenberg (Buthidae) in Africa. J Venom Anim Toxins Incl Trop Dis. 2020;26:e20200041. [Open Access]

Thanks to Eric Ythier for sending me this article!

Family Buthidae

A new species of Buthus from Algeria



From one to many. Buthus occitanus (Amoreux, 1789) (Buthidae) was for many year one species with a large distribution. But it turned out to be a species complex "hiding" numerous species in southwestern Europa and Africa. Wilson Lourenco and co-workers have recently described a another new species belonging to the "Buthus occitanus species complex" from Algeria.

Buthus apiatus Lourenco, El Bouhissi & Sadine, 2020

Abstract:
From the beginning of the 1950s until the early 2000s the composition of the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 remained extremely conservative. Following the preliminary revisions by Lourenço in 2002 and 2003 an increasing number of studies were published, concerning mostly the species associated to the ‘Buthus occitanus’ complex. The status of many populations previously considered as subspecies or varieties of Buthus occitanus (Amoreux, 1889) has been reviewed, and these have been raised to the rank of species. A considerable number of new species have also been described. The majority of the species considered in these studies come from North Africa, but only five new species have been recorded from Algeria. Nevertheless, only the studies conducted in Algeria have been done with precise methods and a clear definition of the populations. In order to stabilise the nomenclature, a new diagnosis is here proposed for the classical species found in Algeria, Buthus paris (C. L. Koch, 1839). One more new species of Buthus is also described, from the region of Sidi Bel Abbès, in the north-western mountains of the country. This new species may represent a possible vicariant element of Buthus saharicus Sadine, Bissati & Lourenço, 2016, known from the central deserts of Algeria. The number of confirmed species of Buthus in Algeria is thus raised to eight.

References:
Lourenco WR, El Bouhissi M, Sadine SE. Further considerations on the Buthus Leach, 1815 species present in Algeria with description of a new species (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Revista Iberica de Arachnologia. 2020(36):103-8.

Thanks to Dr. Sadine for sending me their article!

Family Buthidae

20 July, 2020

Taxonomical changes in the genus Grosphus



Wilson Lourenco and co-workers have recently published a study on the genus Grosphus Simon, 1880 (Buthidae) were they critise the taxonomical decisions made in a 2019 study by Graeme Lowe and Frantisek Kovarik. Lourenco et al's conclusion is that they reject most decsisions made in the latter study and in addition they describe one new species.

These are the major taxonomical changes:

The genus Teruelius Lowe & Kovarik, 2019 is placed in synonymy with Grosphus Simon, 1880 and all species in Teruelius is also transferred back to Grosphus.

Grosphus makay Lourenço & Wilmé, 2015 is restored from synonymy of  with Grosphus feti Lourenço, 1996.

Grosphus rossii Lourenço, 2013 is restored from synonymy of  with mahafaliensis Lourenço, Goodman & Ramilijaona, 2004.

Grosphus simoni Lourenço, Goodman & Ramilijaona, 2004, is restored from synonymy of  with Grosphus madagascariensis (Gervais, 1843).

Grosphus halleuxi Lourenço, Wilmé, Soarimalala & Waeber, 2017, is restored from synonymy of  with Grosphus madagascariensis (Gervais, 1843).

Grosphus mandena Lourenço, 2005, is restored from synonymy of  with Grosphus madagascariensis (Gervais, 1843).

Grosphus mavo Lourenco & Rossi, 2020 (New species from Madagascar)

The status according to Lowe & Kovarik, 2019 is summed up here.

There is a great disagreement between the "Lourenco-group" and the "Kovarik-group" when it comes to the taxonomy of several taxa. I do not know who has the correct answer for the genus Grosphus and other taxa as I'm no expert taxonomist. The Scorpion Files tries as far as possible to stay neutral and will publish the latest update for the different scorpion taxa. It is challenging though and a lot of work some times when researchers are correcting each other several times. [This paragraph was edited by the Editor 23.07.20]

Abstract:
The southwestern portion of Madagascar appears to have one of the highest levels of scorpion diversity on the island. In this contribution, the remarkable diversity of the genus Grosphus Simon, 1880 in this region is discussed. A particular attention is aimed to the area of the Cap Sainte Marie where microendemic geographic patterns are observed. These are tentatively explained in the light of some new biogeographic interpretations. A new species is also described from the Cap Sainte Marie and is characterized by a medium body size and a very pale yellow coloration. While this contribution was in preparation,  we learned about the publication of a “most controversial revision” of the genus Grosphus by authors who totally ignored a number of taxonomic particularities of this group and worse, who lack any experience on the ecological and biogeographic patterns observed for the Malagasy fauna. This calls for corrections in which their speculative decisions are refuted.

References:
Lourenco WR, Rossi A, Wilme L, Raherilalao MJ, Soarimalala V, Waeber PO. The remarkable diversity of the genus Grosphus Simon, 1880 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) in Southern Madagascar and in particular in the region of Cap Sainte Marie. Arachnida - Rivista Aracnologica Italiana. 2020;VI(XXVII):2-35.


Family Buthidae