01 December, 2021

Three new species of Olivierus from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan

 


Victor Fet and co-workers published this summer an article describing three new species of Olivierus Farzanpay, 1987 (Buthidae) from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. These species were previously classified as Olivierus gorelovi (Fet et al., 2018). The latter species is now restricted to Turkmenistan and southern Uzbekistan.

Oliverius mikhailovi Fet, Kovarik, Gantenbein & Graham, 2021 (Southern Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan)

Oliverius tarabaevi Fet, Kovarik, Gantenbein & Graham, 2021 (Kazakhstan)

Oliverius voldemari Fet, Kovarik, Gantenbein & Graham, 2021 (Uzbekistan)

The new species were discovered mainly due to genetic analysis. They are very cryptic and identification based on morphological characters is very difficult.

Abstract:
Following Graham et al. (2019), the recently described desert species Olivierus gorelovi (Fet et al., 2018) from Central Asia is herein restricted to Turkmenistan and southern Uzbekistan. In this contribution, we described other populations formerly included in O. gorelovi as three new species: O. mikhailovi sp. n. (southern Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan), O. tarabaevi sp. n. (Kazakhstan) and O. voldemari sp. n. (Uzbekistan: Ferghana Valley).

Reference:
Fet V, Kovak F, Gantenbein B, Graham MR. Three new species of Olivierus (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Zootaxa. 2021;5006(1):54-72. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Professor Fet for sending me their article!

Family Buthidae

30 November, 2021

New method for scorpion venom research spares the scorpion's life

 


Scorpion venom is highly investigated, both because of the medical important of this animal group, but also because the different scorpion venom types are candidates of pharmaceutically active molecules with potential drug applications.

The most popular method today to study scorpion venoms is transcriptome studies. The current method for obtaining a scorpion venom gland transcriptome is based on sacrificing the animal to extract the venom gland from the telson (they cut of the telson). This means a lot of dead scorpions each year in the name of science.

Freek J. Vonk and several co-workers have now published an article describing a new method of generating a scorpion venom gland transcriptome without sacrificing the animal. This is good news as it will spare many scorpion lives, but also opens up new possibilities for testing the venom from the same scorpion several times (e.g. by allowing the study of the transcriptome at various time points within a single individual).

Abstract:
Scorpion venoms are mixtures of proteins, peptides and small molecular compounds with high specificity for ion channels and are therefore considered to be promising candidates in the venoms-to-drugs pipeline. Transcriptomes are important tools for studying the composition and expression of scorpion venom. Unfortunately, studying the venom gland transcriptome traditionally requires sacrificing the animal and therefore is always a single snapshot in time. This paper describes a new way of generating a scorpion venom gland transcriptome without sacrificing the animal, thereby allowing the study of the transcriptome at various time points within a single individual. By comparing these venom-derived transcriptomes to the traditional whole-telson transcriptomes we show that the relative expression levels of the major toxin classes are similar. We further performed a multi-day extraction using our proposed method to show the possibility of doing a multiple time point transcriptome analysis. This allows for the study of patterns of toxin gene activation over time a single individual, and allows assessment of the effects of diet, season and other factors that are known or likely to influence intraindividual venom composition. We discuss the gland characteristics that may allow this method to be successful in scorpions and provide a review of other venomous taxa to which this method may potentially be successfully applied.

References:
Vonk FJ, Bittenbinder MA, Kerkkamp HMI, Grashof DGB, Archer JP, Afonso S, et al. A non-lethal method for studying scorpion venom gland transcriptomes, with a review of potentially suitable taxa to which it can be applied. PLoS One. 2021;16(11):e0258712. [Open Access]

Thanks to Arie van der Meijden for sending me their interesting article!

29 November, 2021

A new species of Buthus from the Eastern Pyrenees, France

 


Eric Ythier has discovered a new species of Buthus Leach, 1815 (Buthidae) from the Eastern Pyrenees, in the South of Franc.

 Buthus pyrenaeus Ythier, 2021

This species is probably a result of microendemism, as seen in other Buthus species in the Iberian Peninsula.

Abstract:
A new species of Buthus is described on the basis of six specimens collected in the Eastern Pyrenees, in the South of France. Buthus pyrenaeus sp. n. is mainly characterized by a general yellowish coloration with a dark univittate pattern on tergites, chela fingers with lobe/notch combination obsolete, male slightly larger than same size-class female with chela manus wider than patella and telson laterally compressed, and female with metasomal segment I as wide as long to wider than long. The new species shows affinities with B. alacanti Teruel & Turiel, 2020 (most similar species) and B. occitanus (Amoreux, 1789) but can be easily distinguished from these two species by a combination of several key characters. This new scorpion taxon represents the 2nd known species of the genus Buthus reported from France and the 15th reported from Western Europe.

Reference:
Ythier E. The genus Buthus Leach, 1815 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) in France with description of a new species from the Eastern Pyrenees. Faunitaxys. 2021;9(38):1-10. [Open Access]

Thanks to Eric for sending me his new article!

Family Buthidae

25 November, 2021

Major work on the phylogeny and systematics of Euscorpiinae in the eastern Adriatic region

 


The systematics and taxonomy of the members of the family Euscorpiidae is still a major challenge in site of numerous research papers in the last decades.  The four traditional European taxa known some decades ago, are now split into a huge diversity of genera and species. And there is still more to come as there are many cryptic species and geographic areas that are still not properly investigated.

Martina Podnar and co-workers have recently published an extensive phylogenetic analysis where they have reviewed the scorpions of the genera Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 and Alpiscorpius Gantenbein et al., 1999 (Euscorpiidae) with a focus on the eastern Adriatic region. 

This is a very extensive study full of new information and data, and some of it is above my head. But the main conclusions are that their analyses point to the existence of several new taxa and the ranges of several species have been revised. In addition they have made the following taxonomic conclusions:

Euscorpius lagostae Di Caporiacco, 1950 from Lastovo Island, Croatia is raised to species status (formerly Euscorpius carpaticus lagostae Di Caporiacco, 1950).

Euscorpius croaticus is moved to the genus Alpiscorpius as Alpiscorpius croaticus (Di Caporiacco, 1950). 

Why do have so many species? The current article indicate that this is probably due to complex topography creating many microhabitats, but also due to microrefugia in the Pleistocene that allowed new taxa to evolve.

Abstract:
The systematics and taxonomy of the scorpion family Euscorpiidae are still unresolved, and, within it, the eastern Adriatic scorpiofauna is largely unknown and under-researched. Based on two mitochondrial sequences (COI and 16S rRNA) and one nuclear marker sequence (ITS1), we put 107 newly analyzed samples originating from the Alps, the Eastern Adriatic, and the adjacent Dinaric karst area into phylogenetic context. Several species delineation approaches were applied to reveal cryptic diversity. Divergence time dating was used to highlight the major events in the evolutionary history of the genera Euscorpius and Alpiscorpius. The deep intraspecific genetic divergences observed in some clades warrant taxonomic revision of several taxa (Euscorpius tergestinus, Euscorpius hadzii, Euscorpius biokovensis, and Euscorpius (Alpiscorpius) croaticus). In this study, the population of E. hadzii from Lastovo Island (formerly Euscorpius carpaticus lagostae) is elevated to species level as Euscorpius lagostae Di Caporiacco, 1950, stat. nov. Euscorpius croaticus is moved to the genus Alpiscorpius as Alpiscorpius croaticus (Di Caporiacco, 1950) comb. nov. The distribution ranges of several species are revised, and based on the new data, a more detailed revision of species distribution is necessary. We attribute the major divergence events to the impact of the Middle Miocene Climate Transition, the Messinian Salinity Crisis, and the Middle Pleistocene Climate Transition. The observed patterns are therefore a direct consequence of the geological history and complex topography of the region, which provided numerous microhabitats, as well as of the Pleistocene microrefugia that enabled their persistence.

Reference:
Podnar M, Grbac I, Tvrtković N, Hörweg C, Haring E. Hidden diversity, ancient divergences, and tentative Pleistocene microrefugia of European scorpions (Euscorpiidae: Euscorpiinae) in the eastern Adriatic region. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research. 2021;Accepted Manuscript:1-26. [Subscriotion required for full text]

Thanks to Luis Roque for sending me this article.

Family Euscorpidae


23 November, 2021

New taxa from a new study of Balkan Euscorpiidae populations

 


Gioele Tropea has recently published a major study of Balkan Euscorpiidae populations. As usual these days, there are still many cryptic species hiding in European Euscorpiidae populations. These are the new taxa described in this article:

New subgenera in the genus Alpiscorpius Gantenbein et al., 1999:

Balkanscorpius Tropea, 2021

Hadzius Tropea, 2021

New species:

Alpiscorpius (Hadzius) karamani Tropea, 2021 (Central and west Serbia)

Alpiscorpius (Balkanscorpius) pavicevici Tropea, 2021 (Southern Serbia, south-west Bulgaria (?))

Alpiscorpius (Balkanscorpius) zloporubovici Tropea, 2021 (Central and west Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina (?))

New status and new combination (raised to species from subspecies):

Alpiscorpius (Balkanscorpius) caporiaccoi (Bonacina, 1980)

Alpiscorpius (Balkanscorpius) dinaricus (Di Caporiacco, 1950)

Synonymization:

Alpiscorpius beroni (Fet, 2000) is synonymized with A. (Balkanscorpius) dinaricus (Di Caporiacco, 1950)

Abstract:
Some Euscorpiinae populations with the trichobothrial series em = 3 from the Balkans, mainly from Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, are examined, resulting in the description of two new subgenera, Balkanscorpius subgen. n. and Hadzius subgen. n., three new species, Alpiscorpius (Hadzius subg. n.) karamani sp. n., A. (Balkanscorpius subg. n.) pavicevici sp. n. and A. (Balkanscorpius subg. n.) zloporubovici sp. n., and elevation to species status in the genus Alpiscorpius Gantenbein et al., 1999 and subgenus Balkanscorpius subgen. n. of A. (Balkanscorpius subg. n.) dinaricus (Di Caporiacco, 1950) stat. n. et comb. n. and A. (Balkanscorpius subg. n.) caporiaccoi (Bonacina, 1980) stat. n. et comb. n. A. beroni (Fet, 2000) has been synonymized with A. (Balkanscorpius subg. n.) dinaricus stat. n. et comb. n. The lectotype for A. (Balkanscorpius subg. n.) caporiaccoi stat. n. et comb. n. is designated. The forgotten species Scorpius bosnensis Mollendorf, 1873 is considered nomen dubium.

Reference:
Tropea G. Concerning some Balkan Euscorpiidae populations (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae). Biologia Serbica. 2021;43.

Thanks to Gioele Tropea for sending me his article!

Family Euscorpiidae

 

17 November, 2021

A new species of Androctonus from Turkey

 


Ersen Yagmur has recently published the description of a new species of Androctonus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Buthidae) from the Şanlıurfa Province in Turkey.

Androctonus turkiyensis Yagmur, 2021

The populations of this species have previously been identified as Anrodoctonus crassicauda (Olivier, 1807).

Abstract:
A new species Androctonus turkiyensis sp. n. is described and illustrated from the Şanlıurfa Province of Turkey. The new species is compared with A. crassicauda (Olivier, 1807), which was previously misidentified from Turkey. A. crassicauda specimens used for comparison were collected from Kashan County (Iran), the type locality of this species; a neotype from Kashan is designated.

Reference:
Yagmur EA. Androctonus turkiyensis sp. n. from the Şanlıurfa Province, Turkey (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2021(341):1-18. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

16 November, 2021

A remarkable find of two new troglobitic species from the Dominican Republic

 


Rolando Teruel and co-workers have recently published an article describing two new fully troglomorphic species in the genus Cazierius Francke, 1978 (Diplocentridae) from isolate limestone caves in the Dominican Republic.

Cazierius cayacoa Teruel, Jimenez & de los Santos, 2021

Cazierius ciguayo Teruel, Jimenez & de los Santos, 2021 

There are little information available for the new species as only one specimen has been found of each species, but hopefully further exploration of the cave systems that are assumed to host these interesting species  will reveal more information about them.

Abstract:
Two new species of the Greater Antillean endemic scorpion genus Cazierius Francke, 1978, are herein described from the island of Hispaniola. They were found inside isolate limestone caves in the Dominican Republic and are fully troglomorphic, thus, apparently being strict troglobites that represent the first ever documented for this genus. The present additions raise the number of Hispaniolan species of both Cazierius and the family Diplocentridae Karsch, 1880, to five and ten, respectively.

Reference:
Teruel R, Jimenez C, de los Santos G. The first troglobitic scorpions from Hispaniola, Greater Antilles: two new species of Cazierius Francke, 1978 (Scorpiones: Diplocentridae). Euscorpius. 2021(340):1-9. [Open Access]

Family Diplocentridae

The identity of Centruroides hoffmanni and a new species of Centruroides from Chiapas, Mexico

 


Luis de Armas & Rolando Teruel have recently published an article discussion the identity of Centruroides hoffmanni Armas 1996 (Buthidae) in Mexico. This work has also resulted in the description of a new species of Centruroides from Chiapas, Mexico, previously misidentified as C. hoffmanni.

Centruroides concordia Armas & Teruel, 2021

Abstract:
The Mexican scorpion Centruroides hoffmanni Armas, 1996 was described on the basis of a supposed adult female (actually a juvenile) from La Gloria, Arriaga Municipality, southwest of the Chiapas State. In its redescription, this species was also recorded from the southeastern of Oaxaca State. Nevertheless, in the recent revision of the “thorellii” species-group of the genus Centruroides Marx, 1890, a new species from Chiapas was misidentified as C. hoffmanni and, also, an erroneous new diagnosis was given for C. hoffmanni. In the present contribution, this new species is named Centruroides concordia sp. n., and the correct identity of C. hoffmanni is established.

Reference:
de Armas LF, Teruel R. The correct identity of Centruroides hoffmanni Armas, 1996 (Scorpiones: Buthidae), with the description of a new species from Chiapas, Mexico. Euscorpius. 2021(339):1-5. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

05 November, 2021

A new, troglomorphic species in the enigmatic genus Troglotayosicus from Ecuador

 


One of the rarest and most enigmatic genera in South America is the troglomorphic genus Troglotayosicus Lourenço, 1981 (Troglotayosicidae). Ricardo Botero-Trujillo and co-workers have recently described a new species in this fascinating genus from Ecuador.

Troglotayosicus ballvei Botero-Trujillo, Ochoa & Prendini, 2021

The new species has troglomorphies, but doesn't seem to be troglobitic in nature as the specimens were collected in the leaf-litter on walls/stones of a collapse cave. It is only T. vachoni Lourenço, 1981 of the six species the genus that has been reported from a cave habitat.

Abstract:
For several decades, Troglotayosicus Lourenço, 1981, remained an enigmatic, monotypic scorpion genus believed to be troglobitic. The discovery and description in recent years of several endogean species of the genus, inhabiting the leaf litter of tropical rainforests in Colombia and Ecuador, advanced knowledge about these scorpions. The known distribution of Troglotayosicus was considerably expanded along the Andes, and it was demonstrated that, despite the absence of median ocelli, the genus is composed primarily of species that inhabit leaf litter. In the present study, Troglotayosicus ballvei, sp. nov., is described from Sacha Huagra Lodge, adjacent to Archidona Municipality, in Napo Province, Ecuador, raising the number of Troglotayosicus species to six, three each in Colombia and Ecuador. An updated map of the known distribution of the genus is presented.

Reference:
Botero-Trujillo R, Ochoa JA, Prendini L. A New Troglomorphic, Leaf-litter Scorpion from Ecuador (Troglotayosicidae: Troglotayosicus). American Museum Novitates. 2021(3981):1-24. [Open Access]

Thanks to Luis Roque for sending me this article!

Family Troglotayosicidae

03 November, 2021

A new species of Trypanothacus from Jordan

 

Mohammad Al-Saraireh and co-workers have recently described a new species of Trypanothacus Lowe, Kovarik, Stockmann & Stahlavsky, 2019 (Buthidae) from Jordan.

Trypanothacus azraqensis Al-Saraireh, Afifeh, Aloufi, Amr & Lourenco, 2021

Abstract:
The genus Trypanothacus Lowe, Kovařík, Stockmann & Šťáhlavský, 2019 (Family Buthidae) is recorded for the first time in Jordan and a new species is described based on specimens collected in the region of Al Azraq.

Reference:
Al-Saraireh M, Afifeh BA, Aloufi A, Amr ZS, Lourenco WR. First record of the genus Trypanothacus Lowe, Kovařík, Stockmann & Šťáhlavský, 2019 in Jordan and description of a new species (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Serket. 2021;18(1):11-21. [Open Access]

Thanks to Dr.Hisham K. El-Hennawy for sending me this article from the journal Serket!

Family Buthidae

02 November, 2021

A new species of Leiurus from Nigeria

 


Wilson Lourenco has recently published an article describing a new species of the medical important genus Leiurus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Buthidae) from a savannah-like habitat in Nigeria.

Leiurus nigerianus Lourenco, 2021

Abstract:
One more African new species belonging to the genus Leiurus Ehrenberg is described. The description is based on two pre-adult male specimens collected in the region of Kaura Namoda, NW of Nigeria. The new species shows affinities with other Leiurus species distributed in the Western portion of Africa; however several characteristics attest that this population is certainly distinct. The ecological features of the type locality are particular since the area is characterised by savannah-like vegetation, instead of arid-desert formations; formation previously defined exclusively for Leiurus savanicola described from Cameroon. The type locality of the new species is the most Southwestern region of Africa in which a Leiurus species was collected.

Reference:
Lourenco WR. A new species of Leiurus Ehrenberg (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Nigeria, with extension of the distribution range of the genus to the Southwestern portion of the African continent. Serket. 2021;18(1):1-10. [Open Access]

Thanks to Dr.Hisham K. El-Hennawy for sending me this article from the journal Serket!

Buthidae

29 October, 2021

Systematics of the ‘thorellii’ clade of Centruroides and the efficacy of mini-barcodes for museum specimens

 


Museums around world have large collections of scorpions collected in the last centuries and the specimens found in these collections are naturally important in the study of scorpion taxonomy and diversity. 

Today's studies on taxonomy and phylogeny are relying more and more on molecular and genetic tools, and old museum specimens may pose a problems for these tools as they have never been preserved in the collections with these in mind. 

Aaron Goodman and co-workers have recently published an article investigating the efficacy of mini-barcodes combined with longer sequences of the Cytochrome c Oxidase Subunit I (COI) gene in the systematics of scorpions. This method can be used on old, badly preserved museums specimens from complete barcodes cannot be obtained.

The results also support the recognition of nine species of the ‘thorellii’ clade, in accordance with a recent taxonomic revision published by the same authors.

Abstract:
Fragmented and degraded DNA is pervasive among museum specimens, hindering molecular phylogenetics and species identification. Mini-barcodes, 200–300-base-pair (bp) fragments of barcoding genes, have proven effective for species-level identification of specimens from which complete barcodes cannot be obtained in many groups, but have yet to be tested in arachnids. The present study investigated the efficacy of mini-barcodes combined with longer sequences of the Cytochrome c Oxidase Subunit I (COI) gene in the systematics of the arboreal Neotropical ‘thorellii’ clade of Centruroides Marx, 1890 bark scorpions (Buthidae, C.L. Koch 1837), the species of which have proven to be difficult to identify and delimit due to their similar morphology. The phylogeny of 53 terminals, representing all nine species of the clade and representative species belonging to related clades of Centruroides, rooted on Heteroctenus junceus (Herbst, 1800) and based on up to 1078 base pairs of COI and 112 morphological characters, is presented to test the monophyly of the clade and the limits of its component species. The results support the recognition of nine species of the ‘thorellii’ clade, in accordance with a recent taxonomic revision, and highlight the efficacy of mini-barcodes for identifying morphologically similar cryptic species using specimens of variable age and preservation.

Reference:
Goodman AM, Prendini L, Esposito LA. Systematics of the Arboreal Neotropical ‘thorellii’Clade of Centruroides Bark Scorpions (Buthidae) and the Efficacy of Mini-Barcodes for Museum Specimens. Diversity. 2021;13(9):441. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

15 October, 2021

Another discovery of a scorpion with a double stinger

 


Malformations in scorpions are well-known, but in a recent research note Salah Eddine Sadine presents one of the more special malformations: The presence of a a double aculeus. This was seen in a female Androctonus amoreuxi (Audouin, 1826) (Buthidae) from Algeria. The female was normal except for the double stinger and this special malformation is probably not a handicap for the scorpion.

Abstract:
An adult female of the buthid scorpion Androctonus amoreuxi (Audouin, 1826) from a palm grove of Ghardaïa region (central Algeria) having a bifid aculeus (double aculeus) is recorded. This type of malformation of the telson has not been previously reported for this species.

Reference:
Sadine SE. A remarkable bifid aculeus in Androctonus amoreuxi (Audouin, 1826) from central Algeria (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Revista Iberica de Arachnologia. 2021(38):191-2.

Thanks to Dr. Sadine for sending me his article!

All you need to know about scorpions of medical importance in Brazilian Amazonas: Epidemiology, medical important species, venom, distribution, habitat and much more

 


Scorpions are a health problem in many parts of the world and Brazil is one of the world's hotspots in this regard. Knowledge of taxonomy (species diversity and who are dangerous or not), distribution, habitat preferences, ecology, venom and reproduction (how fast can a population grow and spread) is essential for preventing sting accidents and scorpionism.

Jonas Gama Martins and co-workers have recently published a very thorough and interesting review on most aspects concerning scorpions of medical importance in Brazilian Amazonas. This article will be an important tool for scientists, health personnel, public agencies and others working with scorpionism in Brazil and in the world.

Abstract:
Scorpionism is a relevant medical condition in Brazil. It is responsible for most accidents involving venomous animals in the country, which leads to severe symptoms that can evolve to death. In recent years, an increase of almost 50% in the incidence of scorpionism has been observed in the Northern Region, where the highest severity of envenoming has been notified since the beginning of the 21st century. This review aims to provide an in-depth assessment of public data and reports on symptoms and epidemiology of envenoming, ecological aspects of scorpions, and characterization of venoms and toxins to access the gaps that need to be filled in the knowledge of the scorpion species of medical importance from the Brazilian Amazon. A systematic search using the string words “Amazon” and “scorpion” was performed on 11 databases. No restriction on date, language or status of the publication was applied. Reports not related to the Brazilian Amazon were excluded. Therefore, 88 studies remained. It is shown that populations of scorpions of medical importance, even of the same species, may present significant toxic variations peculiar to some regions in the Brazilian Amazon, and commercial scorpion antivenoms were not able to shorten the intensity and duration of neurological manifestations in patients stung by T. silvestris, T. apiacas or T. obscurus. It is also highlighted that the toxins responsible for triggering these alterations have not been elucidated yet and this is a fruitful field for the development of more efficient antivenoms. Furthermore, the geographic distribution of scorpions of the genus Tityus in the Brazilian Amazon was revised and updated. The cumulative and detailed information provided in this review may help physicians and scientists interested in scorpionism in the Brazilian Amazon.

Reference:
Martins JG, Santos GC, Procópio REL, Arantes EC, Bordon KCF. Scorpion species of medical importance in the Brazilian Amazon: a review to identify knowledge gaps. J Venom Anim Toxins Incl Trop Dis. 2021;27:e20210012. [Open Access]

Thanks to Jonas Gama Martins for sending me their article!

12 October, 2021

A review of the enigmatic family Pseudochactidae and troglobitism/troglomorphism in scorpions

 


Most scorpion researchers agree that the most remarkable scorpion discovery in the last century was the discovery of the very special scorpion Pseudochactas ovchinnikovi Gromov, 1998 in a remote, mountainous region of southeastern Uzbekistan and southwestern Tajikistan. This species "gave birth" to the family Pseudochactidae. Later one more species in the genus was discovered and the family was further increased two more genera with a few more species. Most of the latter are cavernicolous (found in caves), but not all of them have troglomorphisms like reduced eyes and pigmentation. All of the species in the family are rare and have a relictual distribution.

Lorenzo Prendini and co-workers have now conducted a thorough review of the family Pseudochactidae. Based on morphological and phylogenetical analysis they have concluded the following:

New subfamily:

 Troglokhammouaninae Prendini, Ehrenthal & Loria, 2021.

New genus:

Aemngvantom  Prendini, Ehrenthal & Loria, 2021.

New species:

Aemngvantom thamnongpaseuam Prendini, Ehrenthal & Loria, 2021.

New combination:

Aemngvantom lao (Lourenço, 2012).

Synonymizations:

Troglokhammouanus louisanneorum Lourenço, 2017 is synonymized with  Troglokhammouanus steineri Lourenço, 2007.

Vietbocap thienduongensis Lourenço and Pham, 2012 is synonymized with Vietbocap canhi Lourenço & Pham, 2010.

Vietbocap aurantiacus Lourenço et al., 2018 is synonymized with Vietbocap canhi Lourenço & Pham, 2010.

Vietbocap Vietbocap quinquemilia Lourenço et al., 2018 is synonymized with Vietbocap canhi Lourenço & Pham, 2010.

The family consists now of three subfamilies, four genera and six species. The article has revised descriptions of all species, pictures and habitat information with conservation status. An identification key for the family is also provided.

The article also provide a review of the global diversity of cavernicolous, troglomorphic and troglobitic scorpions and an ecological key to the classification of this kind of scorpions is also presented. 

Abstract:
The first integrative systematic revision of the relictual Asian scorpion family Pseudochactidae Gromov, 1998, making use of an unprecedented collection of material acquired during several expeditions to most of the type localities, is presented. The subfamilies, genera and species of Pseudochactidae are revised based on a phylogenetic analysis of 140 morphological characters and 8608 nucleotide base pairs of concatenated DNA sequence from two nuclear and three mitochondrial gene loci, and a multivariate statistical analysis of 22 ratios and 8 counts for 60 specimens. Three subfamilies, four genera and six species are recognized in the family. Troglokhammouaninae, subfam. nov., is created to restore the monophyly of the nominotypical subfamily Pseudochactinae Gromov, 1998. Aemngvantom, gen. nov., is created to accommodate Aemngvantom lao (Lourenço, 2012), comb. nov., and Aemngvantom thamnongpaseuam gen. et sp. nov. Four new synonyms are presented: Troglokhammouanus louisanneorum Lourenço, 2017 = Troglokhammouanus steineri Lourenço, 2007, syn. nov.; Vietbocap thienduongensis Lourenço and Pham, 2012 = Vietbocap canhi Lourenço and Pham, 2010, syn. nov.; Vietbocap aurantiacus Lourenço et al., 2018 = V. canhi, syn. nov.; Vietbocap quinquemilia Lourenço et al., 2018 = V. canhi, syn. nov. Revised diagnoses of the subfamilies, genera and species, with comparative images, a key and distribution maps are provided, along with a summary of available data on ecology and conservation status, where applicable. Among the Southeast Asian pseudochactids, all of which appear to be obligately cavernicolous, the three species of Vietbocapinae Lourenço, 2012, are highly troglomorphic whereas the sole species of Troglokhammouaninae is barely so. Applying recently revised definitions of the Schiner-Racovitza system for the classification of subterranean organisms, only Vietbocapinae can be considered troglobitic. The global diversity of cavernicolous, troglomorphic and troglobitic scorpions is similarly revisited and a key to ecological classification of cavernicolous and troglomorphic scorpions presented. The world totals of troglomorphic vs. troglobitic scorpions are currently 58 vs. 28 species, in 29 vs. 17 genera and 15 vs. 13 families, respectively.

Reference:
Prendini L, Ehrenthal VL, Loria SF. Systematics of the relictual Asian scorpion family Pseudochactidae Gromov, 1998, with a review of cavernicolous, troglobitic, and troglomorphic scorpions. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 2021(453):1-149. [Open Access]

Thanks to Matt Simon for informing me about this article!

Family Pseudochactidae

01 October, 2021

Six new species of Centruroides from Guatemala and Mexico

 


Aaron Goodman and co-workers have recently published a phylogenetic analysis based on morphology and genetics of the Neotropical “thorellii” clade of Centruroides Marx, 1890 (Buthidae). Six new species have been described. All of them are tree- and bark living, some of them having been found more than 15 meters above the ground. 

Centruroides berstoni Goodman, Prendini, Francke & Esposito, 2021 (Guatemala)

Centruroides catemacoensis Goodman, Prendini, Francke & Esposito, 2021 (Mexico)

Centruroides chanae Goodman, Prendini, Francke & Esposito, 2021 (Mexico)

Centruroides cuauhmapan Goodman, Prendini, Francke & Esposito, 2021 (Mexico)

Centruroides hamadryas Goodman, Prendini, Francke & Esposito, 2021 (Mexico)

Centruroides yucatanensis Goodman, Prendini, Francke & Esposito, 2021 (Mexico)

Revised diagnosis are given for Centruroides hoffmanni Armas, 1996, Centruroides rileyi Sissom, 1995, and Centruroides schmidti Sissom, 1995. A identification key for the species in the “thorellii” clade of Centruroides is also available.

Abstract:
The arboreal Neotropical “thorellii” clade of Centruroides Marx, 1890, bark scorpions (Buthidae C.L. Koch, 1837) is revised, using a novel approach to species delimitation. A phylogenetic analysis, based on 112 morphological characters and 1078 aligned DNA nucleotides from the mitochondrial Cytochrome c Oxidase Subunit I (COI) gene, provided the framework for placing singletons from geographically disparate localities (and often with suboptimal preservation) using COI minibarcodes, thereby enlarging the taxon sample for diagnosis and delimitation of morphological species. Six new species are described, tripling the known diversity in the clade to nine: Centruroides berstoni, sp. nov.; Centruroides catemacoensis, sp. nov.; Centruroides chanae, sp. nov.; Centruroides cuauhmapan, sp. nov.; Centruroides hamadryas, sp. nov.; Centruroides yucatanensis, sp. nov. Revised diagnoses are presented for Centruroides hoffmanni Armas, 1996, Centruroides rileyi Sissom, 1995, and Centruroides schmidti Sissom, 1995. Comparative images, a key and distribution maps for all species of the clade are provided, along with a summary of available data for their ecology.

Reference:
Goodman AM, Prendini L, Francke OF, Esposito LA. Systematic Revision of the Arboreal Neotropical “Thorellii” Clade of Centruroides Marx, 1890, Bark Scorpions (Buthidae C.L. Koch, 1837) with Descriptions of Six New Species. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 2021(452):1-92. [Open Access]

Thanks to Oscar Francke for sending me their article!

Family Buthidae

 

30 September, 2021

A new species of Androctonus from Burkina Faso

 


Eric Ythier has describe a new species of Androctonus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Buthidae) from the Sahelian wooded steppes of Burkina Faso. 

Androctonus burkinensis Ythier, 2021

Abstract:
A new species of Androctonus Ehrenberg, 1828 is described on the basis of one male specimen collected in the wooded steppes of Sahel in Northern Burkina Faso. The new species is characterized by a small size in relation to other species of the genus, a yellowish coloration without any darker spots, and metasomal segments narrow with a moderately deep dorsal depression. This new scorpion taxon represents the 30th known species of the genus Androctonus.

Reference:
Ythier E. A new species of Androctonus Ehrenberg, 1828 from the Sahelian wooded steppes of Burkina Faso (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Faunitaxys. 2021;9(31):1-7. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

28 September, 2021

A new species of Compsobuthus from Saudi Arabia

 


Bassam Abu Afifeha and co-workers have recently described a new species of Compsobuthus Vachon, 1949 (Buthidae) from Ain El-Hamah, Khaybar, Saudi Arabia.

Compsobuthus  khaybari Abu Afifeh, Aloufi & Al-Saraireh, 2021

An identification key for the species of Compsobuthus from Saudi Arabia is included. 

Abstract:
A new species of scorpion belonging to the genus Compsobuthus is described based on a single male specimen collected from Ain El-Hamah, Khaybar, Saudi Arabia. The new species, Compsobuthus khaybari sp. n., belongs to the werneri group of Compsobuthus and is closely related with C. longipalpis and C. fuscatus. A key for species of the genus Compsobuthus known from Saudi Arabia is given. With this new species, the number of Compsobuthus species increases to six.

Reference:
Afifeh BA, Aloufi A, Al-Saraireh M, Amr Z. A new species of Compsobuthus from Saudi Arabia (Arachnida: Scorpiones). Zoology in the Middle East. 2021;Published online: 21 Sep 2021. [Open Access]

Thanks to Luis A. Roque for sending me this article!

Family Buthidae

24 September, 2021

A new species of Pseudouroctonus from Arizona, USA

 


Richard Ayrey and co-workers are continuing their investigations into US vaejovids. This time they have published a descritpion of a new species of  Pseudouroctonus Stahnke, 1974 (Vaejovidae) from Arizona, USA.

Pseudouroctonus moyeri Ayrey, Kovarik & Myers, 2021

In their paper they also synonymize Ruberhieronymus Rossi, 2018 with Pseudouroctonus Stahnke, 1974. The former taxa was never included in The Scorpion Files so change have been done regarding this decision.

Abstract:
A new scorpion species, Pseudouroctonus moyeri sp. n. (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae) is described. This large, dark, reddish brown species is found in the Pinaleño Mountains, Arizona. This is the largest species of Pseudouroctonus found in Arizona. Ruberhieronymus Rossi, 2018 is synonymized with Pseudouroctonus Stahnke, 1974

Reference:
Ayrey RF, Kovarik F, Myers BT. A new species of Pseudouroctonus from the Pinaleño Mountains, southern Arizona (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae). Euscorpius. 2021(338):1-12. [Open Access]

Family Vaejovidae

Two new species of Brachistosternus from high altitude habitats in Chile

 


The deserts in northern Chile have a high scorpion diversity, but many parts of this region are not yet fully investigated. Andres Ojanguren-Affilastro and co-workers have recently publish an article describing two new species of  Brachistosternus Pocock, 1893 (Bothriruidae) from high altitude habitats in the Antofagasta Region in Chile.

Brachistosternus chimba Ojanguren Affilastro, Alfaro & Pizarro-Araya, 2021

Brachistosternus llullaillaco Ojanguren Affilastro, Alfaro & Pizarro-Araya, 2021

Abstract:
We describe two new scorpion species of genus Brachistosternus from protected areas of Antofagasta Region in northern Chile. Brachistosternus chimba n. sp. has only been collected in La Chimba National Reserve, in the Chilean Coast Range. Brachistosternus llullaillaco n. sp. is a high altitude Andean species of the Lullaillaco National Park. Both species were collected as part of the first survey of the terrestrial arthropods of the protected areas of Antofagasta Region, in the frame of the First National Biodiversity Inventory of Chile of the Integrated System for Monitoring and Evaluation of Native Forest Ecosystems (SIMEF) and Project FIC-R Recovery Plan for La Chimba National Reserve.

Reference:
Ojanguren Affilastro AA, Alfaro FM, Pizarro-Araya J. Two new scorpion species from protected areas in Antofagasta Region, Chile (Scorpiones, Bothriuridae, Brachistosternus). Zootaxa. 2021;5040(1):111-31. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Matt Simon for informing me about this article and to Andres for sending it to me! 

Family Bothriuridae

23 September, 2021

Scorpions found at elevated altitudes of an area of conservation in the Caatinga, Brazil

 

In a 2020 article, Phelipe Rêgo Lisboa de Souza and co-workers presented the results of a study of the scorpion fauna at elevated altitudes of an area of conservation in the Caatinga, Brazil. Nine species from Buthidae and Bothriuridae were found in the study area.

Abstract:
This study aims to report the diversity of scorpions at elevated altitudes in the Parque Estadual das Sete Passagens (PESP), in an area of conservation located in the Chapada Diamantina within the Caatinga domain in north-eastern Brazil. Data collection occurred in December 2016 and December 2017, through the use of pitfall traps and nocturnal manual collection with the help of ultraviolet torches. 86 individuals were collected, pertaining to nine species, grouped into two families. The Bothriuridae represented 71% of samples, with Bothriurus sp. 1 occurring at all sample altitudes. Whereas, the Buthidae represente 29% of samples, with Ananteris sp, the most represented species, occurring at altitudes of 1,000m and 1,076m and Tityus stigmurus inhabiting areas with extensive human presence. The ample diversity found in the PESP, reveals that this location can be considered representative of the scorpiofauna of Bahia and of the Caatinga, especially due to the lack of data available on scorpions in semi-arid environments.

Reference:
de Souza PRL, Benati KR, Peres MCL. Scorpions (Arachnida, Scorpiones) at elevated altitudes of an area of conservation in the Caatinga. Ciencia e Natura. 2021;42:e29. [Open Access]

Thanks to Phelipe Rêgo Lisboa de Souza for sending me their article!

16 September, 2021

Phylogeny of the Asian forest scorpions and the evolution of ecomorphotypes


Last year,  Lorenzo Prendini and Stephanie Loria published a huge systematic revision of the Asian Forest Scorpions (Scorpionidae). Recently, they have published a follow-up article with a phylogenetic analysis of these scorpions. This analysis seems to confirm the taxonomic decisions made in the 2020 paper. 

The new article also looks into the ecomorphological adaptions seen in Heterometrinae. Three ecomorphotypes were found: A wet silvicolous (living in or inhabiting woodlands) ecomorphotype inhabiting evergreen forest, a dry silvicolous ecomorphotype inhabiting deciduous forest, and a savannicolous ecomorphotype inhabiting savanna or scrubland. Most Asian scorpionid genera exhibited one or two of these ecomorphotypes among their species. The authors conclude that the ancestor of Asian scorpionids probably was wet silvicolous and inhabited humid, evergreen forests.

Abstract:
Asian forest scorpions (Scorpionidae Latreille, 1802: Heterometrinae Simon, 1879) are distributed across South and Southeast Asia. All are fossorial, constructing burrows under stones or in open ground, in habitats differing in precipitation and vegetation cover, from rainforests and tropical deciduous forests to savanna and scrubland. The systematics of these scorpions has long been confused due to bad taxonomy and the absence of a phylogenetic framework. Although the monophyly of the group was previously confirmed as part of broader phylogenetic analyses based on exemplar species, the only quantitative analysis of species-level variation to date was based on overall similarity. This contribution presents the first species-level phylogenetic analysis of Asian Scorpionidae, based on 186 morphological characters and 4188 aligned base-pairs of DNA sequence data from two nuclear and three mitochondrial loci for 132 terminals including all 41 ingroup species and four outgroup species. Simultaneous analyses of the morphological and molecular datasets with parsimony, Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian Inference provided the framework for a revised classification presented elsewhere. In order to understand how adaptation following dispersal into new habitats has driven the morphological diversification of Asian forest scorpions, species were scored for 10 characters concerning morphology and burrow architecture, which contributed to an ensemble index of adaptation to habitat aridity. Species were classified into three ecomorphotypes based on the index, and ancestral state reconstruction of ecomorphotypes performed on the phylogeny. A pattern was recovered in which lineages and species occurring in different habitats on a continuum from wet (evergreen forest) to dry (savanna, scrubland) exhibited characters presumed to be adaptive and hence responsible for driving scorpion diversification.

Reference:
Loria SF, Prendini L. Burrowing into the forest: Phylogeny of the Asian forest scorpions (Scorpionidae: Heterometrinae) and the evolution of ecomorphotypes. Cladistics. 2021;37(2):109-61. [Subscription required for full text]

Family Scorpionidae