30 July, 2021

A new species of Orthochirus from Algeria


Wilson Lourenco and Saleh Sadine have recently described a new species of Orthochirus Karsch, 1891 (Buthidae) from El-Oued, Debila, in Algeri.

Orthochirus soufiensis Lourenco & Sadine, 2021

A new species of Orthochirus Karsch, 1891 (Scorpiones, Buthidae) is described from El-Oued, Debila, in Algeria. The number of confirmed Orthochirus species from Algeria is now raised to two. Further studies most certainly will clarify the status of yet undescribed populations.

Lourenco WR, Sadine SE. The genus Orthochirus Karsch, 1891, in Algeria with description of a new species (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Bulletin de la Société entomologique de France. 2021;126(2):175-81. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Dr. Sadine for sending me their article!

Family Buthidae

Predation of Tityus ocelote by a lizard in Costa Rica


Lizards eat scorpions, and scorpions eat lizards. Even the infamous Tityus C. L. Koch, 1836 (Buthidae) scorpions have their predators. Ray Gabriel and co-workers report that the anole Norops polylepis (Peters, 1874) in Costa Rica catch and eat the scorpion Tityus ocelote Francke & Stockwell, 1987.

A specimen of the anole Norops polylepis (Peters, 1874) observed consuming a female of Tityus ocelote Francke & Stockwell, 1987 in the Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica is reported. This is the only known natural enemy of this scorpion distributed in southern Costa Rica and northern Panama, and the report also involves the first recorded instance of scorpion predation by N. polylepis.

Gabriel R, Burum B, Sherwood D. Predation of Tityus ocelote (Scorpiones: Buthidae) by the lizard Norops polylepis (Sauria: Dactyloidae) in Costa Rica. Revista Iberica de Arachnologia. 2021(38):187-8.

Thanks to Danniella Sherwood for sending me their article.

29 July, 2021

A new species of Buthus from Algeria


Eric Ythier and co-workers have recently described a new species of Buthus Leach, 1815 (Buthidae) from the Hoggar Massif in southern Algeria.

Buthus ahaggar Ythier, Sadine, Haddadi & Lourenco, 2021

A new species of Buthus is described from the Hoggar Massif located in the South of Algeria. This new species most certainly represents a vicariant element of Buthus tassili Lourenço, species equally described from a Massif formation, the Tassili N’Ajjer, in the South of Algeria. Both species are distributed in high altitudes in these massifs. The studies performed up to now on the Algerian Buthus have a major advantage over those performed for other regions in Africa since done with more precise methods and a better definition of the populations. The number of confirmed species of Buthus in Algeria is raised to ten.

Ythier E, Sadine SE, Haddadi ML, Lourenco WR. A new species of Buthus Leach, 1815 from Algeria (Scorpiones: Buthidae) and an interesting new case of vicariance. Faunitaxys. 2021;9(21):1-9. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

28 July, 2021

Genetic and toxinological study of Tityus trivittatus from Argentina and Paraguay indicates cryptic species in Paraguay with medical importance


The genus Tityus C. L. Koch, 1836 (Buthidae) includes some of the most dangerous species in South America and Tityus trivittatus Kraepelin, 1898 is one of the most medically important species, causing deaths and serious morbidity especially in Argentina. 

Urban populations of Tityus trivittatus have also caused severe cases in children in Paraguay, Adolfo Borges and co-workers have published a genetic and toxinological study of the populations of T. trivittatus in Paraguay. 

Their study confirms the medical important of this scorpion in Paraguay. In addition, the study show a significant difference in the venom composition between the populations from Paraguay and Argentina. This result is probably an evidence that the two populations represent different species. Futher studies are necessary to reveal the taxonomical implications of these findings.

Envenoming by scorpions in genus Tityus is a public health problem in Tropical America. One of the most medically significant species is Tityus trivittatus, which is known to occur from southwest Brazil to central-northern and eastern Argentina. In this work, we studied the lethality, composition, antigenicity, and enzymatic activity of venom from a T. trivittatus population found further north in urban areas of eastern Paraguay, where it has caused serious envenomation of children. Our results indicate that the population is of medical importance as it produces a potently toxic venom with an LD50 around 1.19 mg/kg. Venom neutralization in preliminary mouse bioassays was complete when using Brazilian anti-T. serrulatus antivenom but only partial when using Argentinean anti-T. trivittatus antivenom. Venom competitive solid-phase enzyme immunoassays and immunoblotting from Argentinean and Paraguayan T. trivittatus populations indicated that antigenic differences exist across the species range. SDS-PAGE showed variations in type and relative amounts of venom proteins between T. trivitattus samples from Argentina and Paraguay. MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry indicated that while some sodium channel toxins are shared, including β-toxin Tt1g, others are population-specific. Proteolytic activity by zymography and peptide identification through nESI-MS/MS also point out that population-specific proteases may exist in T. trivitattus, which are postulated to be involved in the envenoming process. A timecalibrated molecular phylogeny of mitochondrial COI sequences revealed a significant (8.14%) genetic differentiation between the Argentinean and Paraguayan populations, which appeared to have diverged between the mid Miocene and early Pliocene. Altogether, toxinological and genetic evidence indicate that T. trivitattus populations from Paraguay and Argentina correspond to distinct, unique cryptic species, and suggest that further venom and taxonomic diversity exists in synanthropic southern South American Tityus than previously thought.

Borges A, Rojas de Arias A, de Almeida Lima S, Lomonte B, Díaz C, Chávez-Olórtegui C, et al. Genetic and toxinological divergence among populations of Tityus trivittatus Kraepelin, 1898 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) inhabiting Paraguay and Argentina. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2020;14(12):e0008899. [Open Access]

Thanks to Adolfo for sending me their article!

27 July, 2021

More news from the Iberian Pennisula


We are not quite finished with news from the Iberian Pennisula after my two posts yesterday. In a recent article by Rolando Teruel and Carlos Turiel they have revised the status of two previously synonymized species from Spain and Portugal. They were originally described in the genus Androctonus and later synonymized with Buthus occitanus: Simon, 1879. Both species are restored as valid species.

Buthus ajax (C. L. Koch, 1839) (Spain)

Buthus halius (C. L. Koch, 1839) (Portugal)

The present paper is a continuation of our taxonomic revision of the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 in the Iberian Peninsula. In this second contribution we revalidate two old and virtually neglected species: Buthus ajax (C. L. Koch, 1839) and Buthus halius (C. L. Koch, 1839). We redescribe both taxa in detail (with the designation of neotypes to stabilise the nomenclature) and clarify their geographical distribution. The West European diversity of Buthus now reaches 12 species, all of them local endemics.

Teruel R, Turiel C. The genus Buthus Leach, 1815 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) in the Iberian Pennisula. Part 2: Two more redescriptions. Revista Iberica de Arachnologia. 2021(38):3-20.

Thanks to Rolando and Carlos for sending me their article!

Family Buthidae

26 July, 2021

Yet another Buthus species from Portugal


As mentioned in my previous post today, the number of species in the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 (Buthidae) in Southwestern Europe has increased a lot. Wilson Lourenco has also recently published a new species from Portugal.

Buthus lusitanus Lourenco, 2021

A new species belonging to the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) is described from the region of Manteigas, ‘Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela’ in the Zêzere Valley in the centre of Portugal. Buthus lusitanus sp. n., shows some morphological affinities, coloration in particular, with Buthus occitanus known from South of France and some regions in Spain. The two species probably represent vicariant elements of an older common ancestor, but only a global molecular study of all presumed populations from the Iberian Peninsula will bring a more clear clarification on their status.

Lourenco WR. Une nouvelle espèce appartenant au genre Buthus Leach, 1815 (Scorpiones : Buthidae) collectée dans le Parc Naturel de la ‘Serra da Estrela’ au Centre du Portugal. Faunitaxys. 2021;9(13):1-7. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

A new species of Buthus from Portugal


As with Euscorpius in Europe Thorell, 1876 (Euscorpiidae),  the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 (Buthidae) in Southwestern Europe has also turned out to be a species complex with many hidden species. E.g., the number of species in the Iberian Peninsula has increased from one to 14 in the last decade. One of these species is a newly described species from the Algarve region, in the South of Portugal.

Buthus gabani Ythier, 2021

A new species of Buthus is described on the basis of one male and one female collected from Cape St. Vincent (Cabo de São Vicente), located in the Algarve region, in the South of Portugal. This new scorpion taxon represents the 3rd known species of the genus Buthus reported from Portugal and the 14th reported from the Iberian Peninsula. In light of recent studies on the genus Buthus in the Iberian Peninsula (Teruel & Turiel, 2020, 2021; Lourenço, 2021) and considering the geographical distribution presented by the new species with respect to the geographically closest species and their respective habitats, previous records of specimens from Algarve originally considered to belong to Buthus ibericus (Lourenço

Ythier E. The southwesternmost scorpion species in Europe: Buthus gabani sp. n. from Cape St. Vincent, Algarve, Portugal (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Faunitaxys. 2021;9(25):1-6. [Open Access]

Thanks to Eric for informing me about the new article!

Family Buthidae