09 August, 2022

A new species of Androctonus from Libya

 


Wilson Lourenco and Hisham El-Hennawy have recently described a new species of Androctonus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Buthidae) from the Tibesti Massif in Libya.

Androctonus tibesti Lourenco & El-Hennaway, 2022

The biogeography of the region is also discussed.

Abstract:
A further new species of scorpion belonging to the genus Androctonus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Family Buthidae C.L. Koch, 1837), is described on the basis of one male specimen collected in the NE range of the Tibesti Mountains in Libya. This is the first record of the genus Androctonus for the Tibesti Massif and the new species most certainly corresponds to an endemic element to this mountain range. As in previous studied cases, these Saharan Massifs prove to be very important endemic centres within the Sahara desert.

Reference:
Lourenco WR, El-Hennawy HK. A new species of Androctonus Ehrenberg, 1828 from the North East portion of the Tibesti Massif in Libya (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Serket. 2022;18(4):428-40. [Open Access]

Thanks to Hisham El-Hennawy for informing me about their article!

Family Buthidae

A new species of Leiurus from Iraq

 


Wilson Lourenco has recently published a description of a new species of Leiurus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Buthidae) from the Al-Anbâr Province in Iraq.

Leiurus maculatus Lourenco, 2022.

A new subgenus is also created to accomodate the new species that has characteristics both from Leiurus and Buthus Leach, 1815.

Iraquioleiurus Lourenco, 2022

Abstract:
A new species of buthid scorpion belonging to the genus Leiurus Ehrenberg is described based on one female collected in the Al-Anbâr Province in Iraq. Since the early 2000s, the genus Leiurus Ehrenberg, 1828 (family Buthidae) started to be the subject of several new studies. Some of the populations previously considered as subspecies were raised to the rank of species, but also many new species have been described. Nevertheless, although the important number of modifications brought to the composition of the genus Leiurus, no attempt was done to divide it in sub generic units. The study of an atypical new species of Leiurus from Iraq, suggests the creation of a new subgenus to accommodate it. Further investigations should bring more precise conclusions about the status of this particular population. The type locality of the new species represents the first confirmed record of the genus Leiurus for Iraq.

Reference:
Lourenco WR. A new subgenus and species of Leiurus Ehrenberg, 1828 from Iraq (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Serket.18(4):421-7. [Open Access]

Thanks to Hisham El-Hennawy for informing me about this article!

Family Buthidae

04 August, 2022

An update on the infamous, medical important buthid Tityus serrulatus from Brazil

 


Among the most dangerous scorpions in the word, the genus Tityus C. L. Koch, 1836 (Buthidae) from South America has some of the most potent species. Bad guy number one in the genus is probably the Brazilian species Tityus serrulatus Lutz & Mello, 1922. The species is well known for its medical potency, but also for its rapid geographical expansion, occurrence in urban habitats and for its large populations of asexual (parthenogentic) members.

Wilson Lourenco has recently published an update on the historical, geographical and ecological aspects connected to this important species. The article also discuss the status of other species in the genus.

Abstract:
A synopsis on the historical, geographical and ecological aspects related to the most conspicuous scorpion species of the genus Tityus known from Brazil is proposed. Tityus serrulatus Lutz & Mello, 1922 was described precisely one century ago, nevertheless many questions related to its ecological adaptations and geographical expansion remain without a precise response. This species, well known for its infamous reputation of noxious species, is also known for its capacity to reproduce asexually, by parthenogenesis. Although the individuals of a given population are considered clones, a new hypothesis could  suggest the occurrence of mutations within isolated individuals, leading to distinct subpopulations that could present better phenotypic performances in ecological habitats distinct from those of the original area of distribution of the species.

Reference:
Lourenço WR. Back to Tityus serrulatus Lutz & Mello, 1922 (Scorpiones: Buthidae): new comments about an old species. J Venom Anim Toxins Incl Trop Dis. 2022;28:e20220016. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

02 August, 2022

An update on the scorpion fauna of Djibouti

 


Frantisek Kovarik and Graeme Lowe have published a new paper from their ongoing studies of the scorpions of the Horn of Africa. In the recent study they focus on scorpions from Djibouti based on new materials. All known species are listed with information and pictures and the following taxonomical decisions have been made:

New species:

Hemiscorpius lipsae Kovarik & Lowe, 2022 (family Hemiscorpiidae) 

Synonymizations:

Orthochirus borrii Rossi, 2017 (Buthidae) is synonymized with O. afar Kovařík & Lowe, 2016. NB! O. borriiwas never registered in The Scorpion Files.

Orthochirus aristidis (Simon, 1882) (Buthidae) is returned to synonymy with O. olivaceus Karsch, 1881.

Orthochirus arenicola Lourenço & Ythier, 2021 (Buthidae) is considered nomen dubium.

The article also has a revision of the diagnosis of Orthochirus afar Kovařík & Lowe, 2016 (Buthidae).

Abstract:
All scorpion species known from Djibouti are listed, with color photographs and maps of their distribution. Buthus awashensis Kovařík, 2011 known from Ethiopia and Somaliland is reported for the first time from Djibouti. The diagnosis of Orthochirus afar Kovařík & Lowe, 2016 is revised; O. borrii Rossi, 2017 is determined to be a junior synonym of O. afar Kovařík & Lowe, 2016 syn. n.; O. aristidis (Simon, 1882) syn. res. is returned to synonymy with O. olivaceus Karsch, 1881; and O. arenicola Lourenço & Ythier, 2021, is relegated to the status of nomen dubium. Hemiscorpius lipsae sp. n. is described and fully complemented with color photos of the female holotype and its habitat.

Reference:
Kovarik F, Lowe G. Scorpions of the Horn of Africa (Arachnida, Scorpiones). Part XXVIII. Scorpions of Djibouti. Euscorpius. 2022(357):1-31.

Family Buthidae

Family Hemiscoriidae

29 July, 2022

"Smelling" the enemy triggers anti-predator behavior in Ananteris mauryi

 


Fear is a powerful agent both in humans and animals and has an impact on behavior. For scorpions, the fear of being eaten by a predator (e.g. another scorpion) should promote behavior to avoid this happening. Matheus Feitosa and co--workers have recently publish an study on Ananteris mauryi Lourenço, 1982 (Buthidae) abilities to detect chemical cues left by its predator Tityus pusillus Pocock, 1893 (Buthidae) in the substrate when exploring new sites, and if this results in behavioral responses to avoid the risk of encounters and predation.

Their study confirms that Ananteris mauryi seems to be able to taste/smell its enemy Tityus pusillus because it tended to avoid substrates with chemical traces of T. pusillus. In addition, the taste/smell of its enemy also triggered anti-prdator behaviors like tail wagging.

Abstract:
Fear level and intraguild predation are factors that act together to directly influence animal behavior, population dynamics, and community structure. These factors trigger stress, which promotes behavioral, morphological, physiological, and demographic changes, especially in the prey. Some invertebrates, such as scorpions, are known to have a refined chemoreception system to perceive both prey and predators. Therefore, we investigated the ability of an intraguild prey, the scorpion Ananteris mauryi Lourenço, 1982, to detect chemical traces of its predator, the scorpion Tityus pusillus Pocock, 1893. Our goal was to verify whether A. mauryi exhibits antipredator behavior induced exclusively by chemical cues from its predator. Ananteris mauryi specimens were subjected to two experimental treatments: one with and one without traces of T. pusillus. The results showed that A. mauryi tended to avoid substrates with chemical traces of T. pusillus, confirming its capacity for chemical detection. As a result of this perception, changes in behavioral frequencies were triggered, generating an antipredator behavioral repertoire. These findings were supported by behavioral changes, such as tail wagging, which is performed exclusively by scorpions in the presence of a predator and at imminent risk of predation.

Reference:
Feitosa MLB, Dionisio-da-Silva W, Lira A, Teles-Pontes WJ. Fear as an enemy? Behavioral changes of Ananteris mauryi Lourenço, 1982 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) are triggered by chemical cues from an intraguild predator. Can J Zool. 2022;100:488-93 [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Andre Lira for sending me his articles!


The effect of microhabitat use on the foraging and diet of Centruroides vittatus in blackbrush habitat of south Texas

 


Scorpions utilize different habitats and the choice of microhabitat is usually influenced by prey availability, predator size and risk of predation/cannibalism. Neal McReynolds has previously published a couple of articles on habitat selection and prey capture in the buthid Centruroides vittatus (Say, 1821). In his recent study he has investigated the effect of microhabitat use on the foraging and diet of C. vittatus in blackbrush habitat of south Texas.

The main conslusion is that size classes of C. vittatus use vegetation and the ground for various reasons. The uses of these microhabitats are not mutually exclusive. Check out the abstract and the full article for alle the data collected in this interesting study. 

Abstract:
Microhabitat use by predators can be influenced by prey availability, predator size and risk of cannibalism. The preferred microhabitat for a predator can be for foraging, feeding or as a refuge. In this study in south Texas, Centruroides vittatus (Say, 1821) of all size classes utilized both ground and vegetation microhabitats. There was a high proportion of scorpions with caterpillars in legumes and low proportion of scorpions with any of the prey types on the ground. The median height of scorpions with prey did vary, with scorpions on legumes with caterpillar prey the highest and scorpions on other vegetation with dangerous prey the lowest. Intermediate size scorpions used legumes at a high frequency during January–April, and large scorpions used succulents at very high frequency during September–December. Scorpions climbed higher in blackbrush and other legumes than in other vegetation types. These results suggest that scorpions are actively foraging for caterpillars in legumes, and legumes are a quality microhabitat for foraging. The low proportion of scorpions with prey on the ground suggests that C. vittatus feed on prey on vegetation even if the prey was captured on the ground. A possible advantage for the scorpion to handle and consume prey on vegetation is lower predation risk or interference while feeding. The high use of succulents by the large scorpions cannot be explained by foraging success. A possibility is that succulents are preferred refuges by all C. vittatus but smaller scorpions avoid succulents because of the risk of cannibalism by the larger scorpions.

Reference:
McReynolds CN. The effect of microhabitat use on the foraging and diet of the striped bark scorpion, Centruroides vittatus (Buthidae: Scorpiones) in blackbrush habitat of south Texas. J Arachnol. 2022;50(1):90-100. [Open Access]


28 July, 2022

A new species of Androctonus from Iran

 


Hossein Barahoei and co-workers have recently described a new species in the medical important genus Androctonus Hemprich & Ehrenberg, 1828 (Buthidae) from southeastern Iran.

Androctonus sistanus Barahoei & Mirshamsi, 2022

A redescritpion of Androctonus baluchicus (Pocock, 1900) is also presented and the authors conclude that all previous reports of this species from Iran is probably of Androctonus sistanus and that A. baluchicus is not present in Iran.

Abstract:
The genus Androctonus Hemprich et Ehrenberg, 1828 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) is composed of 33 species and distributed in the Middle East and North Africa. Among these taxa, only Androctonus baluchicus (Pocock, 1900) and A. crassicauda (Olivier, 1807) are reported from Iran. Specimens collected from north of Sistan & Baluchistan Province (southern Iran) from 2016 to 2021 allow to re-assess the taxonomic status of Iranian species. Androctonus baluchicus is re-described and A. sistanus Barahoei et Mirshamsi, sp.n. described from southeast Iran. A. baluchicus is distributed in the Baluchistan region (including
northwest Pakistan, southwest Afghanistan), whereas A. sistanus Barahoei et Mirshamsi, sp.n. is only known the type locality.

Reference:
Barahoei H, Mirshamsi O, Sanchouli N, Moghaddam MG, Lehmann-Graber C, Monod L. Review of Androctonus baluchicus (Pocock, 1900) with description of new species from Iran (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Arthropoda Selecta. 2022;31(2):197-212. [Open Access]

Thanks to Lukasz Kogut for informing me about this article!

Family Buthidae

26 July, 2022

Yet another new species in the genus Buthus from Spain

 


Rolando Teruel and Carlos Turiel are still publishing new taxa from their ongoing study of the scorpion fauna of the Iberian Peninsula. In the current article a new species of Buthus Leach, 1815 is described from the Cabo de Gata region of southeastern Andalucia in southern Spain.

Buthus iaspis Teruel & Turiel, 2022

Abstract:
The present paper is the fourth contribution of our taxonomic revision of the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 in the Iberian Peninsula. Herein, we describe a new species from the Cabo de Gata region of southeastern Andalucia (southern Spain). This species is morphologically remarkable and resembles only Buthus manchego Teruel & Turin, 2020, known only from the upper Guadina river basin in the Submeseta Sur, in the area where Ciudad Real adjoins Albacete (central Spain). The West European diversity of Buthus now reaches 17 species, all of them being local endemics.

Reference:
Teruel R, Turiel C. The genus Buthus Leach, 1815 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) in the Iberian peninsula. Part 4: A new species from southern Spain. Revista Iberica de Arachnologia. 2022(40):19-29.

Thanks to Rolando and Carlos for sending me their article!

Family Buthidae

Several taxonomic changes after a reanalysis of Microcharmidae, Grosphus and Teruelius

 

 
Graeme Lowe and Frantisek Kovarik recently published an article where they did a morphometric analysis of the family Microcharmidae Lourenco, 1996 and the genera Grosphus Simon, 1880 and Teruelius Lowe & Kovarik, 2019. The following taxonomic decisions were made:

The family Microcharmidae Lourenco, 1996 with its two genera is synomymized with the family Buthidae C. L. Koch, 1837.

The genus Teruelius Lowe & Kovarik, 2019 (22 species) is restored from synonymy with Grosphus Simon, 1880 (14 species).

Two new species are described:

Grosphus angulatus Lowe & Kovarik, 2022 (Madagascar)

Teruelius haeckeli Lowe & Kovarik, 2022 (Madagascar)

Abstract:
The genus Teruelius Lowe & Kovařík, 2019, was created for a subset of species originally included under Grosphus Simon, 1880, but was subsequently synonymized with Grosphus. We reanalyze Teruelius and Grosphus by scoring 45 discrete characters, and 32 discrete + 17 continuous characters, for all 36 included species, plus 11 related buthids as outgroup taxa. Morphometric analyses are systematically applied to quantify variation in continuous characters, including: carapace length, carapace anterior concavity, carapace preocular length, hemispermatophore posterior lobe length, tibial spur length/ tibia distal depth ratio, metasoma I length/ width ratio, pectine tooth length/ width ratio, pedipalp femur petite ‘trichobothrium’ d2 position, pedipalp fixed finger relative position of trichobothria db vs. est, and pedipalp manus relative position of Eb trichobothria. Elliptic Fourier analyses and principal components analyses are applied to quantify variation in sternite IV spiracle aperture profiles, female basal pectinal tooth shapes and telson lateral profiles. Laser light scattering is applied to quantify differences in optical reflectance of sternite VII arising from cuticular lattice microstructures. Spectral image analysis is applied to quantify differences in granulation of metasoma I ventrosubmedian carinae. The use of UV fluorescence as a quantitative taxonomic character is critically reviewed. Six binary characters are proposed for differential diagnosis of Teruelius vs. Grosphus. Phylogenetic analyses rooting trees with 8 individual outgroup taxa, or with multiple outgroup taxa under morphological and molecular backbone constraints, all yield overwhelming support for the monophyly of Teruelius, and the genus is reinstated. The position of outgroup taxon Microcharmus in a separate family is not supported by any diagnostic characters or phylogenetic analysis, and Microcharmidae is synonymized with Buthidae. Two new species, Grosphus angulatus sp. n. and Teruelius haeckeli sp. n. are described.

Reference:
Lowe G, Kovarik F. Reanalysis of Teruelius and Grosphus (Scorpiones: Buthidae) with descriptions of two new species. Euscorpius. 2022(356):1-105. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

14 July, 2022

A new study of the genetics of the buthid genus Gint, endemic to the Horn of Africa

 


The genus Gint Kovarik, Lowe, Pliskova & Stahlavsky, 2013 (Buthidae) is endemic to the Horn of Africa with 12 species. Pavel Just and co-workers have recently published a study trying determinate the mechanisms of karyotype differentiation in this genus.

Their results showed that the Gint species exhibited substantial karyotype diversity and a high incidence of chromosome heterozygosity. This stuff is way over my head and I have to refer to the abstract and the article for further details on the study and its implications.

Abstract:
To determine the mechanisms of karyotype differentiation in scorpions of the genus Gint, we employed an integrative approach, combining cytogenetic data and sequence-based phylogeny. We cytogenetically examined six species with emphasis on multivalent meiotic configurations, 18S rDNA and (TTAGG)n distribution and compared chromosomal data with genetic divergence based on analysis of 16S rRNA and COI gene markers. Our results show that Gint species exhibit substantial karyotype diversity (2n = 18–45) and a high incidence of chromosome heterozygosity. Meiotic chromosome chains formed by up to six elements were found in 85% of analysed individuals, causing intraspecific chromosome variation in three species. Fluorescence in situ hybridization revealed that the 18S rDNA distribution pattern differed in Gint species, including at the intrapopulation level, but the chromosomal localization of (TTAGG)n motif was stable across species. Conspicuous interspecific differences in chromosome counts broadly corresponded with genetic divergence among Gint species. Our findings indicate that Gint karyotypes have undergone dynamic reorganization through independent fusions, fissions and reciprocal translocations. Owing to present chromosomal polymorphism, such structural changes shaping the genome architecture appear to be still ongoing in the populations of some Gint species.

Reference:
Just P, Šťáhlavský F, Kovařík F, Štundlová J. Tracking the trends of karyotype differentiation in the phylogenetic context of Gint, a scorpion genus endemic to the Horn of Africa (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 2022. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Frantisek Kovarik for sending me their article!

Family Buthidae

29 June, 2022

New fossil scorpion taxa

 


I have learned about two new articles on scorpion fossil taxa. The Scorpion Files only includes extant taxa, but here are the new fossil taxa reported in the two articles cited below.

New family:

Protochactidae Lourenço, Magnani & Stockar, 2022

New genus:

Protochactas Lourenço, Magnani & Stockar, 2022

New species:

Protochactas furreri Lourenço, Magnani & Stockar, 2022 (Limestone, Southern Alps)

Chaerilobuthus brandti Lourenço, 2022 (Amber, Myanmar)

Abstract:

Paper 1:
One new family, genus, and species of fossil scorpion are described from the Meride Limestone (Ladinian, Middle Triassic) of Monte San Giorgio (Southern Alps). This new discovery brings further evidence for the recovery of terrestrial forms of scorpions, following the Late-Permian mass extinction. The new fossil family proposed at present can, once again, be classified within extant familial groups; in this case the superfamily Chactoidea (sensu Lourenço). These results reinforce the proposition that modern scorpions may belong to lineages present at least for 240 Myr.

Paper 2:
A further new species of fossil scorpion belonging to the genus Chaerilobuthus Lourenço & Beigel, 2011 is described from Early Cretaceous Burmite. Chaerilobuthus brandti Lourenço sp. n., is the 12th species to be described for this genus confirming its speciose character. The new species equally shows quite distinct characters when compared to the previous known species, confirming therefore the existence of an important morphological variability within Chaerilobuthus.

References:

Paper 1:
Magnani F, Stockar R, Lourenço WR. A new family, genus and species of fossil scorpion from the Meride Limestone (Middle Triassic) of Monte San Giorgio (Switzerland). Faunitaxys. 2022;10(24):1-7. [Open Access]

Paper 2:
Lourenço WR, Velten J. The remarkable variability of the genus Chaerilobuthus Lourenço & Beigel, 2011 (Scorpiones: Chaerilobuthidae) and description of a new species from Early Cretaceous Burmite. Faunitaxys. 2022;10(10):1-6. [Open Access]

Thanks to Nicolas Machiavel for informing me about these two articles!

How does Paruroctonus utahensis find its way home

 


Finding the way home is an important skill for burrowing scorpions like Paruroctonus utahensis (Williams, 1968) (Vaejovidae). There have been some indications that scorpions use a view-based navigational process termed "Navigation by Scene Familiarity", which has been seen in bees and ants. Douglas Gaffin and co-workers have recently published a study where they investigate if scorpions may be guided by tastes and touches acquired via their mid-ventral pectines, instead of or in addition to vision.

The authors have named this form of homing "The Navigation by Chemotextural Familiarity Hypothesis (NCFH)". In their study they find evidence of learning walks during burrowing in Paruroctonus utahensis and they conclude that these putative learning walks, together with recently reported path integration in scorpions, may provide the crucial home-directed information requisite for NCFH. 

Abstract:
The navigation by chemo-textural familiarity hypothesis (NCFH) suggests that scorpions use their midventral pectines to gather
chemical and textural information near their burrows and use this information as they subsequently return home. For NCFH to be viable, animals must somehow acquire home-directed ‘tastes’ of the substrate, such as through path integration (PI) and/or learning walks. We conducted laboratory behavioral trials using desert grassland scorpions (Paruroctonus utahensis). Animals reliably formed burrows in small mounds of sand we provided in the middle of circular, sandlined behavioral arenas. We processed overnight infrared video recordings with a MATLAB script that tracked animal movements at 1–2 s intervals. In all, we analyzed the movements of 23 animals, representing nearly 1500 h of video recording. We found that once animals established their home burrows, they immediately made one to several short, looping excursions away from and back to their burrows before walking greater distances. We also observed similar excursions when animals made burrows in level sand in the middle of the arena (i.e. no mound provided). These putative learning walks, together with recently reported PI in scorpions, may provide the crucial home-directed information requisite for NCFH.

Reference:
Gaffin DD, Munoz MG, Hoefnagels MH. Evidence of learning walks related to scorpion home burrow navigation. J Exp Biol. 2022;225:jeb243947. [Open Access]

28 June, 2022

Updated information on the distribution of the genus Buthacus in Algeria.

 


Yacine Bengaid and co-workers recently published an article with new information about the distribution of the genus Buthacus Birula, 1908 (Buthidae) in Algeria.

Abstract:
The genus Buthacus Birula, 1908 (Family Buthidae) regroups about 30 species commonly known as sand scorpions. In the Algerian sandy deserts, in particular, this group shows a micro-endemic populations. The present paper summarizes the exhaustive list of Buthacus species in Ghardaïa region (Central Algeria), basing on sampling period of 12 months (2021). As a preliminary result, five species were recorded from the study area: B. arenicola, B. birulai, B. elmenia, B. samiae, and B. spinatus. Of which, two species are original from Algerian Eastern Erg (B. arenicola and B. birulai) while, the other species were recently identified from Ghardaïa region. All these species show a close affinity to Erg or sandy biotopes except B. samiae which presents a wide distribution in study area and in sandy Reg. Also, it has the ability to cohabit with other Buthacus such as B. spinatus in the North and B. elmenia in the south.

Reference:
Bengaid Y, Sadine SE, Oumyma Z, Abidi H, Bissati S, Houhamdi M. Notes and remarks on Buthacus species of Central Algeria (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Serket; 2022. p. 274-81.

Family Buthidae

A comparative study of two species of Odontobuthus from Iran

 


M. Fatemi and co-workers have recently published a study of two Odontobuthus Vachon, 1950 (Buthidae) from Iran, O. bidentatus Lourenço & Pezier, 2002 and O. doriae (Thorell, 1876). Odontobuthus is a medical significant genus in Iran and correct identification of the species in this genus is therefore important.

Abstract:
Scorpions are one of the most venomous animals which cause serious public health problems. The sting of scorpions can sometimes be fatal depending on the scorpion species involved. So far, sixty-six (66) scorpion species have been identified in Iran. Annually, about 40-50000 cases of scorpionism are reported in Iran. Odontobuthus doriae and O. bidentatus are among the most medically important scorpion species in Iran, and they are very similar to each other in coloration, carination, and trichobotrial patterns. This morphometric study aimed to compare some of the important morphological characteristics in order to identify the key differences between these two species. A total of 45 morphological characters were measured using calipers and stereomicroscope, and 55 morphological characters and ratios (relative of length to width ratio of morphological characters of scorpions) were analyzed. The independent sample t-test in SPSS software (version 24) was used for the statistical analyses in this study. The mean total length, carapace width, length of fixed and moveable fingers, and chelicerae length of O. doriae were greater than those of O. bidentatus in our study area. The morphological measurements displayed a clear distinction between O. doriae and O. bidentatus in our study area; therefore, they can be used as morphological identification keys for distinguishing between these two species.

Reference:
Fatemi M, Mohammadi Bavani M, Mohammadi A, Navidpour S, Rafinejad J. A Comparative Morphometric Study on Odontobuthus bidentatus and Odontobuthus doriae (Scorpionida: Buthidae) in Iran. Archives of Razi Institute. 2022;77(2):899-905. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

27 June, 2022

An updated checklist of scorpions of China with several taxonomic comments

 


Victoria Tang just published an updated checklist of scorpions of China. China has a large diversity when it comes to scorpions and the present article lists 52 species belonging to 13 genera and six families. 

Tang's article also discuss many taxonomic issues with several of the taxa reported from China. No taxonomical decisions are made, but the author recommend further investigations into many of the uncertainties. I refer to the abstract and the article for details on these.

Updated July 2022: My comment above that no taxonomical decisions were made in this article is not correct. The author made several taxonomic acts that can be seen in the abstract below. Thanks to Danniella Sherwood for commenting on this!

Abstract:
An updated checklist of scorpions of China (52 species belonging to 13 genera and six families) is provided, with Chinese name equivalents and an illustrated map of all localities. Colored photos of the Chinese population of Mesobuthus thersites (C. L. Koch, 1839) and one Olivierus sp. in vivo habitus are provided for the first time. The recent taxonomic changes are summarized. The monotypic genus Tibetiomachus (Hormuridae) with its single species T. himalayensis is considered a nomen dubium. The validity of the previously synonymized Scorpiops atomatus Qi et al., 2005 and S. validus (Di et al., 2010) (Scorpiopidae) is questioned, although they are not formally restored from synonymy. Olivierus hainanensis (Birula, 1904) (Buthidae) is possibly a junior synonym of O. martensii (Karsch, 1879); a reanalysis of the syntypes is warranted. The name “Scorpiops jingshanensis Li, 2016” is a nomen nudum. Additional comments are made upon two unavailable names that appear in an unpublished MS thesis (Zhang, 2009; in Chinese): “Mesobuthus beijiangensis” and “M. nanjiangensis”. A revision is needed of several species with weakly supported diagnostic characters, such as Olivierus bolensis (Sun et al., 2010) and Scorpiops puerensis (Di et al., 2010). The applicability of the diagnostic characters proposed for Olivierus bolensis (Sun et al., 2010) and O. longichelus (Sun & Zhu, 2010) is found to be unstable, based on the examination of some new specimens from Xinjiang. Their relationship with another two recently described species (O. mikhailovi Fet et al., 2021 and O. tarabaevi Fet et al., 2021), as well as the misidentified “Mesobuthus caucasicus intermedius” in China, remains unclear until a molecular study is accomplished.

Reference:
Tang V. Scorpions of China: an updated checklist with comments on some taxonomic issues (Arachnida: Scorpiones). Euscorpius. 2022(355):1-17. [Open Access]

23 June, 2022

New information about the costs of autotomy (tail loss) in scorpions

 


I have previously reported about the facinating discovery of autotomy of the cauda (tail) as an anti-predatory behavior in the scorpion Ananteris mauryi Lourenco, 1982 (Buthidae). The cauda contains important parts of the scorpion's nervous, circulatory and digestive systems, and of course the very important sting and the venom glands. The tail doesn't regenerate and an automized scorpion will eventually die from constipation (but can survive for several months befor it die).

I was recently made aware of three papers authored by Solimary García-Hernandez and Glauco Machado presenting research into the cost of autotomy (tail loss) in scorpions. One article stufy the effect of autotomy on predation success, the second article adresses short- and long-term consequences on locomotor performance of male and female sorpions with tail loss, and finally the third article studies the effects of autotomy on reproductive sucess.

To sum up, tail loss in scorpions has negative effects prey capture, exposure to predators, and reproductive success, but the size of the effects differ between the sexes. The reduction of reproductive succcess was much more dramatic for females than for males. For details on the results and conclusion I refer to the abstracts below.

Abstracts:

Paper1:
Predation success depends on factors such as hunger, prey size, prey availability and intensity of competition. A neglected factor that may also influence predation success is the proper function of morphological traits related to prey search, capture and manipulation. Injuries that compromise the functionality of these morphological traits may reduce predation success. In many invertebrates, autotomy can compromise predation success because the detached body part may be crucial for hunting. However, empirical evidence linking autotomy and predation success is relatively scarce. We filled this gap using the scorpion Ananteris balzani, which autotomizes the last abdominal segments, known as the ‘tail’. This is a unique form of autotomy as ‘tail’ autotomy implies the loss of the stinger, an organ used for venom inoculation, which is the main form of large prey subjugation. Using a paired experimental design, we found that for both small and large prey, subduing success was higher when individuals were intact than when they were autotomized. After autotomy, subduing success of male scorpions decreased
from 90% to 17% for small prey and from 47% to 1% for large prey. Subduing success of female scorpions after autotomy decreased from 98% to 93% for small prey and from 97% to 70% for large prey. Autotomized individuals took longer than intact individuals to subdue both small and large prey, but the effect size was higher for large prey. Considering that the tail does not regenerate, autotomized individuals (especially males) will experience a lifelong reduction in trophic niche breadth because their diet will be mostly composed of small prey. Moreover, autotomized individuals probably move more to enhance the likelihood of finding small prey, which may increase their exposure to predators and consequently the costs related to tail loss.

Paper 2:
In many taxa, individuals voluntarily detach a body part as a form to increase their chances of escaping predation. This defense mechanism, known as autotomy, has several consequences, such as changes in locomotor performance that may affect fitness. Scorpions of the genus Ananteris autotomize the “tail”, which in fact corresponds to the last abdominal segments. After autotomy, individuals lose nearly 25% of their body mass and the last portion of the digestive tract, including the anus, which prevents defecation and leads to constipation, because regeneration does not occur. Here, we experimentally investigated the short- and long-term effects of tail loss on the locomotor performance of Ananteris balzani. In a short-term experiment, the maximum running speed (MRS) of males and females did not change after autotomy. Moreover, the relative mass of the lost tail did not affect the change in MRS after autotomy. In a long-term experiment, autotomy had a negative effect on theMRS of males, but not of females. Autotomized over-fed individuals suffered from severe constipation but were not slower than autotomized normally fed individuals. In conclusion, tail loss has no immediate effect on the locomotor performance of scorpions. The long-term decrease in the locomotor performance of autotomized males may impair mate searching. However, because death by constipation takes several months, males have a long time to find mates and reproduce. Thus, the prolonged period between autotomy and death by constipation is crucial for understanding the evolution of one of the most extreme cases of autotomy in nature.

Paper 3:
The ability to detach a body part in response to a predation attempt is known as autotomy, and it is perhaps the most
intensively studied form of nonlethal injury in animals. Although autotomy enhances survival, it may impose reproductive costs on both males and females. We experimentally investigated how autotomy affects the reproductive success of males and females of a scorpion species. Individuals of Ananteris balzani autotomize the last abdominal segments (the tail), losing the anus and leading to lifelong constipation, since regeneration does not occur. Although the male tail is used during courtship and sperm transfer, autotomy has no effect on male mating success. The combined effect of increased mortality and reduced fecundity resulted in autotomized females producing nearly 35% fewer offspring than intact females. In conclusion, the negative effects of tail autotomy are clearly sex dependent, probably because the factors that influence reproductive success in males and females are markedly different.

References:

Paper1:
García-Hernández S, Machado G. ‘Tail’ autotomy and consequent stinger loss decrease predation success in scorpions. Anim Behav. 2020;169:157-67. [Subscription required for full text]

Paper 2:
Garcia-Hernandez S, Machado G. Short- and long-term effects of an extreme case of autotomy: does 'tail' loss and subsequent constipation decrease the locomotor performance of male and female scorpions? Integr Zool. 2021;Accepted Manuscript:1-17. [Subscription required for full text]

Paper 3:
García-Hernández S, Machado G. Fitness implications of nonlethal injuries in scorpions: Females, but not males, pay reproductive costs. Am Nat. 2021;197(3):379-89. [Open Access]

Thanks to Solimary García-Hernandez for sending me their articles on this interesting topic!

22 June, 2022

A revision of the Tityus forcipula species group and a new species from Colombia

 


Jairo Moreno-Gonzalez and co-workers have recently published an article with a revision of the Tityus forcipula species group, reducing the number of species beloning to this group. In addition, a new species of Tityus C. L. Koch, 1836 (Buthidae) is described from Colombia.

Tityus moralensis Moreno-Gonzalez, Pinto da Rocha & Cabra-Garcia, 2022

Abstract:
The Tityus forcipula species group has had an intricate taxonomic history, changing its diagnostic characters and composition on several occasions. One of the alleged reasons for this taxonomic uncertainty is the use of superficial characters (i.e. raw similarity instead of putative synapomorphies) for species group delimitation. Here, we conducted a thorough phenotypic survey across the Tityus forcipula species group, as currently delimited, including characters that had been suggested elsewhere as putative synapomorphies for delimiting lineages within Tityus. In doing so we also redescribe Tityus forcipula and describe a new species belonging to the Tityus forcipula species group: Tityus moralensis sp. nov. based on specimens from the Andean region of Valle del Cauca department, Colombia. The Tityus forcipula species group is here delimited to Andean species from Colombia and Ecuador that share strongly sclerotized and brown colored pectines, basal middle lamellae of female pectines dilated and suboval or ovoid shaped, basal plate of female pectines without glandular region and telotarsi with two ventrosubmedian rows (type II) of stout macrosetae (i.e., Tityus crassicauda, Tityus cuellari, Tityus forcipula, Tityus fuhrmanni and Tityus moralensis sp. nov). The new Tityus species is placed into a phylogenetic context with other buthid species using DNA sequences (COI and 28S). Finally, we provide a map with updated distributional records of the Tityus forcipula species group.

Reference:
Moreno-Gonzalez JA, Pinto da Rocha R, Cabra-Garcia J. On the Tityus forcipula species group: redescription of Tityus forcipula (Scorpiones, Buthidae), description of a new Andean species, and notes on the taxonomy of the group. Zootaxa. 2022;5155(2):151-86. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Jairo and Ricardo for sending me their article!

Family Buthidae

A new species of Chiromachetes from India

 


Akshay Khandekar and co-workers have described yet another species from the interesting and diverse Indian scorpion fauna. Their recent article described a new species of Chiromachetes Pocock, 1899 (Hormuridae) from the southern Western Ghats, India.

Chiromachetes agasthyamalaiensis Khandekar, Thackeray, Pawar, Gangalmale & Waghe, 202

A very beautiful scorpion! :)

Abstract:
A new species of the genus Chiromachetes Pocock, 1899 (Hormuridae Laurie, 1896) is described based on a single male and two female specimens collected from Agasthyamalai Mountains in Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, southern Western Ghats, India. The new species can be easily distinguished from all five known congeners by combination of non-overlapping morphological characters such as chela length-width ratio, femur length-width ratio, chela length-movable finger length ratio, the number of pectinal teeth, and subtle color differences of both the sexes respectively. Chiromachetes agasthyamalaiensis sp. n., represent the sixth described species, the fifth from the Western Ghats, and the first to be reported from the state of Tamil Nadu of this peninsular Indian endemic genus.

Reference:
Khandekar A, Thackeray T, Pawar S, Gangalmale S, Waghe V. A new species of Chiromachetes Pocock, 1899 (Scorpiones: Hormuridae) from southern Western Ghats, India. Euscorpius. 2022(354):1-13. [Open Access]

Family Hormuridae

16 June, 2022

A new species of Oiclus from Guadeloupe, Lesser Antilles

 


Eric Ythier and co-workers have recently described a new species of Oiclus Simon, 1880 (Diplocentridae) from Guadeloupe, Lesser Antilles.

 Oiclus tite Ythier, Jourdan & Malglaive, 2022

 The article includes an identification key for the genus in the area.

Abstract:
The scorpion fauna of Petite Terre, in the Guadeloupe archipelago, Lesser Antilles, is studied for the first time, based on material recently collected during an entomological inventory. Two species are discovered here, Centruroides pococki Sissom & Francke, 1983 (family Buthidae C. L. Koch, 1837; also recorded from several other islands in the Lesser Antilles) and a new species of the genus Oiclus Simon, 1880 (family Diplocentridae Karsch, 1880), O. tite n. sp., described in this work and possibly endemic to Petite Terre. This new taxon raises to seven the number of described Oiclus species (one of them being polytypic) and confirms again that this genus endemic to the Lesser Antilles is more diverse than originally suspected. The number of known Oiclus species occurring in the Guadeloupe archipelago is increased to five; a map of their geographical distribution is presented and a key for their identification is provided.

Reference:
Ythier E, Jourdan T, Malglaive L. The Scorpions of Petite Terre, Guadeloupe, Lesser Antilles, with description of a new species of Oiclus Simon, 1880 (Scorpiones, Buthidae, Diplocentridae). Bulletin de la Société entomologique de France. 2022;127(2):187-201. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Eric for sending me this article!

Family Diplocentridae

14 June, 2022

A new species of Isometrus from India

 


India is a hotspot for scorpion diversity in Asia and in a recent paper Shubhankar Deshpande and co-workers have described a new species of Isometrus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Buthidae) from the southeastern plains of Tamil Nadu, India.

Isometrus Deshpande, Gowande, Bastawade & Sulakhe, 2022

The article has an identification key for the genus in India.

If you are wondering about the species name, check out the picture again ;)

Abstract:
We here describe a new species of Isometrus Ehrenberg, 1828 from the southeastern plains of Tamil Nadu, India, which is known only from its type locality, Chengalpattu. The new species was recovered as sister to Isometrus nakshatra based on a molecular phylogeny inferred from COI and 16S mitochondrial genes. Sequence divergence between the new species and all the Indian congeners was 12.6–15.7 % for COI and 12.2–14.4 % for 16S. The new species can also be differentiated from all the Indian congeners based on the following set of characters: surface of carapace with mixed (coarse and fine) and dense granulation; telson vesicle length to depth ratio in males 3.5–3.7; chela length to width ratio in males 5.0–5.4; metasomal length to carapace length ratio in males 8.2–8.9; coarse granulation on mesosomal tergites V and VI along the margins; lateral supramedian and ventral lateral carinae on metasomal segments II–IV moderately to weakly granular; ventral median carina of telson vesicle weakly granular; spiniform granules of promedian carina of the pedipalp patella strongly developed. This is the ninth species of Isometrus described from India and the first species from southeastern peninsular India. This discovery highlights the need for more surveys from the eastern peninsular region.

Reference:
Deshpande S, Gowande G, Bastawade D, Sulakhe S. A new species of Isometrus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from southeastern plains of Tamil Nadu, India. Euscorpius. 2022(353):1-19. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

09 June, 2022

The medical important species Leiurus abdullahbayrami is reported from Lebanon

 


Testing my shape with this blog post before returning to work tomorrow after a week with Covid. I've been escaping "the plague" for a long time, but it finally got me. I'm slowly getting my strength back, but the taste sense is still gone. Anyway, it is OK to be finished with it before the summer holiday.

Adolfo Borges and Ersen Yagmur have published a small paper showing the presence of Leiurus abdullahbayrami Yağmur, Koç & Kunt, 2009 (Buthidae) in the East Bekaa province in Lebanon. This species has shown to be medical important in Turkey and Syria, and it is important knowledge that the species is also present in other countries in the region.

Abstract:
The first record of Leiurus abdullahbayrami Yağmur, Koç & Kunt, 2009 for Lebanon is presented, collected in the East Bekaa province. This is the second Leiurus species reported for this country. The medical importance of L. abdullahbayrami, associated with severe and fatal cases among children in Turkey and Syria, makes it highly relevant to determine its current distribution range in the Levant region.

Reference:
Borges A, Yagmur EA. First record of the medically significant scorpion Leiurus abdullahbayrami (Scorpiones: Buthidae) for Lebanon. Arachnologische Mitteilungen. 2022;63:7-10. [Not Online yet?]

Thanks to Adolfo for sending me their article!

03 June, 2022

A new species of Cheloctonus from Congo

 


Based on old museum materials, Wilson Lourenco has recently published a new species in the genus Cheloctonus Pocock, 1892 (Hormuridae) from Congo.

Cheloctonus kakongo Lourenco, 2022

Abstract:
The study of one particular scorpion belonging to the genus Cheloctonus Pocock, 1892, found among specimens of the collection ‘E. Simon’ leads to the description of one new species. The new species was collected by Louis Petit during his field trips to Congo (Republic of Congo), a region which corresponded in the 19th century to Equatorial French Africa. The new discovery radically changes the area of distribution of the genus Cheloctonus limited until now to meridional Africa. This disrupted pattern of distribution is similar to that observed for the genus Opisthacanthus Peters, 1861.

Reference:
Lourenco WR. Une intéressante nouvelle espèce pour le genre Cheloctonus Pocock, 1892 (Scorpiones : Hormuridae) collectée en République du Congo. Faunitaxys. 2022;10(6):1-7. [Open Access]

Thanks to Nicolas Machiavel for informing me about this article!

Family Hormuridae

02 June, 2022

An interesting article on scorpion names, how they are created, their etymology, and a list of Chinese scorpion names

 


Victoria Tang has published an interesting article on the use of scientific scorpion names and the etymology (origin and meaning) of these. Say hello to taxonyms, morphonyms, toponyms, eponyms, bionyms, autochthonym, ergonyms, tautonyms and ordonyms. Confused? Check out the article and learn more about these name categories with illustrative examples. Microtityus reini Armas & Teruel, 2012 for example, is an example of an eponym "honouring" yours truly.

The article also adress Chinese naming of scorpions and present a standardised list of scorpion names in Chineese.

Abstract:
The scientific (Latin) names of scorpion species are widely used across the world by both experts and amateurs. However, in China, there is a great need for designating standardized Chinese names for various scorpions since it is difficult for those not familiar with Latin alphabet to memorize the scientific names. Currently used Chinese names often cause confusion and misunderstanding due to a lack of standardized, unified naming. The present work critically revises the existing formal Chinese scorpion names, vernacular names (used by local population and amateurs), and the names used in Chinese scientific publications, along with the confusion they have caused. A general review of the etymology and types of scientific names in scorpions is also provided. A standardized rule for translating scientific names into Chinese names (exclusively for the Order Scorpiones) is established for the first time. A list of all the scientific names of the valid extant scorpion species is given, translated into Chinese along with the Latin names.

Reference:
Tang V. A standardized list of scorpion names in Chinese, with an etymological approach. Euscorpius. 2022(350):1-91. [Open Access]

A new species of Orthochirus from Afghanistan

 


The scorpion fauna of Afghanistan is still little known due to both topography challenges and the political sitation making fauna surveys difficult. Ersen Yagmur and Faizurrahman Khalili have now described a new species of Orthochirus Karsch, 1891 (Buthidae) from the Takhar Province  north in Afghanistan.

Orthochirus kovariki Yagmur & Khalili, 2022

Abstract:
A new species, Orthochirus kovariki sp. n. is described and illustrated based on both sexes from Takhar Province of Afghanistan. O. kovariki sp. n. appears to be close to O. feti Kovařík, 2004, reported from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan; both species have the movable finger of pedipalp without outer denticles. Detailed illustrations of O. kovariki sp. n. are given.

Reference:
Yagmur EA, Khalili F. Orthochirus kovariki sp. n. from Takhar Province, Afghanistan (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2022(352):1-16. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

24 May, 2022

A new genus and species in the enigmatic family Pseudochactidae from China

 


The family Pseudochactidae Gromov, 1998 consisted for many year of only one genus and one species. In recent years a few more genera and species have been described, many from isolated areas. Victoria Tang has now described a new genus and species from the Yunnan Province of China, greatly increasing the distribution of this family.

Qianxie Tang, 2022

Qianxie solegladi Tang, 2022

The new species seems to be found only above ground and it exhibits no troglomorphism, which is different from its presumed sister genus, Troglokhammouanus Lourenço, 2007.

Abstract:
A new monotypic genus belonging to the basal scorpion family Pseudochactidae Gromov, 1998, Qianxie solegladi gen et. sp. n., is described from Yunnan Province of China. The family is recorded from China for the first time, vastly extending its known geographic range. The new genus shares morphological characters with both Pseudochactas Gromov, 1998 and Troglokhammouanus Lourenço, 2007. It differs from Pseudochactas and is similar to Troglokhammouanus in the shapes of anterior and posterolateral carapace margins, form of the circumocular sutures, distance between median ocelli, development of dorsoventral projection of patella, length of tarsal spinules, recurvature of the lateral margins and concavity of the surface of the sternum. It is similar to Pseudochactas in the degree of carapace granulation, pedipalp manus carination, secondary accessory and retroventral carinae of the chela manus, numbers of lamellae and teeth on the pectines, development of the median lateral carinae of metasomal segments III–IV and ventromedian carina of metasomal segment V. The new genus is hypothesized to be more closely related to Troglokhammouanus than to Pseudochactas and is placed in the subfamily Troglokhammouaninae.

References:
Tang V. A new scorpion genus and species from China, Qianxie solegladi gen. et sp. n. (Scorpiones: Pseudochactidae). Euscorpius. 2022(351):1-19. [Open Access]

Family Pseudochactidae

A new species of Buthacus from Algeria

 


Eric Ythier has recently described a new species of Buthacus Birula, 1908 (Buthidae) from Algeria.

Buthacus sadinei Ythier, 2022

The paper also confirm the status for a few another species in the genus.

Abstract:
A new species of Buthacus Birula, 1908 is described on the basis of one adult male specimen collected in Tindouf, Western Algeria. The new species is mainly characterized by a yellowish coloration without any spots, long pectines with marginal tips extending to the end of sternite V, a very long and curved telson aculeus, chela fingers almost straight with 9 and 10 rows of granules on fixed and movable fingers, respectively, external accessory granules moderate to strong, and tibial spurs moderate on leg III, long on leg IV. This new taxon belongs to the Buthacus leptochelys (Ehrenberg 1829) complex of species and represents the 10th known Buthacus species reported from Algeria. The new species is compared with the six other species of the “leptochelys” complex occurring in the region covering Western Algeria, Northern Mauritania, Northern Western Sahara and Morocco, namely B. occidentalis Vachon, 1953, B. stockmanni Kovařík, Lowe & Šťáhlavský, 2016, B. ziegleri Lourenço, 2000, B. mahraouii Lourenço, 2004, B. maroccanus Lourenço, 2006 and B. algerianus Lourenço, 2006, the three last species being confirmed again as valid species.

Reference:
Ythier E. A new species of Buthacus Birula, 1908 from Western Algeria (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Faunitaxys. 2022;10(28):1-6. [Open Access]

Thanks to Eric for helping me out with Buthacus information!

Family Buthidae

 

19 May, 2022

A comprehensive study of the phylogenetic relationships within the family Buthidae

 


The family Buthidae is the largest scorpion family with many and diverse species occuping many different habitats and ecosystems. This is also an important family as most species of medical importance are found herein. 

The intra-familial classification of the taxa within this family is far from resolved, and is primarly based on a system distinguishing six morpho-groups. The validity of these morpho-groups is unclear and has not been tested with phylogenetic analysis.

Jana Stundlova and co-workers have now published a study where they have attempted to conduct a phylogenetic relationships among Buthidae and assess the validity of morphology-based groupings. They confirm that the traditionally recognized Buthus and Tityus morpho-groups form well supported clades, but the remaining four morpho-groups (Ananteris, Charmus, Isometrus, Uroplectes) do not.

The authors also conclude that some genera in Buthidae need a taxonomic revision and that it is also necessary to evaluate the characters used for taxonomic studies in this family.

Abstract:
The family Buthidae represents an early-diverging and most species-rich lineage of extant scorpions, but its internal phylogenetic relationships are still poorly understood. The family is traditionally divided into six morpho-groups; however, the monophyly of some of them remains unclear. We combined multilocus sequence data with extensive taxon sampling to reconstruct the phylogenetic relationships among Buthidae and assess the validity of the morphology-based groupings. We recovered a monophyletic Buthus group as a sister clade to all the remaining Buthidae. We also found support for the monophyly of the Tityus group, but the remaining morpho-groups were recovered as para-/polyphyletic. Our results also suggest that some genera are in need of a taxonomic revision.

Reference:
Štundlová J, Šťáhlavský F, Opatova V, Stundl J, Kovařík F, Dolejš P, et al. Molecular data do not support the traditional morphology-based groupings in the scorpion family Buthidae (Arachnida: Scorpiones). Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2022:107511. [Subscription required for full text]

Family Buthidae

18 May, 2022

Three new species of Euscorpius from Italy

 


Gioele Tropea and Aristeidis Parmakelis have done an analysis of the different populations in Italy and France beloning to the species Euscorpius concinnus (C. L. Koch, 1837) (Euscorpiidae). The study resulted in three new species from Italy:

Euscorpius latinus Tropea & Parmakelis, 2022

Euscorpius stefaniae Tropea & Parmakelis, 2022

Euscorpius trejaensis Tropea & Parmakelis, 2022

Euscorpius concinnus (C. L. Koch, 1837) is now considered endemic for Italy.

 In addition, Euscorpius niciensis (C.L. Koch, 1841) is elevated to species status from subspecies status as E. capathicus niciensis. This species occurs both in France and Italy.

Abstract:
In the present work, several scorpion populations assigned to Euscorpius concinnus (C.L. Koch, 1837) and Euscorpius carpathicus niciensis (C.L. Koch, 1841) are reconsidered on a phylogenetic, morphological, and geographical basis. Three new species are described, E. latinus sp. nov., E. stefaniae sp. nov., and E. trejaensis sp. nov., while E. niciensis stat. nov. is elevated to species status. Ecological and biogeographical data are provided for the revised taxa. Following these taxonomic changes, the number of species comprising the subfamily Euscorpiinae has increased to 90. The scorpion species present in Italy increased to 27, with one species belonging to the family Buthidae, one species to Belisariidae, and 25 species to Euscorpiidae.

Reference:
Tropea G, Parmakelis A. Reconsideration of some populations of Euscorpius concinnus complex (Scorpiones, Euscorpiidae). ZooKeys. 2022(1100):117-64. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Gioele for sending me their article!

Family Euscorpiidae

16 May, 2022

Orthochiroides is back again as a valid genus and a new species in the genus from Somaliland is described

 


The genus Orthochiroides  Kovarik, 1998 (Buthidae) was synonymized with Orthochirus Karsch, 1891 by Lourenco & Ythier in 2021. This decision is now changed in a recent article by Kovarik & Lowe after analyzing more than 40 morphological characters. Orthochiroides is back as a valid genus with the original four species previously assigned to the genus.

 A new species Orthochiroides is desrcibed from Somaliland increasing the number of species to five.

Orthochiroides somalilandus Kovarik & Lowe, 2022

An identification key for the genus is included.

Abstract:
The genus Orthochiroides Kovařík, 1998 is reanalyzed. Revised diagnoses and new illustrations for the genus and all four of its species are presented. A new species, O. somalilandus sp. n. from Somaliland is described and illustrated. Phylogenetic relationships of the genus with several other similar genera of small buthids are inferred from a parsimony analysis of 43 discrete morphological characters. The recent synonymy of Orthochiroides with Orthochirus is refuted and the genus is revalidated.

Reference:
Kovarik F, Lowe G. Review of Orthochiroides Kovařík, 1998 with description of a new species (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2022(349):1-42. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

12 May, 2022

A new species of Scorpiops from Laos

 


Wilson Lourenco & Eric Ythier has recently described a new species in the genus Scorpiops Peters, 1861 (Scorpiopidae) from Laos.

Scorpiops (Euscorpiops) piceus Lourenco & Ythier, 2022

The authors have kept the genera synonymizations made by Kovarik in in 2020 (all genera except for Parascorpiops Banks, 1928 were synonymized with Scorpiops), but have revalidated some of the ex-genera as subgenera in the current paper. [The information in this paragraph was corrected 13.05.22]

Abstract:
A new species, Scorpiops (Euscorpiops) piceus sp. n., belonging to the family Scorpiopidae Kraepelin, 1905 is described based on one adult female and one juvenile male collected in the Province of Khammouane, Laos. The new species presents most features exhibited by scorpions of the genus Scorpiops subgenus Euscorpiops, and is characterized by a very dark pigmentation overall, a large global size and a distinct trichobothrial pattern. This new species may represent one endemic element for the fauna of Khammouane region. This new taxon represents the 100th described species among the currently recognized species for the genus Scorpiops and the 36th for the subgenus Euscorpiops. Comments are also added on the validity of the generic division of the groups included in the family Scorpiopidae and a number of these are revalidated at the subgeneric level.

Reference:
Lourenco WR, Ythier E. A new species of the genus Scorpiops Peters, 1861, subgenus Euscorpiops Vachon, 1980 from Laos (Scorpiones: Scorpiopidae). Faunitaxys. 2022;10(27):1-9. [Open Access]

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for informing me about this article!

Family Scorpiopidae

A new species of Lychas from Thailand

 


Eric Ythier and Wilson Lourenco have recently described a new species of Lychas C.L. Koch, 1845 (Buthidae) from Thailand.

Lychas chanthaburiensis Ythier & Lourenco, 2022

Abstract:
A new species of Lychas C. L. Koch, 1845 is described on the basis of one adult male specimen collected in Khao Khitchakut, Chanthaburi Province, in the South-East of Thailand. The new species is mainly characterized by a moderate size for the genus with a total length of 46.9 mm, a general coloration yellowish with metasomal segment V, telson and chela fingers reddish yellow and some greyish spots on the prosoma, tergites and metasoma, all carinae weakly marked with intercarinal spaces smooth to weakly granular, and a slender metasoma. This new taxon represents the 33rd described species among the currently recognized species for the genus Lychas. The number of known Lychas species in Thailand is increased to five.

Reference:
Ythier E, Lourenco WR. A new species of Lychas C. L. Koch, 1845 from Thailand (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Faunitaxys. 2022;10(26):1-7. [OPen Access]

Thanks to Eric and Gerard for informing me about this article!

Family Buthidae

11 May, 2022

Redescription and new information about the little known scorpion Buthiscus bicalcaratus from Northern Africa

 


Faraj Aboshaala and co-workers have recently published an article with a redescription and updated information about the little known scorpion Buthiscus bicalcaratus Birula, 1905 (Buthidae) based on new materials from Libya.

Abstract:
The monotypic genus Buthiscus was described by Birula (1905) with the species Buthiscus bicalcaratus from the Sahara Desert of southern Tunisia. Until now, huge gaps exist in the knowledge of this species which is classified as endemic to North Africa. This paper aims to enrich the existing knowledge on this poorly known species with redescribing specimens of both sexes collected from Libya using widely illustrated redescription, in light of modern standards ruling the taxonomy of scorpions.

Reference:
Aboshaala F, Yağmur EA, Sadine SE, Ghaliow M, Badry A. On the poorly known species Buthiscus bicalcaratus Birula, 1905 (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Serket. 2022;18(3):263-73.

Thanks to Ersen Yagmur for sending me this article!


10 May, 2022

Two new species of Vaejovis from Mexico

 


Fernanda Chavez-Samayoa and co-workers have recently described two new species of Vaejovis C.L. Koch, 1836 (Vaejovidae) from Mexico.

Vaejovis aguazarca Diaz-Plascencia & Gonzalez-Santillan, 2022

Vaejovis aquascalentensis Chavez-Samayoa & Gonzalez-Santillan, 2022

Abstract:
Two new species of the genus Vaejovis (C L Koch 1836) belonging to the mexicanus group from Aguascalientes, Mexico, are described and compared to other species closely related to them geographically and morphologically. The species are compared based on the nomenclature and homology proposed by Gonzalez-Santillan and Prendini (2013). An extension of the homology, functionality, and nomenclature of the hemispermatophore proposed by Monod et al. (2017) is applied to vaejovid scorpions for the first time. We provide meristic evidence to support species delimitation and an identification key to the mexicanus species group (Soleglad, 1973) from Aguascalientes. We provide new records that broaden the distribution area, supplement its diagnosis, and expand the description, including details on the hemispermatophore and the telotarsi of Vaejovis tenamaztlei Contreras- Felix et al., 2015.

Reference:
Chávez-Samayoa F, Díaz-Plascencia JE, González-Santillán E. Two new species of Vaejovis (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae) belonging to the mexicanus group from Aguascalientes, Mexico, with comments on the homology and function of the hemispermatophore. Zoologischer Anzeiger. 2022;298:148-69. [Subscritpion required for full text]

Thanks to Fernanda Chavez Samayoa and Luis Roque for sending me this article!

Family Vaejovidae