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.


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.

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).

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.

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.

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.


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.

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

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.

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