22 June, 2021

First record of Euscorpius lesbiacus from in Turkey

 


 The recently described species Euscorpius lesbiacus Tropea et al., 2020 (Euscorpiidae) from the Greek island Lesvos has now been discovered in Turkey by Ersen Yagmur.

Abstract:
The scorpion species Euscorpius lesbiacus Tropea et al., 2020, previously known only from Lesvos Island (Greece), is recorded for the first time from the İzmir Province, Turkey. Detailed illustrations of E. lesbiacus are given.

Reference:
Yagmur EA. The first record of Euscorpius lesbiacus Tropea et al., 2020 (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae) in Turkey. Euscorpius. 2021(333):1-5. [Open Access]

Family Euscorpiidae

04 June, 2021

A phylogentic analysis of the genus Buthacus

 


A few weeks ago a reported about a  a systematic revision of the Buthacus Birula, 1908 (Buthidae) species of the Levant (the Middle East including Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and the Sinai Peninsula (Egypt)). 

The same authors have now published a study on the phylogeny and biogeography of the genus Buthacus resulting in a revised classification of Levantine Buthacus, and invalidation of the traditional species groups of Buthacus.

Abstract:
Sand scorpions of the genus Buthacus Birula, 1908 (Buthidae C.L. Koch, 1837) are widespread in the sandy deserts of the Palearctic region, occurring from the Atlantic coast of West Africa across the Sahara, and throughout the Middle East to Central Asia. The limits of Buthacus, its two species groups, and many of its species remain unclear, and in need of revision using modern systematic methods. The study presented here set out to investigate the phylogeny and biogeography of the Buthacus species occurring in the Levant, last studied in 1980. A phylogenetic analysis was performed on 104 terminals, including six species collected from more than thirty localities in Israel and other countries in the region. Three mitochondrial and two nuclear gene loci were sequenced for a total of 2,218 aligned base-pairs. Morphological datasets comprising 22 qualitative and 48 quantitative morphological characters were compiled. Molecular and morphological datasets were analyzed separately and simultaneously with Bayesian Inference, Maximum Likelihood, and parsimony. Divergence time and ancestral range estimation analyses were performed, to understand dispersal and diversification. The results support a revised classification of Levantine Buthacus, and invalidate the traditional species groups of Buthacus, instead recovering two geographically-delimited clades, an African clade and an Asian clade, approximately separated by the Jordan Valley (the Jordan Rift Valley or Syro- African Depression), the northernmost part of the Great Rift Valley. The divergence between these clades occurred in the Early Miocene (ca. 19 Ma) in the Levant, coinciding temporally with he existence of two land bridges, which allowed faunal exchange between Africa and Asia.

Reference:
Cain S, Loria SF, Ben-Shlomo R, Prendini L and Gefen E. Dated phylogeny and ancestral range estimation of sand scorpions (Buthidae: Buthacus) reveal Early Miocene divergence across land bridges connecting Africa and Asia. Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2021:107212. [Subscription required for full text]

Family Buthidae

 


25 May, 2021

A new species in the rare genus Somalibuthus from Kenya

 


Some genera are monotypic and very rare. Somalibuthus Kovarik, 1998 (Buthidae) is an example of this and no specimens have been found since the genus' description based on a few specimens collected in 1971 and 1973 in a coastal dune system in southern Somalia. Until now.

Kovarik and Njoroge have recently published an article describing a new species from Kiwayu Island, Kenya.

Somalibuthus sabae Kovarik & Njoroge, 2021

Abstract:
The poorly known buthid genus Somalibuthus Kovařík, 1998, is recorded for the first time from Kenya, with the description of a new species, S. sabae sp. n., from Kiwayu Island in the Kiunga Marine National Reserve. Based on a detailed study of the new materials, a revised diagnosis is given for the genus. Several generic characters suggest affinities with three other genera of small buthids found in the Horn of Africa: Neobuthus Hirst, 1911, Gint Kovařík, Lowe, Plíšková et Šťáhlavský, 2013, and Lanzatus Kovařík, 1998.

Reference:
Kovarik F, Njoroge L. Somalibuthus sabae sp. n., a new buthid scorpion from Kenya (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2021(332):1-19. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

12 May, 2021

A revision of the genus Buthacus from the Middle East with several taxonomical changes

 


The Sand Scorpions, also known as the genus Buthacus Birula, 1908 (Buthidae) are widespread in in the sandy deserts of the Palearctic, from West Africa to India. No modern revision has been done for this sand-loving genus.

Shlomo Cain and co-workers have now published a systematic revision of the Buthacus species of the Levant (the Middle East including Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and the Sinai Peninsula (Egypt)). 

Here are the taxonomical highlights:

New species:

Buthacus amitaii Caine, Gefen & Prendini, 2021 (Israel)

Buthacus arava Caine, Gefen & Prendini, 2021 (Israel and Jordan)

Buthacus levyi Caine, Gefen & Prendini, 2021 (Egypt, Israel and maybe Libya)

New species status/re-validations:

Buthacus armasi Lourenço, 2013 (Southern Algeria)

Buthacus spatzi (Birula, 1911) (Southern Tunisia and western Libya)

Buthacus fuscata Pallary, 1929 (Southern Algeria)

Buthacus nitzani Levy et al., 1973 (Israel and probably also in the Sinai Peninsula (Egypt))

Buthacus tadmorensis (Simon, 1892) (Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, and Turkey)*

Buthacus yotvatensis Levy et al., 1973 (Israel and Jordan)

*) B. tadmorensis was listed as a valid species in The Scorpion Files before this article. It seems that the 2005 synonymization was missed by me.

Synonymizations:

Buthacus macrocentrus (Ehrenberg, 1828) synonymized with Buthacus leptochelys (Ehrenberg, 1829)

See abstract and article for more results and details.

The article has an updated identification key for the genus.

Abstract:
Scorpions of the genus Buthacus Birula, 1908 (Buthidae C.L. Koch, 1837), commonly known as “sand scorpions,” are widespread in the sandy deserts of the Palearctic, from West Africa to India. Although many new species of Buthacus were described in recent years, no modern revision exists for the genus and the limits of many infrageneric taxa remain unclear. The present contribution addresses the species of Buthacus recorded from the Levant, defined here as the region of the Middle East including Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and the Sinai Peninsula (Egypt). Prior to this study, five species and subspecies, including several synonyms, were recognized from the region. Based on extensive new collections, a reassessment of the morphology (including multivariate statistical analysis), and a phylogenetic analysis of morphological and DNA sequence data, published elsewhere, seven species of Buthacus are now recognized from the Levant, raising the number of species in the genus to 30. Three new species are described: Buthacus amitaii, sp. nov., endemic to Israel; Buthacus arava, sp. nov., endemic to Israel and Jordan; and Buthacus levyi, sp. nov., endemic to Egypt, Israel, and perhaps Libya. Buthacus arenicola (Simon, 1885) is redescribed and restricted to northeastern Algeria and central Tunisia, and Buthacus leptochelys (Ehrenberg, 1829) redescribed and restricted to Egypt, Sudan, and perhaps Libya. Buthacus armasi Lourenço, 2013, stat. rev., from southern Algeria, and Buthacus spatzi (Birula, 1911), stat. rev., from southern Tunisia and western Libya, are revalidated, and Buthacus fuscata Pallary, 1929, stat. nov. et stat. rev., from southern Algeria, revalidated and elevated to the rank of species. Buthacus nitzani Levy et al., 1973, stat. nov., currently restricted to Israel but probably present in the Sinai Peninsula (Egypt), is elevated to the rank of species. Buthacus tadmorensis (Simon, 1892), stat. rev., recorded from Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, and Turkey, and Buthacus yotvatensis Levy et al., 1973, stat. rev., endemic to Israel and Jordan, are redescribed and revalidated. Three new synonyms are presented: Androctonus (Leiurus) macrocentrus Ehrenberg, 1828 = Buthacus leptochelys (Ehrenberg, 1829), syn. nov.; Buthus pietschmanni Penther, 1912 = Buthacus tadmorensis (Simon, 1892), syn. nov.; Buthacus granosus Borelli, 1929 = Buthacus leptochelys (Ehrenberg, 1829), syn. nov. Buthacus arenicola and the seven species of Buthacus occurring in the Levant are diagnosed and illustrated to modern standards, with updated distribution maps. A list of the currently recognized species of Buthacus, and a key to identification of the species occurring in the Levant are also presented.

Reference:
Cain S, Gefen E, Prendini L. Systematic Revision of the Sand Scorpions, Genus Buthacus Birula, 1908 (Buthidae C.L. Koch, 1837) of the Levant, with Redescription of Buthacus arenicola (Simon, 1885) from Algeria and Tunisia. Bulletin of The American Museum of Natural History. 2021(450):1-134. [Open access]

Family Buthidae

11 May, 2021

Sexual stings in scorpion courtship are not just rituals

 


Sexual stings during courtship is probably one of the most fascinating behavior in scorpions. This has been documented in many species, but so far it has not been proven the the male actually penetrate the skin of the female  and if venom is injected. Some authors have characterized this behavior as "a ritual". 

Laura Olguin-Perez and co-workers have recently published a very interesting study on sexual sting in Megacormus gertschi Diaz-Najera, 1966 (Euscorpiidae). The confirm that the male penetrate the female repeatedly in the pedipalp tibia-patella intersegmental membrane just before the promenade a deux part of the courtship starts. They also confirm for the first time that the male actually injects venom into the female during the sexual stinging. Interestingly, the authors also demonstrate that the venom composition in males and females differs.

The combination of these results provide evidence that the sexual sting in scorpion courtships are more than a ritualistic behavior, but seem to have a direct role to ensure a successful courtship and mating. More research is needed to unravel the proximate effects the male venom injection has on the females and their behavior against the male.

Abstract:
The males of the Mexican species Megacormus gertschi Diaz-Najera, 1966 (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae: Megacorminae) sting the female repeatedly in the pedipalp tibia-patella intersegmental membrane (TPIM) during the initiation of the promenade a deux. It has been suggested that the male’s venom introduced during this ‘‘sexual sting’’ behavior could generate some sedative effect and reduce the possibility of being cannibalized by the female. However, this is unsupported by evidence regarding venom transference. Here, we provide evidence of perforation of the TPIM by the male aculeus and venom transfer during sexual sting performance. We also provide the first venom characterization of this species and show that it has a sexually dimorphic composition. These results, in combination with observations that the sexual sting is displayed in successful matings with non-defensive females, lead us to consider the pre-insemination sexual stinging as a non-genitalic sexual interaction with a potential role as a courtship element.

Reference:
Olguin-Perez L, Francke OF, Carbajal-Saucedo A. Evidence of piercing and sexual differences in venom composition in a sexual stinging scorpion (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae). J Arachnol. 2021;49:98-107. [Open Access]

Thanks to Oscar Francke for sending me their article!

29 April, 2021

A new species of Leiurus from Egypt

 


Wilson Lourenco and Hisham El-Hennawy have recetly published the discovery of a second species of Leiurus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Buthidae) from Egypt.

Leiurus aegyptiacus Lourenco & El-Hennaway, 2021

Pictures of the new species' super-dry habitat are also presented.

Abstract:
One more new species is described for the genus Leiurus Ehrenberg from Africa. The description is based on one juvenile female collected in the region NE of Maghra, east of the Qattara Depression, Egypt. Although some affinities may be suggested with L. quinquestriatus and L. hebraeus, species distributed in Egypt and Israel, several characteristics attest however that this population is certainly distinct. The type locality of the new species corresponds to a very poorly prospected zone in Egypt and further studies in the area should provide new material confirming the present decision.

Reference:
Lourenco WR, El-Hennawy HK. New considerations on the Leiurus Ehrenberg (Scorpiones: Buthidae) distributed in Africa and description of a particular species from Egypt. Serket. 2021;17(4):325-34. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

A few taxonomical changes in the genus Orthochirus

 


Wilson Lourenco and Eric Ythier have recently published an article with some taxonomical changes in the genera Orthochirus Karsch, 1891 and Orthochiroides Kovarik, 1998 in Africa (Buthidae).

 Genus Orthochiroides Kovarik, 1998 is synonymized with Orthochirus Karsch, 1891 and the three species belonging to to the former is now in Orthochirus.

Orthochirus arenicola Lourenco & Ythier, 2021 - New species from the coasts of Somalia.

Orthochirus aristidis (Simon, 1882) is restored from its synonymy with Orthochirus olivaceus (Karsch, 1881). 

Abstract:
A new species of buthid scorpion, Orthochirus arenicola sp. n. is described from the coasts of Somalia. The scorpion was collected on the beach sand under bush-like herbaceous vegetation by our late Italian colleague Professor P. M. Brignoli. New considerations are also proposed for other related taxa. Orthochirus afar Kovařík & Lowe, 2016 described from Afar, Ethiopia is suggested to be a synonym of Orthochirus aristidis (Simon, 1882); no final decision is taken however face to the impossibility of consulting the types of Orthochirus afar. Orthochirus aristidis is restored from its synonymy with Orthochirus olivaceus (Karsch, 1881). Finally, the genus Orthochiroides Kovařík, 1998 is placed as a junior synonym of Orthochirus Karsch, 1891.

References:
Lourenco WR, Ythier E. A particular new species of Orthochirus Karsch, 1891 from Somalia (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Serket. 2021;17(4):335-49. [Open Access]

Thanks to Eric for sending me their article!

Family Buthidae

 

 

04 April, 2021

A new species of Buthus from Jordan


 Wilson Lourenco and co-workers recently described a new species of Buthus Leach, 1815 (Buthidae) from south-western Jordan.

Buthus nabataeus Lourenço, Abu Afifeh & Al-Saraireh, 2021

Abstract:
We describe here a new species of Buthus from south-western Jordan. The new species shows several common morphological features with Buthus amri Lourenço, Yağmur & Duhem, 2010, described from the region of Aqaba suggesting that both species may correspond to vicariant elements of a common ancestry.

Reference:
Lourenco WR, Abu Afifeh B, Al-Saraireh M, Abu Baker M, Amr Z. New insights into the taxonomy of the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 in Jordan and description of a new species (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Zoology in the Middle East. 2021 [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Jeroen Kooijman for sending me this article!

Family Buthidae

 

02 April, 2021

A new species of Vaejovis from Mexico

 


Gerardo Contreras-Félix and Oscar Francke have recently published a new species of Vaejovis C.L. Koch, 1836 (Vaejovidae) from the State of Guerrero in Mexico.

Vaejovis mendozai Contreras-Félix & Francke, 2021

Abstract:
We describe a new species of Vaejovis C.L. Koch from a forest of pine (Pinus Linnaeus) and oak (Quercus Linnaeus) in the State of Guerrero in Mexico. In addition, the lateral aculear serration (LAS) was examined during the life of several specimens from the species, showing gradual deterioration, ending with complete loss of the structure before the adult stage. Phylogenetic and taxonomic implications of the new findings were discussed, both for the family and for the genus.

Reference:
Contreras-Félix GA, Francke O. New Species of Vaejovis CL Koch, 1836 (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae) with Comments on Lateral Aculear Serrations. Southwestern Entomologist. 2021;46(1):197-210. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for informing me about this article!

Family Vaejovidae

30 March, 2021

Two new species of Hadruroides from Peru and Ecuador

 


Eric Ythier recently publish an article describing two new species in the genus Hadruroides Pocock, 1893 (Caraboctonidae) from Peru and Ecuador.

Hadruroides inti Ythier, 2021

Hadruroides pachamama Ythier, 2021

Abstract:
Two new species belonging to the genus Hadruroides Pocock, 1893 (family Caraboctonidae Kraepelin, 1905) are described on the basis of specimens collected in Arequipa region in southern Peru, and Loja province in southern Ecuador. H. inti sp. n. represents the 17th known species of the genus Hadruroides reported from Peru, and the 22nd species of the subgenus Lourencoides Rossi, 2014. H. pachamama sp. n. represents the 7th known species of the genus Hadruroides reported from Ecuador, and the second species of the subgenus Hadruroides Rossi, 2014. The total number of Hadruroides species is now raised to 24.

Reference:
Ythier E. Two new species of Hadruroides Pocock, 1893 from Peru and Ecuador (Scorpiones, Caraboctonidae). Faunitaxys. 2021;9(11):1-8. [Open Access]

Thanks to Eric for sending me his article!

Family Caraboctonidae

24 March, 2021

Does climate have an impact on body size in scorpions?

 


Scorpions vary in size, both within and between species. This variation may have different causes. Some studies have shown that body size may have been affected by a range of climatic conditions along species ranges, especially when they are distributed across climatic gradients

Andre Lira and co-workers have studied the responses of scorpion body size at different organizational
levels (inter and intraspecific) along a dry-wet climatic gradient in Brazilian forests. Their study provides the first ecological assessment in South America, devoted to the understanding of how body size in scorpions can be modulated by climatic features at both inter- and intraspecific levels. I refer to the abstract or the article for more details on the results.

Abstract:
Body size is believed to be one of the most fundamental functional traits in animals and is evolutionarily conserved in order to guarantee the survival of the species. Besides the phylogenetic backgrounds, body size patterns might be a product of environmental filters, especially within fine taxonomic levels (i.e., within species or geographical lineages). Here, we evaluated the responses of scorpion body size at different organizational levels (inter and intraspecific) along a dry-wet climatic gradient in Brazilian forests. Scorpions were collected from 20 localities in northeastern Brazil, covering 12 sites of dry forests and eight sites in rainforest environments. As a proxy for body size, we measured the carapace length of 368 adult scorpions belonging to 11 species and applied linear mixed-effects models to investigate the potential effects of climatic features and geographical tendencies in this trait at inter- and intraspecific levels. Our findings suggest the existence of a longitudinal pattern of body size in scorpions with species becoming larger in an east-west direction (i.e., towards the continent); such geographical tendency was also detected for one of the three species analyzed at the population level. In addition, the warmer temperature had a negative effect on body size in scorpions at inter- and intraspecific levels. Based on these findings, we assert that body size in scorpions is not affected solely by their phylogenetic history, but also by the physiological constraints imposed by the environment, which becomes more evident across climatic gradients.

Reference:
Lira AFA, Foerster SIA, Albuquerque CMR, Moura GJB. Contrasting patterns at interspecific and intraspecific levels in scorpion body size across a climatic gradient from rainforest to dryland vegetation. Zoology (Jena). 2021;146:125908. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Andre and Stenio for sending me their articles!

23 March, 2021

Understanding the effects of human disturbance on scorpion diversity in Brazilian tropical forests

 


Andre Lira and Stênio Foerster have together with several other researchers published several articles on scorpion ecology in late 2020 and in 2021. I have several of these on my desk waiting for time to read them, and I must apologize to you who send me articles that it sometime takes too much time before I blog about them. But time is limited these days, and blogging is unfortunately not my main job.

In the present article, Andre Lira and co-workers have studied the effects on human disturbance (mainly transforming the original habitats into agricultural land) on the scorpion populations. Interestingly, in their study the species richness was less sensitive to changes in landscape configuration than species composition and abundance. 

Studies like this are important for understanding the consequences of habitat destruction and transformation, and hopefully will be used by politicians and other decision makers who are responsible for protecting vulnerable habitats.

Abstract:
The effects of land use conversion on the maintenance of biodiversity remains a major issue in conservation biology. With this as context, recent studies have successfully evaluated the potential of scorpions as bio-indicators of human disturbance. Here, we explored this assumption to identify the effects of landscape structure on scorpion assemblages distributed in two tropical environments in Brazil, with different levels of human disturbance. Scorpions were collected from 28 sampling localities across the Atlantic Forest (n = 12) and Caatinga dry forest (n = 16), resulting in 3,781 specimens from 13 species, 5 genera, and 2 families. We found that scorpion species composition and abundance were more sensitive to changes in landscape configuration than was species richness. Additionally, scorpion assemblage responses were quite different between the two environments. From this observation we highlighted three main findings: (i) the Atlantic Forest assemblage possesses an abundance-dependent response to landscape; (ii) variation in species composition of Atlantic Forest and Caatinga were affected by landscape diversity and presence of croplands, respectively; (iii) the Atlantic Forest is inhabited by assemblages that are more sensitive to landscape changes than that is Caatinga.
Implications for insect conservation We argue that a site-dependent process may explain the effects of human activities on scorpion assemblages at local and regional scale. Moreover, we provide substantial information for decision-makers to support their conservation strategies for neglected ecosystems, such as those present in Caatinga and the Atlantic Forest.

Reference:
Lira AFA, Foerster SIA, Salomão RP, Porto TJ, Albuquerque CMR, Moura GJB. Understanding the effects of human disturbance on scorpion diversity in Brazilian tropical forests. J Insect Conserv. 2021;25(1):147-58. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Andre and Stenio for sending me their articles!

16 March, 2021

A new species of the rare genus Birulatus from Jordan

 


Wilson Lourenco and a group of Jordanian co-workers have recently described a new species of Birulatus Vachon, 1974 (Buthidae) from Jordan.

Birulatus jordanensis Lourenço, Al-Saraireh, Afifeh, Baker, Bader-Katbeh & Amr, 2021

Abstract:
New insights are proposed on the taxonomy of the enigmatic genus Birulatus Vachon, 1974. For the first time, one male of the type species Birulatus haasi Vachon, 1974, is diagnosed and illustrated, confirming the patterns of some characters such as the trichobothriotaxy. One new species, Birulatus jordanensis n. sp., is also described based on two female specimens collected from a mostly arid and rocky site located nearby an intermediate region (within the Irano-Turanian biogeographic zone) located between the East Mediterranean Mountains and the Jordan Valley. The species of the genus Birulatus remain rarely collected and their total number is now raised to four.

Reference:
Lourenco WR, Al-Saraireh M, Afifeh BA, Baker MA, Bader-Katbeh A, Amr Z. New insights on the taxonomy of the genus Birulatus Vachon, 1974, and description of a new remarkable species from Jordan (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Bulletin de la Société Entomologique de France. 2021;126(1):123-32. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Hisham K. El-Hennawy and Jeroen Kooijman for sending me this article!

Family Buthidae

11 March, 2021

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit

 


Jessica S. Azzinnari and co-workers have described a new species of Vaejovis C.L. Koch, 1836 (Vaejovidae) from the Sierra Madre Occidental of Durango, Mexico. 

Vaejovis baggins Azzinnari, Bryson, Graham, Solis-Rojas & Sissom, 2021

If you didn't understand the title of this post, google it! ;)

Abstract:
A new montane species of Vaejovis C.L. Koch (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae) is described from the Sierra Madre Occidental of Durango, Mexico. Vaejovis baggins Azzinnari, Bryson, Graham, Solís-Rojas, and Sissom, new species, is similar to mexicanus group species in the mountain range, including V. montanus Graham and Bryson, V. sierrae Sissom, Graham, Donaldson, and Bryson, and V. mcwesti Sissom, Graham, Donaldson, and Bryson, but differs from these species based on aspects of body size, pedipalp carination, chelae granulation, morphometrics, and setal patterns on the metasoma. A molecular clock estimate indicates that the new species shared a common ancestor with V. mcwesti during the late Miocene or Pliocene.

Reference:
Azzinnari JS, Bryson Jr RW, Graham MR, Solís-Rojas C, Sissom WD. A new Vaejovis C. L. Koch from the Sierra Madre Occidental of Durango, Mexico (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae). Insecta Mundi. 2021(0852):1–12. [Open Access]

Thanks to Matt Simon for informing me about this paper!

Family Vaejovidae

Scorpions from the state of Acre, southwestern Brazilian Amazon

 


Mapping the biodiversity of scorpions in different areas is very important for several reasons. One obvious reason is off course to learn the effects of climate changes and habitat destruction. Andre Felipe de Araujo Lira and co-workers have recently published a research note on the scorpion population the state of
Acre, southwestern Brazilian Amazon.

Abstract:
Although Brazil has one of the highest scorpion diversities worldwide, the scorpion fauna of the Amazon region remains relatively poorly described. In this study, we updated the list of scorpion species from the state of Acre, in the southwestern Brazilian Amazon, based on a revision of records contained in Brazilian arachnid collections and a survey of the relevant literature. We recorded the occurrence of seven scorpion species belonging to two families (Buthidae and Chactidae) among which we report three new records (Ananteris sp., Tityus (Tityus) gasci, and Chactopsis cf. insignis) for Acre. The results presented herein make an important contribution to the knowledge on scorpion diversity in the Amazonian forests of Acre.

Reference:
Lira AFdA, Guilherme E, Souza MBd, Carvalho LS. Scorpions (Arachnida, Scorpiones) from the state of Acre, southwestern Brazilian Amazon. Acta Amazonica. 2021;51(1):58-62. [Open Access]

03 March, 2021

The hunt for easy money from venom extraction may cause the extinction of some scorpion species

 


I guess many of you have seen reports in the media about the value of scorpion venom for research and that it is possible to earn millions of US$ on venom extraction. I get email inquires regularly from hopeful amateurs in Asia that want information about how to get scorpions and how to milk them.

This hunt for easy money may have an impact on the scorpion populations in many areas and may drive species to extinctions. A recent article by Alireza Zamani addresses this challenge and is well worth a read.

And for any money hungry scorpion hunters out there: There are serious doubts about the quality of the venom being extracted at amateur scorpion farms and most serious venom suppliers are probably not interested in purchasing amateur products. So leave the scorpions in nature and get rich in another way!

Abstract:
The pharmacological utility of various biochemical compounds in scorpion venom offers promise in several research fields but its potential economic value has placed pressure on scorpion populations already threatened by habitat destruction and overharvesting for the international trade in exotic pets. Since at least 2016, several countries in Africa and Asia reported an increase in the number of people investing in farms for maintaining scorpions and extracting (‘milking’) their venom for commercial use. In addition to serious doubts about the quality of the venom extracted at these farms, repeated collecting of wild specimens may denude an area of scorpions. Given estimates of a million species threatened with extinction over the next decade, unsustainable overexploitation remains a major driver of biodiversity loss. The amateur venom-extraction business has the potential to adversely affect scorpion biodiversity in several biologically rich but poorly documented countries, which calls for urgent action from governments, universities and scientific societies to enhance the conservation of local scorpions. The following activities should thus be initiated or expanded: faunistic surveys and developing national lists of endemic species, red-listing threatened and endangered species using the IUCN Red List categories and criteria, educating local communities, and ceasing to issue permits for the collection of scorpions for commercial exploitation of any kind.

Reference:
Zamani A, Sääksjärvi IE, Prendini L. Amateur venom-extraction business may hasten extinction of scorpions. Arachnologische Mitteilungen. 2021;61:20-3.[Open Access]

Thanks to Jeroen Kooijman for sending me this article!