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!

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

No abstract.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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]

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.

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