24 December, 2009

Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year from The Scorpion Files

Dear All!

A big thanks to all of you that have contributed to The Scorpion Files in 2009!

I wish you a Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!

Best wishes

Jan Ove Rein
Editor of The Scorpion Files

23 December, 2009

New fossil scorpion from Ukrainian amber

It is rare to find scorpions in amber, but some specimens are known from Baltic amber. Lourenco & Weitschat have now described a new fossil species in the genus Palaeoananteris (Buthidae) from Ukraine:

Palaeoananteris ukrainensis Lourenco & Weitschat, 2009

Abstract:
A new species of fossil scorpion, Palaeoananteris ukrainensis sp. n. is described based on a specimen found in Ukrainian amber. The new species is the third described for the genus Palaeoananteris and thus belongs to the same lineage as the majority of other scorpions known from Baltic amber, which is clearly associated with the extant scorpion fauna of tropical regions in America and Africa. This new find attests, however, to a considerable degree of diversity in the Baltic and Ukrainian amber-producing forests. This is the first fossil scorpion found in Ukrainian amber.

Reference:
Lourenco WR, Weitschat W. A new species of Palaeoananteris Lourenco & Weitschat, 2001, fossil scorpion from Ukrainian amber (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Boletin Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa. 2009(45):231-5.

A new Hadruroides from Peru

Ochoa & Chaparro described a new species of Hadruroides (Caraboctonidae) in 2008 (but I didn't learn about this paper until now):

Hadruroidews bustamantei Ochoa & Chaparro, 2008

Abstract:
Hadruroides bustamantei, a new caraboctonid species from inter Andean valleys of central Peru (2600—3289 m) is described. This species is most related to H. mauryi Francke & Soleglad, with which was confused. The new species differs from H. mauryi, by length/width ratio of the male chela and the pigmentation pattern of the tergites, legs and metasomal segments. With

Reference:
Ochoa JA, Chaparro JC. A new scorpion species of the genus Hadruroides (Scorpiones: Caraboctoninae) from inter Andean valleys of Peru. Rev Peru Biol. 2008;15(1):5-10. [Free fultext]

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for always helping me to keep The Scorpion Files updated!!

Family Caraboctonidae

18 December, 2009

A new Vaejovis from Mexico

Zarate-Galvez & Francke have described a new species of Vaejovis (Vaejovidae) from Mexico:

Vaejovis ocotensis Zarate-Galvez & Francke, 2009

Abstract:
Vaejovis ocotensis sp. n. is described from “El Ocote Biosphere Reserve”, Chiapas, México. This is the third species of this genus reported for Chiapas, and the first belonging to the nitidulus group.

Reference:
Zarate-Galvez K, Francke OF. A new Vaejovis (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae) from Chipas, Mexico. Zootaxa. 2009(2313):61-8. [Subscription required for fulltext]

Family Vaejovidae

16 December, 2009

A new species of Diplocentrus from Mexico

Francke & Quijano-Ravell have described a new species of Diplocentrus (Scorpionidae) from Mexico:

Diplocentrus poncei Francke & Quijano-Ravell, 2009

The species is described in the family Diplocentridae, which some authors have included in Scorpionidae.

Abstract:
Diplocentrus poncei, sp. nov. from the state of Michoacán, Mexico is described. This is the first species in the genus and family with increasing neobothriotaxy on the patella and chela of the pedipalps. Diplocentrus magnus has been found to have increasing neobothriotaxy on the patella but not on the chela of the pedipalps.

Reference:
Francke OF, Quijano-Ravell AF. Una especie nueva Diplocentrus (Scorpiones: Diplocentridae) del estado de Michoacan, Mexico. Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad. 2009;80:647-58. [Free fulltext, but current issue not published online yet]

Family Scorpionidae

A new Centruroides from Mexico

Javier Ponce-Saavedra & Oscar Francke have recently described a new species of Centruroides from Mexico:

Centruroides hirsutipalpus Ponce-Saavedra & Francke, 2009 (Buthidae)

The new speices is considered to be medical important!

Abstract:
Centruroides hirsutipalpus sp. nov. from the region of Minatitlán, Colima, Mexico is described. The new species is compared with C. elegans Thorell and C. tecomanus Hoffmann, which are morphologically and geographically closely related. Comparisons with other species of “striped” Centruroides from central and western Mexico are included. This medically important species had not been collected previously.

Reference:
Saavedra JP, Francke OF. Descripcion de una nueva de alacran con importancia medica del genero Centruroides (Scorpiones: Buthidae) del estado de Colima, Mexico. Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad. 2009;80:647-58. [Free fulltext, but current issue not published online yet]

Family Buthidae

15 December, 2009

Several African Scorpio subspecies given species status

Scorpio maurus Linnaeus, 1758 (Scorpionidae) has for a long time been considered a very widespread and highly polymorphic species with 19 subspecies. Wilson Lourenco has now studied the African subspecies and raised several subspecies to species rank. One new species is also described from Cameroon:

S. birulai Fet, 1997 New status
S. fuliginosus (Pallary, 1928) New status
S. hesperus Birula, 1910* New status
S. mogadorensis Birula, 1910 New status
S. occidentalis Werner, 1936 New status
S. punicus Fet, 2000 New status
S. savanicola Lourenço, 2009 New species
S. weidholzi Werner, 1929 New status

Previous status for the taxa can be found in the Scorpion Files Scorpionidae updates.

Abstract:
For almost a century, Scorpio maurus L., 1758 (Scorpiones, Scorpionidae) has been considered to be no more than a widespread and presumably highly polymorphic species. Past classifications by Birula and Vachon have restricted the status of different populations to subspecific level. In the present paper, and in the light of new evidence, several African populations are now raised to the rank of species. One of these, Scorpio occidentalis Werner, 1936, is redescribed and a neotype proposed to stabilise the taxonomy of the group. A new species is also described from the savannah areas of Cameroon. This is the second to be recorded from regions outside the Sahara desert zone.

Reference:
Lourenco WR. Reanalysis of the genus Scorpio Linnaeus 1758 in sub-Saharan Africa and description of one new species from Cameroon (Scorpiones, Scorpionidae). Entomol Mitt Zool Mus Hamburg. 2009;15(181):99-113.

Thanks to professor Lourenco for sending me the paper!

Family Scorpionidae

14 December, 2009

A new Heteroscorpion from Madagascar

Lourenco and Goodman have recently described a new species in the genus Heteroscorpion (Hemiscorpiidae*) from Madagascar:

Heteroscorpion kaii Lourenco & Goodman, 2009

* There is still a disagreement among researchers on the higher taxonomy of scorpions, and the authors of this paper have chosen to use the family Heteroscorpionidae, that by other authors have been included in Hemiscorpiidae.

Abstract:
The endemic Malagasy genus Heteroscorpion Birula 1903 of the family Heteroscorpionidae was monotypic for a century with H. opisthacanthoides (Kraepelin, 1896) as the type species. Extensive field surveys conducted over the last 15 years in the different bioclimatic regions of Madagascar have resulted in the collection of numerous specimens belonging to the genus Heteroscorpion. These collections led to the description of four new species (see details in Lourenço & Goodman, 2006). In this paper, an additional new species to science is named from the extreme southeastern portion of the island and is presumed to be a local endemic. The number of species in the genus Heteroscorpion is now six, and its distribution covers numerous zones of the island, including humid and dry forests. Aspects of the biotope of the area from where the new species was collected is also discussed

Reference:
Lourenco WR, Goodman SM. Description of a new speices of Heteroscorpion Birula, 1903 (Scorpiones, Heteroscorpionidae) from "Grande Avasoa" in extreme southern Madagascar. Entomol Mitt Zool Mus Hamburg. 2009;15(181):115-25.

Family Hemiscorpiidae

10 December, 2009

A new Compsobuthus from Oman

Graeme Lowe has recently described a new lithophilic (rock dwelling) species in the genus Compsobuthus from Oman.

Compsobuthus nematodactylus Lowe, 2009 (Buthidae)

Abstract:
A new species of Compsobuthus is described from the Al Hajar mountains of northern Oman. It is distinguished by a strongly dorsoventrally compressed body, reduced carination on the carapace and tergites, extreme elongation of legs and pedipalps, lack of external accessory denticles on the pedipalp fingers, chelal trichobothrium est placed closer to dt than db, heavy setation on the ventral metasoma, and 28–34 pectine teeth. It is an ultralithophilic scorpion, highly adapted to life in narrow rock fissures.

References:
Lowe G. A new lithophilic Compsobuthus Vachon, 1949 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from northern Oman. Euscorpius. 2009(90):1-13. [free fulltext]

Family Buthidae

08 December, 2009

New Vaejovis species from Mexico

A new Vaejovis species has been described from Mexico:

Vaejovis trespicos Zarate-Galvez & Francke, 2009 (Vaejovidae)

Abstract:
Vaejovis trespicos sp. n., belonging to the Vaejovis mexicanus group, is described from the highlands of Cerro Tres Picos, municipio Villa Corzo, Chiapas, México. It is the second species of this genus known from Chiapas.

Reference:
Zarate-Galvez K, Francke OF. Nueva especie de Vaejovis (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae) de Chiapas, Mexico. Revista Iberica de Arachnologia. 2009;17:21-8.

Thanks to Oscar Francke for sending me the paper!

Family Vaejovidae

07 December, 2009

Redescription of Plesiochactas mitchelli

Little is known about the rare, Central American genus Plesiochactas (Euscorpiidae). Only two species have been described from a handful specimens. Kaleb Zarate-Galvez and Oscar Francke have now redescribed P. mitchelli from an adult female found in Mexico (close to the border of Guatemala where the only other known specimen was collected).

Abstract:
Plesiochactas mitchelli Soleglad 1976 was originally described from a juvenile female collected in ‘‘Guatemala’’ before 1902. The species is redescribed on the basis of an adult female from a specific locality in the state of Chiapas; it is the first record of this species from Mexico.

Reference:
Zarate-Galvez K, Francke OF. Redescription of Plesiochactas mitchelli (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae): a rare scorpion from Central America. Journal of Arachnology. 2009;37(3):338-45. [Subscription required for fulltext, but free fulltext after 12 months]

Family Euscorpiidae

A new species of Urophonius from Argentina

Andreas Alejandro Ojanguren-Affilastro and German Cheli have published a study with data on the genus Urophonius (Bothriuridae) from Patagonia, Argentina. A new species is described:

Urophonius martinezi Ojanguren-Affilastro & Cheli, 2009

Distribution and seasonal surface activity of the genus Urophonius are also disscussed. Interestingly, most species of the genus Urophonius seem to have tehir surface acitvity period in the winter.

Abstract:
New data on the distribution and systematics of Patagonian species of the scorpion genus Urophonius Pocock 1893 are provided. A species of this genus from Penı´nsula Valde´s in central eastern Argentinean Patagonia, Urophonius martinezi new species, is described. The surface activity period of most of the species of the genus is reviewed and clearly established. A distribution map as well as a key for the Patagonian species of the genus are provided.

Reference:
Ojanguren-Affilastro AA, Cheli G. New data on the genus Urophonius in Patagonia with a description of a new species of the exochus group (Scorpiones: Bothriuridae). Journal of Arachnology. 2009;37(3):346-56. [Subscription required for fulltext, but free fulltext after 12 months]

Family Bothriuridae

04 December, 2009

A sting in the balls

Androctonus crassicauda is one of the most medical important scorpions in the Middle East and have caused deaths in several countries, including Iran. Getting stung by this species is not recommended.

Because of this I got a bad feeling when a paper with the following title popped up in my screen: "Scrotum injury by scorpion sting"!

It is Dehghani & Khamechian at the School of Medicine in Kashan, Iran that report about a 38 year old man that got stung in his scrotum (balls) by a A. crassicauda hiding in his trousers when he took them on. This could be the start of a real horror story, but surprisingly the symptoms were quite mild (for A. crassicauda) and the patient did not get any nasty effects from the sting after being treated.

Most scorpion stings are associated with hands and legs, but some unusual sting sites have also been reported previously (e.g. two cases of penis stings by Tityus). Checking your clothes in the morning when you are in a scorpion area should be quite obvious after reading this!

The paper also present a short review on scorpionism in Iran.

Abstract:
Androctonus crassicauda is the second most frequent causes of scorpion sting in south-west Iran. Its venom can cause sever pain, autonomic, central nervous system (CNS), muscle function disturbances, and death. Appropriate medical and nursing cares can lead to complete recovery with no sequel .The majority of scorpion stings are oligosymptomatic, occurring mainly on the hands and feet (about 90%). Here one rare case of a scorpion sting on the scrotum is reported from Kashan, central Iran.

Reference:
Dehghani R, Khamehchian T. Scrotum Injury by Scorpion Sting. Iran J Arthropod-Borne Dis. 2008;2(1):49-52. [Free fulltext]

03 December, 2009

A new species of Androctonus from Morocco

Wilson Lourenco and co-workers have recently identified a new species in the genus Androctonus (Buthidae) from Morocco:

Androctonus maroccanus Lourenco, Ythier & Leguin, 2009

The new species is related to Androctonus gonneti Vachon, 1948.

Abstract:
A 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 and one female specimens collected at Sidi Smaïl in the Atlantic Coast of Morocco. With the description of Androctonus maroccanus sp. n., the total number of Androctonus species known to Morocco is raised to seven.

Reference:
Lourenco WR, Ythier E, Leguin E-A. A new species of Androctonus Ehrenberg, 1828 from Morocco (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2009(89):1-8. [Free fulltext]

Family Buthidae

02 December, 2009

Three new species of Scorpiops from Pakistan

Frantisek Kovarik & Zubair Ahmed have recently described three new species in the genus Scorpiops (Euscorpiidae) from Pakistan:

Scorpiops pakistanus Kovarik & Ahmed, 2009
Scorpiops pseudomontanus Kovarik & Ahmed, 2009
Scorpiops zubairahmedi Kovarik, 2009

The paper also has a short discussion on the taxonomical decisions made in the genus Scorpiops in the last decade. The authors concludes that some of the synonymizations and new species creations done may not be justified, but more research into species-level characters is necessary before any conclusions can be made. The paper present an identification key, but in this key species with unclear status appear only as "Scorpiops hardwickii complex" (see paper for a list of taxa).

Abstract:
Three new species of the genus Scorpiops with 17 external trichobothria on the patella and total length of 50–72 mm are described from northern Pakistan and compared with other species of the genus. A key to the species of the genus is provided. In S. pakistanus sp. n. ventral trichobothria on the patella number 9–10, chela manus is wide and short, and pectinal teeth number 6–8. In S. pseudomontanus sp. n. ventral trichobothria on the patella number 14–18, chela manus is narrow and long, and pectinal teeth number 6–9. In S. zubairahmedi sp. n. ventral trichobothria on the patella number 7, chela manus is very narrow and long, and pectinal teeth number 6.

Reference:
Kovarik F, Ahmed Z. Three new species of Scorpiops Peters, 1861 (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae: Scorpiopinae) from Pakistan. Euscorpius. 2009(88):1-11. [Free fulltext]

Family Euscorpiidae

23 November, 2009

A new species of Compsobuthus from Mali

Wilson Lourenco has recently described a new species of Compsobuthus from Mali.

Abstract:
The Compsobuthus (Scorpiones, Buthidae) population previously recorded from Mali, and successively identified by Vachon as Compsobuthus acutecarinatus (Simon) and Compsobuthus werneri (Birula) is now confirmed as a new species from Western Africa.

Reference:
Lourenco WR. A new species of Compsobuthus Vachon, 1949 from Mali (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Acta Biológica Paranaense. 2009;38(1-2):1-8. [Free fultext]

Family Buthidae

20 November, 2009

Reproductive traits in Paruroctonus boreus

James Barron and Amy L. Weidlich have recently published a research note on reproduction in the Northen Scorpion, Paruroctonus boreus (Vaejovidae), which is one of the most widespread species in North America (and also the most northern species, ranging into southern Canada).

Abstract:
Despite its large geographic range, little is known about reproductive traits in the northern scorpion (Paruroctonus boreus). We analyzed reproductive traits for 36 females from a population near Billings, Montana. All data were collected within a single year. Litter size, offspring mass, total litter mass (TLM), and relative litter mass (RLM) were within the ranges of values reported for other species in the Vaejovidae. Female size (length or mass) was not correlated with any reproductive trait. Litter size and offspring mass were each positively correlated with RLM, suggesting that females investing relatively larger amounts of energy in reproduction increase both size and number of offspring. Finally, the within-litter coefficient of variation in offspring mass was negatively correlated with RLM, TLM, and mean offspring mass, suggesting that females investing more energy in reproduction produce more-uniformly sized offspring, an observation that appears common in scorpions.

Reference:
Barron JN, Weidlich AL. Reproductive traits in the northern scorpion (Paruroctonus boreus). West North Am Naturalist. 2009 Sep;69(3):399-402. [Free fultext]

Family Vaejovidae

18 November, 2009

Inter- and intrapopulational genetic variability of Tityus serrulatus

Ronaldo Carvalho Scholte and co-workers have recently published a study on the genetic variability of different populations of Tityus serrulatus (Buthidae) in Brazil. T. serrulatus is a parthenogentic species of medical importance that has an increasing distribution in Brazil, and knowledge of its genetics and reproductive mechanisms is of great interest.

Abstract:
In Brazil, there are near 20 genera and almost 120 species of scorpions of which 95% reproduce sexually. Parthenogenetic reproduction, however,may also take place. To gain insight into useful molecularmarkers in parthenogenetic scorpion species, we studied DNA polymorphism using two molecular approaches: simple sequence repeat anchored polymerase chain reaction (SSR-PCR) and sequencing of the cytochrome C oxidase subunit I of the mitochondrial genome,mtDNA(COXI), of Tityus serrulatus. Three different groups were used: group 1, composed of 1 female and 14 descendants; group 2 with 1 female and 17 descendants, both from the city of Uberlândia, State of Minas Gerais (MG), Brazil, and the third group that consisted of three adult scorpions from the city of Belo Horizonte, MG.

The profiles generated by SSR-PCR were identical for all specimens, while partial sequencing of COXI showed the presence of SNPs. After aligning COXI contigs, one of the groups presented 18 SNPs and the second 8 SNPs. The two groups were differentiated by two diagnostic SNPs. We did not find evidence of mitochondrial recombination.

The results are in agreement with the parthenogenetic mode of reproduction of this species and sequencing of the COXI gene enabled the separation of scorpions groups.


Reference:
Scholte RGC, Caldeira RL, Simoes MCM, Stutz WH, Silva LL, Carvalho OD, et al. Inter- and intrapopulational genetic variability of Tityus serrulatus (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Acta Trop. 2009 Nov;112(2):97-100. [Subscription required for fulltext]

Family buthidae

17 November, 2009

Chemical scorpion control in Brazil

Scorpions constitutes a public health problem in many parts of Brazil. This is specially a problem in many urban areas where the effects of human activity and expansion into the scorpions natural habitats have increased the number of human-scorpion contacts. Some species has also adapted well to urban environments.

Chemical control of scorpions by the use of insecticides is common in Brazil, in addition to community involvement and education. The effects of insecticides against scorpions are controversial and not documented properly. Some insecticides actually may have an irritant effect on scorpions by increasing their activity and aggression, and thereby causing an increased risk of sting incidents.

Cleide Maria Ribeiro de Albuquerque and co-workers have now published a very interesting study on the effects of chemical control on the medical important species Tityus stigimurus (Buthidae) and the importance of community knowledge of scorpionism.

Abstract:
In this study, the events following application of the insecticide Demand 2.5 concentrated solution (CS) in the field, to control Tityus stigmurus, were investigated. Data on attitudes and practices relating to scorpionism were collected using a questionnaire. During the months of May to July 2005, 69 premises were monitored on different days following insecticide treatment, focusing on scorpion frequency and mortality. According to the results, 42% of the premises showed scorpion incidence, with an average of three specimens per house. The highest incidence was recorded during the first week following the treatment. Only 7% of the specimens were found dead. Most (72%) of the population showed knowledge about prevention and control measures. Despite this, 100% of the premises presented breeding sites, mainly in debris (79.7%). These results indicate that the scorpion control method used by health agents during this investigation was not efficient, and the results suggest that the method may have had a dispersive effect on these animals.

Reference:
De Albuquerque CMR, Barbosa MO, Iannuzzi L. Tityus stigmurus (Thorell, 1876) (Scorpiones; Buthidae): Response to chemical control and understanding of scorpionism among the population. Rev Soc Bras Med Trop. 2009;42(3):255-9. [Free fultext]

Family Buthidae

11 November, 2009

Two Euscorpius species coexisting in the same habitat in Italy

Scorpions found within the same area will often choose different habitats and behavioral strategies to avoid competition. Marco Colombo has now reported some interesting observations of Euscorpius italicus and E. tergestinus found in the same area and in the same habitat in Italy. The observations and the existence of sympatry (organisims living in the same geographical territory/geographical area) and syntopy (organisms living in the same habitat(s) within the geographical distribution of the organisms) in scorpions are discussed.

Abstract:
The author found syntopic specimens of Euscorpius italicus and E. tergestinus inside and nearby an abandoned fortress in Verona Province, Veneto, Italy. This discovery highlights a possibility of coexistence of congeneric species not only in the same territory, as already observed, but also in the same habitat and microhabitat, bringing some interesting questions about interspecific competition within the genus Euscorpius.

Reference:
Colombo M. On two syntopic species of Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae) in and nearby San Marco fortress (Veneto, Italy): a prelimnary investigation. Euscorpius. 2009(87):1-14. [Free fulltext]

Family Euscorpiidae

10 November, 2009

The genus Vachoniochactas and the description of a new species

Wilson Lourenco and Bernard Duhem are discussing the genus Vachoniochactas in the Guyana region of South America in a forthcoming paper in the journal Comptes Rendus Biologies. They also describe a new species in the genus in the a border area of Brazil, Gyuana and Venezuela.

Vanchoniochactas roraima Lourenco & Duhem, 2009 (Chactidae)

Abstract:
A new species, Vachoniochactas roraima sp. n. (Chactidae) is described from Mount Roraima, a site located on the borders of Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela. The description of the new species brings further evidence to the biogeographic pattern of distribution presented by the genus Vachoniochactas, as an endemic element to the Tepuys formations of South America.

Reference:
Lourenço WR, Duhem B. The genus Vachoniochactas González-Sponga (Scorpiones, Chactidae), a model of relictual distribution in past refugia of the Guayana region of South America. Comptes Rendus Biologies. 2009 (In Press). DOI:10.1016/j.crvi.2009.09.006. [Subscription required for fulltext]

Family Chactidae

03 November, 2009

A new Vaejovis from Arizona, USA

Richard Ayrey has described a new species of Vaejovis (Vaejovidae) from the Santa Catalina Mountains in Arizona (USA).

Abstract:
A new scorpion species, Vaejovis deboerae, sp. nov., is described and placed in the “mexicanus” group of the genus Vaejovis. They are small light yellowish brown scorpions found in the Santa Catalina Mountains, one of the sky islands of southern Arizona. They are closely related to V. vorhiesi Stahnke. The original description of V. vorhiesi Stahnke, 1940 and redescription (Graham, 2007), state that they are found in the Huachuca and Santa Catalina Mountains of southern Arizona. No specimens from the Santa Catalina Mountains were included in the redescription based on the lack of adequate material. The redescription stated “…the Santa Catalina Mountains scorpions definitely warrant further study if specimens become available.” This description of a new species is based on ample specimens now being available.

Reference:
Ayrey RF. Sky Island Vaejovis: A new species (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae). Euscorpius. 2009; (86):1-12. [Free fulltext]

Family Vaejovidae

30 October, 2009

Severe scorpion envenomation in children in Turkey

The scorpion fauna of Southeastern Turkey includes several species of medical importance, the most potent being Androctonus crassicuda and Leiurus abdullahbayrami (previously L. quinquestriatus). As in other countries, children are much more vulnerable to scorpion stings than adult because of their low body weight.

Bosnak and co-workers have published a retroperspective study on children with severe scorpion envenomation from Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey. A general discussion on scorpion envenomation and treatment is also presented.

Abstract:
Background: Scorpion envenomation is a common public health problem worldwide and children are at greater risk of developing severe cardiac, respiratory and neurological complications. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of antivenin and/or prazosin use on prognosis of scorpion-envenomed children admitted to pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). Methods: The standardized medical records of 45 children hospitalized with severe scorpion sting in PICU were retrospectively evaluated. General characteristics of the children, clinical and laboratory findings, treatment approaches and prognosis were evaluated. Results: The mean age of the patients were 6.1 + 4.1 years ranging between 4 month and 15 years. Male to female ratio was 1.8. Thirtythree (71.1%) cases of scorpion stings came from rural areas. Twenty-six (57.8%) of the patients were stung by Androctonus crassicauda. The most common sting localization was the foot-leg (55.6%). The mean duration from the scorpion sting to hospital admission was 4.5+2.6 hours. The most common findings at presentation were cold extremities (95.5%), excessive sweating (91.1%) and tachycardia (77.7%). The mean leukocyte count, and serum levels of glucose, lactate dehydrogenase, creatine phosphokinase and international normalized ratio were found above the normal ranges. Prazosin was used in all patients, dopamine in 11 (24.4%) and Na-nitroprusside in 4 (8.8%) patients. Two children died (4.4%) due to pulmonary oedema. These children, in poor clinical status at hospital admission, needed mechanical ventilation, and death occurred despite use of antivenin and prazosin in both of them. Conclusion: The current management of children with severe scorpion envenomation consists of administration of specific antivenom and close surveillance in a PICU, where vital signs and continuous monitoring enable early initiation of therapy for life-threatening complications. The aggressive medical management directed at the organ system specifically can be effective. Our data indicated that when admission to hospital is late, the beneficial effect of antivenom and/or prazosin is questionable in severe scorpion stings.

Reference:
Bosnak M, Levent Yilmaz H, Ece A, Yildizdas D, Yolbas I, Kocamaz H, et al. Severe scorpion envenomation in children: Management in pediatric intensive care unit. Hum Exp Toxicol. 2009 Oct 7. Doi:10.1177/096032710935066.

19 October, 2009

Consequences of scorpion stings in adults in Israel

Meir Antopolsky and co-workers have studied symptoms of scorpion stings in 113 adult patients in Israel. 25% of the patients were stung by black scorpions (Androctonus crassicauda or one of the black species which are less venomous) and 70% were stung by yellow scorpions (probably Leiurus quinquestriatus hebraeus according to the authors).

Interestingly, none of the patient developed serious, systemic symptoms (even though some potential dangerous species probably were involved). These results are consistent with similar studies from other parts of the Middle East. It is important to stress that scorpion sting in children or infants can be dangerous because of the larger amount of venom compared to body weight.

There are two limitations with this study: The patients included were from one hospital only (and from a limited geographic region). In addition, a precise identification of involved scorpions was not conducted. It is therefor possible that dangerous species like Leiurus and Androctonus were involved in a lesser degree than assumed by the authors.

Abstract:
Objective: To question the existing practice to observe the victims of scorpion sting in the emergency department at least for 6 h.Methods: Prospective study of all adult patients presenting to emergency department after scorpion sting during 3 years, and review of existing literature from Middle East countries.Conclusion: Serious toxicity after scorpion sting in Israel and some of neighboring countries is rare, and always presents within 1 h from the sting. Thus, prolonged observation can be reserved for a high-risk population and patients with serious toxicity on admission.

Reference:
Antopolsky M, Salameh S, Stalnikowicz R. Need for emergency department observation after scorpion sting: prospective study and review of the literature in the Middle East. Eur J Emerg Med. 2009 Aug;16 (4):206-8. [Susbcription required for fulltext]

The reproductive biology of Heterometrus phipsoni

Zeeshan Mirza & Rajesh Sanap have studied the reproductive biology of the Indian scorpion Heterometrus phipsoni Pocock, 1893 (Scorpionidae) and a paper is now available describing mating and breeding of this species.

This paper will be of interest both to preofessionals studing scorpion behavior and to enthusiasts wanting to breed Heterometrus in captivity.

Abstract:
The present communication presents a detailed description of the breeding behavior of Heterometrus phipsoni exhibited under laboratory conditions. As also the studies include notes on gestation period, brood size and description of the post insemination spermatophore.

Reference:
Mirza ZA, Sanap R. Notes on the reproductive biology of Heterometrus phipsoni Pocock, 1893 (Scorpiones: Scorpionidae). Journal of Threatened Taxa. 2009;1 (9):488-90. [Free fulltext]

Family Scorpionidae

15 October, 2009

Scorpion holliday in Crete (Greece)

I spent last week on holliday on the wonderful island of Crete (Greece). Even though this was a sun and relax holiday from the cold and dark Norwegian autumn, I naturally had to turn a stone or two to look for scorpions :))

You can find three species in Crete: Euscorpius carpathicus candiota (Euscorpiidae - the taxonomic status for the Crete population is not yet resolved, but it is possible that this taxa will get species status in the future), Mesobuthus gibbosus (Buthidae) and Iurus dufoureius dufoureius (Iuridae). I've previously found all three species on the island, but on this trip I only found Euscorpius carpathicus candiota in the western part of the island.

Here are a couple of pictures from the trip:

Scorpion Hunter jr. My seven old year son Morten has found his first Euscorpius on his own. Proud dad taking the picture! Foto: Jan Ove Rein, The Scorpion Files (C).

Close up of Euscorpius carpathicus candiota from Crete (Greece). Scorpions were commonly found under stones of different sizes, often clining to the underside of the stones. This scorpion shared the stone with a milipede. Foto: Jan Ove Rein, The Scorpion Files (C).

A typical Euscorpius habitat in western Crete (somewhat humid with shaddows from large trees). Euscorpius can also be found some places on the walls of stone buldings and fences. Foto: Jan Ove Rein, The Scorpion Files (C).

Crete has great weather, a wonderful people and a beatiful nature (with interesting scorpions), and I reccomend going there on holliday!

14 October, 2009

The Scorpion Files on Twitter

Hi all!

Scorpion Files news will now also be published on Twitter:

http://twitter.com/ScorpionFiles

Use the link above and click "Follow" to be able to join The Scorpion Files on Twitter.

I've also included a live feed from The Scorpion Files' Twitter account presenting news on the main menu of The Scorpion Files' webpage. In this way users of the webpage will be able to know about the news published in The Scorpion Files Newsblog.

Best wishes

Jan Ove Rein
Editor of The Scorpion Files

12 October, 2009

A new Leiurus species from Turkey

Ersen Yagmur, Halil Koc and Kadir Kunt have investigated the Leiurus fauna of Southeastern Turkey and concluded that these populations belong to a new species:

Leiurus abdullahbayrami Yagmur, Koc & Kunt, 2009 (Buthidae)

Abstract:
Leiurus abdullahbayrami sp. nov. is described from Southeastern Turkey and compared with other species of the genus, in particular with L. quinquestriatus, which was previously misidentified from Turkey. The new species is readily distinguished from other members of the genus by pedipalp chela and metasomal segments that are distinctly shorter than in L. quinquestriatus; metasomal segment V has large and rounded lobes; trichobothrium db on the fixed finger of pedipalp is located between trichobothria est and esb (in L. quinquestriatus it is located between et and est). All known Turkish populations of Leiurus were examined and found to represent the new species.

Reference:
Yagmur EA, Koc H, Kunt KB. Description of a new species of Leiurus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Southeastern Turkey. Euscorpius. 2009; (85):1-20. [Free fulltext]

Family Buthidae

01 October, 2009

The scorpion Files has a new adress!!!!

Hi all!

The Scorpion Files has moved to a new server. The new address for The Scorpion Files is now

http://www.ntnu.no/ub/scorpion-files/

The old url's will still work and you will automatically be forwarded to the new domaine, but please change your bookmarks in case this forwarding is terminated in the future.

Please let me know if you have any problems!

Best wishes

Jan Ove Rein
Editor of The Scorpion Files

A new species of Lychas

Wilson Lourenco has investigated scorpions collected in the island of Espiritu Santo (Vanuatu). Two species were found, Liocheles australasiae (Fabricius, 1775) and a new species of Lychas:

Lychas santoensis Lourenco, 2009 (Buthidae)

Abstract:
Two species of scorpions were collected during the SANTO 2006 Expedition: Liocheles australasiae (Fabricius, 1775), family Liochelidae Fet & Bechly, 2001 and, Lychas santoensis n. sp., family Buthidae C. L. Koch, 1837. Th e new species is characterized by: moderate to small size for the genus (from 29 to 31 mm in total length); general colouration reddish-yellow to reddish-brown with intense blackish variegated pigmentation throughout body and appendages; pectines with 10 to 12 teeth; fulcra absent or inconspicuous; telson moderately elongated; aculeus moderately curved; subaculear tooth moderate and, between rhomboid and spinoid in shape; granules on the ventral surface inconspicuous; tibial spurs present on legs III and IV; pedipalp fi xed and movable fi ngers with 6-7 (6) rows of granules, and with one very inconspicuous external accessory granule next to the most basal row of granules.

Reference:
Lourenco WR. Scorpions collected in the island of Espiritu Santo (Vanuatu) and description of a new species of Lychas C. L. Koch (Arachnida, Scorpiones, Buthidae). Zoosystema. 2009;31: 731-40.

Family Buthidae

30 September, 2009

New Scorpion Files species biography: Tityus obscurus

Michiel Cozijn has written another informative species biography for The Scorpion Files. This time he has looked at the South American Tityus obscurus (Gervais, 1843) in the Buthidae family.

Species biography for Tityus obscurus

A big thanks to Michiel for supporting The Scorpion Files!

Species biographies previously written by Michiel Cozijn:

Babycurus gigas
Babycurus jacksoni
Grosphus madagascariensis
Rhopalurus laticauda

25 September, 2009

The evolution of troglobitism and more on typhlochactid phylogeny

Recently, there have been several papers published on the troglomorphic scorpions of North America (see recent blog postings). Prendini, Francke & Vignoli have now published an article that focus on the evolution of troglobitic and troglomorphic scorpions and discuss if troglobitism can be considered an evolutionary dead-end. The paper also take a look at typhlochactid trichobothriotaxy and phylogeny.

A summary of the paper can be found below, but it is interesting to note that the authors conclude that troglobitism is not an evolutionary dead-end: that an ancestral troglobitic condition can evolve into a troglomorphic, endogean (above surface) condition. The authors belive that this is the case for the troglomorphic, litter dwelling species of Typhlochactas. In plain text: Specialized, troglobitic cave dwelling scorpions can go back to the surface and during evolution evolve into new species adapted to a more variable and demanding environment. So troglobitism is not necessarly an evolutionary dead-end.

Abstract:
The scorpion family Typhlochactidae Mitchell, 1971 is endemic to eastern Mexico and exclusively troglomorphic. Six of the nine species in the family are hypogean (troglobitic), morphologically specialized for life in the cave environment, whereas three are endogean (humicolous) and comparably less specialized. The family therefore provides a model for testing the hypotheses that ecological specialists (stenotopes) evolve from generalist ancestors (eurytopes) and that specialization (in this case to the cavernicolous habitat) is an irreversible, evolutionary dead-end that ultimately leads to extinction. Due to their cryptic ecology, inaccessible habitat, and apparently low population density, Typhlochactidae are very poorly known. The monophyly of these troglomorphic scorpions has never been rigorously tested, nor has their phylogeny been investigated in a quantitative analysis. We test and confirm their monophyly with a cladistic analysis of 195 morphological characters (142 phylogenetically informative), the first for a group of scorpions in which primary homology of pedipalp trichobothria was determined strictly according to topographical identity (the ‘‘placeholder approach’’). The phylogeny of Typhlochactidae challenges the conventional wisdom that ecological specialization (stenotopy) is unidirectional and irreversible, falsifying Cope's Law of the unspecialized and Dollo's Law of evolutionary irreversibility. Troglobitism is not an evolutionary dead-end: endogean scorpions evolved from hypogean ancestors on more than one occasion.

Reference:
Prendini L, Francke OF, Vignoli V. Troglomorphism, trichobothriotaxy and typhlochactid phylogeny (Scorpiones, Chactoidea): more evidence that troglobitism is not an evolutionary dead-end. Cladistics. 2010;26(2):117-142. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Oscar Francke for sending me this paper!

Family Typhlochactidae

20 September, 2009

Major revision of troglomorphic North American scorpions results in a new family and genus

The fantastic troglomorphic and trglobitic scorpions of Mexico have been placed in different families since their discovery. The study of these enigmatic scorpions has been difficult because of their cryptic ecology (some species living deep in narrow caves) and low population numbers. Only 29 specimens have been collected in the last 40 years. The species has until recently been placed in the family Superstitioniidae.

In a recent revision of all known specimens, Valerio Vignoli & Lorenzo Prendini (2009) have redescribed all species and conducted a cladistic analysis. This has resulted in the elevation of the old family Typhlochactidae Mitchell, 1971. In addition, the new genus Stygochactas Vignoli & Prendini, 2009 has been created to accomodate the species S. granulosus (Sissom & Cokendolpher, 1998), previously placed in Typhlochactas Mitchell, 1971.

The following taxa have been transfered from Superstitioniidae to Typhlochactidae:

Alacran tartarus Francke, 1982
Alacran chamuco Francke, 2009 (not in this paper, but published a few weeks ago)
Sotanochactas elliotti (Mitchell, 1971)
Stygochactas granulosus (Sissom & Cokendolpher, 1998)
Typhlochactas cavicola Francke, 1986
Typhlochactas mitchelli Sissom, 1988
Typhlochactas reddelli Mitchell, 1968
Typhlochactas rhodesi Mitchell, 1968
Typhlochactas sissomi Francke et al., 2009
Typhlochactas sylvestris Mitchell & Peck, 1977

Abstract:
The scorpion family Typhlochactidae Mitchell, 1971, endemic to eastern Mexico, comprises nine troglomorphic species specialized for life in hypogean and endogean habitats. Due to their cryptic ecology, inaccessible habitat, and apparently low population density, Typhlochactidae are poorly known. Only 29 specimens have been collected in 40 years. Four species are known from a single specimen, two species are known only from the male and three only from the female. We provide an illustrated revision of the family based on a reexamination of most specimens in the world’s collections, including new specimens collected after the original descriptions and older specimens not previously described. Based on results of a recent cladistic analysis, Typhlochactidae are elevated, for the first time, from their former rank as subfamily, first of Chactidae and, more recently, of Superstitioniidae. Alacraninae, new subfamily is created to accommodate Alacran Francke, 1982. Stygochactas, new genus, is created to accommodate Typhlochactas granulosus Sissom and Cokendolpher, 1998 in a new combination. Sotanochactas Francke, 1986, Stygochactas and Typhlochactas Mitchell, 1971 are retained in subfamily Typhlochactinae Mitchell, 1971. Diagnoses of the family and subfamilies are presented, followed by a key to the genera and species, revised diagnoses of the genera, revised diagnoses and descriptions, tabulated meristic data, and distribution maps of the species. Descriptions and diagnoses are illustrated with ultraviolet fluorescence and visible light photographs, providing a visual atlas to the morphology of these remarkable scorpions. A review of their taxonomic history is provided, the importance of trichobothriotaxy for their systematics discussed, and several misconceptions in the literature clarified.

Reference:
Vignoli V, Prendini L. Systematic revision of the troglomorphic North American scorpion family Typhlochactidae (Scorpiones, Chactoidea). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 2009; (326):1-94. [Free fulltext]

Family Typhlochactidae

11 September, 2009

Biodiversity of Venezuela: Four new species of Tityus

I've learned about another new paper from the late Manuel Gonzalez Sponga. Here four new species of Tityus Koch, 1836 (Buthidae) are described from the Venezuelan states of Monagas, Sucre and Bolivar:

Tityus longidigitus Gonzalez Sponga, 2008
Tityus quiriquirensis Gonzalez Sponga, 2008
Tityus romeroi Gonzalez Sponga, 2008
Tityus sanfernandoi Gonzalez Sponga, 2008

Abstract:
Four new species of Venezuelan scorpions of the genus Tityus Koch. 1836 (Buthidae): Tityus longidigitus, Tityus quiriquirensis, Tityus romeroi and Tityus sanfernandoi are described. They live in the oriental and Imataca mountain range regions in Venezuela. in altitudes between 100 and 200 m. Drawing of significant morphological characters are presented to diagnose the species: tables with morphometric characters are given. Typical localitions are indicated in the map.

Reference:
Gonzalez Sponga MA. Biodiversidad en Venezuela. Descripcion de cuatro nuevas especies del genero Tityus Koch, 1836 (Scorpionida: Buthidae) de los estados Monagas, Sucre y Bolivar. Bol Acad C Fis Mat y Nat. 2008;68 (4):9-30.

Family Buthidae

The genus Orobothriurus in central Argentina and a descrption of a new species

Orobothriurus Maury, 1975 (Bothriuridae) is an interesting genus where most species occur at high altitudes above 2500 m in South America. Most high altitude species are found in the Andes mountain range, but species have also been found in other locations.

Andres Ojanguren Affilastro and co-workers have now published a study on Orobothriurus in Argentina with a description of a new species:

Orobothriurus grismadoi Ojanguren Affilastro, Campon, Silnik & Mattoni, 2009 (Bothriuridae)

In the same paper, Orobothriurus bivittatus (Thorell, 1877) is synonymised with O. alticola (Pocock, 1899).

Abstract:
New data on the scorpion genus Orobothriurus Maury 1976 in central Argentina are provided. Orobothriurus grismadoi n.sp. is described; this species occurs in high altitudes in El Nevado mountain chain, an isolated orographic system in Southern Mendoza, Argentina, separated by almost 200 km from the Andes Mountain chain. This species is closely related to Orobothriurus alticola (Pocock, 1899). This is the southernmost record for the genus about 300 km south from previous records. Orobothriurus bivittatus (Thorell, 1877) is synonymised with O. alticola based on material recently collected in El Tontal mountain chain. We also provide new data about the distribution and intraspecific variability of O. alticola.

Reference:
Ojanguren-Affilastro AA, Campon FF, Silnik SL, Mattoni CI. The genus Orobothriurus Maury in central Argentina with description of a new species from El Nevado mountain chain in Mendoza Province (Scorpiones: Bothriuridae). Zootaxa. 2009; (2209):28-42. [Subscription required for fulltext]

Family Bothriuridae

08 September, 2009

"Scorpion Strongmen" - Who's got the strongest grip?

The size of scorpion claws (pincers) vary a lot. Some species has long and slender pedipalps (like Leiurus), while others have broad and powerful claws (like Pandinus). But who's got the strongest pincer force?

A. van der Meijden and co-workers have published a comparison of claw size and pincer force in seven species. Scorpions with the highest claws had the strongest grip. The authors suggest that slender claws may be an adaption to speed (catching quick and elusive prey) rather than maximum force. Large claws may be an adaption to defense against predators, but can also have other functions (like burrowing).

Abstract:
A key feature of the ancient body plan of scorpions is the pincer or chela. These multifunctional structures vary considerably in size and shape between different scorpion species. Here we provide the first comparative data on the pinching performance of the chelae of seven species of scorpions exemplifying the extremes of the shape range from slender to robust; Leiurus quinquestriatus, Androctonus amoreuxi, Androctonus australis, Hadogenes sp., Pandinus imperator, Scorpio maurus and Pandinus cavimanus (in the order of decreasing chela height to width ratio). Size-corrected chela height correlates highly with maximum pinch force. Independent contrasts suggest that the correlation of chela width, height and fixed finger length with maximum pinch force is independent of phylogeny, suggesting an adaptive component to the evolution of chela shape and performance.

Reference:
van der Meijden A, Herrel A, Summers A. Comparison of chela size and pincer force in scorpions; getting a frist grip. J Zool. 2009:1-7. DOI:10.1111/j.1469-7998.2009.00628.x [This is an early view article - Subscription required for fulltext]

Thanks to Dr. van der Meijden for sending me the paper!

07 September, 2009

A new cave scorpion from Mexico

Mexico has many deep cave system and in these system there are some fantastic troglobitic scorpions (lacking eyes and pigmentation). Oscar Francke has now described a new species in the genus Aalcran from a cave in Oaxaca, Mexico. This is the seccond species in this genus. The other species (A. tartarus Francke, 1982) is only known from a handful of specimens.

Alacran is currently placed in the family Superstitionidae, but according to the information in Francke's paper a forthcomming paper by Vignoli & Prendini will reinstate the family Typhlochactidae Mitchell, 1971 for Alcran and probably other similar genera in the family Superstitionidae. I will blog details about this as soon as I have access to the paper and it's formally published.

Alacran chamuco Francke, 2009 (Superstitionidae/Typhlochactidae)

Abstract:
Alacran chamuco sp. nov., a new eyeless, troglobitic scorpion from Te Cimutaa, Valle Nacional, is described. This is the second known species in the genus; sharing with Alacran tartarus a very similar trichobothrial pattern and the lack of “petite” trichobothria—both unique characters in the family Typhlochactidae. The new species differs from A. tartarus in the pedipalp finger dentition and the relative size of the telson. The two cave systems in Oaxaca where the two species of Alacran occur are approximately 75 kilometers apart.

Reference:
Francke OF. A new species of Alacran (Scorpiones: Typhlochactidae) from a cave in Oaxaca, Mexico. Zootaxa. 2009; (2222):46-56. [Subscription required for fulltext]

Thanks to Dr. Jean-Michel Pacaud for sending me the Francke paper!

Family Superstitionidae

04 September, 2009

Social behavior and shelter selection in Mesobuthus gibbosus

Dimitris Kaltsas, Iasmi Stathi & Moysis Mylonas have published a study of intraspecific differentiation of social behavior and shelter selection in the buthid Mesobuthus gibbosus (Brulle, 1832) in two locations in Greece.

Their results indicate that seasonal shelter selection and social behavior of M. gibbosus are regulated by climatic factors and differ in relation to intraspecific (within the species) competition. Sociality in the form of sharing shelters will cease in the warm period because of higher activity in prey capture and hence an increased intraspecific competition (but no connection to an increased danger of cannibalism as M. gibbosus seems to be a non-cannibalistic species).

Abstract:
We compared seasonal shelter selection and social behavior of Mesobuthus gibbosus from autumn to mid-summer in two similar phryganic ecosystems, in continental Greece (near Volos city) and in insular Greece (eastern Crete), and in the laboratory under simulated abiotic conditions. Our results showed that shelter selection is a critical indicator of the seasonal social behavior of the species. The abrupt climatic changes in spring caused a differentiation in shelter selection between the cold period (November–February) and the warm period (March–June) at both sites. Sociality was exhibited only during winter in the field and was more extensive under cold conditions in the laboratory. Co-occurrence of scorpions proved to be age-specific, facilitated by population density and by harsh abiotic conditions during winter, and negatively influenced by intraspecific competition, which was higher in continental Greece. The response of scorpions to changes of abiotic factors reveals synchronization of seasonal shelter selection with climatic changes.

Reference:
Kaltsas D, Stathi I, Mylonas M. Intraspecific differentiation of social behavior and shelter selection in Mesobuthus gibbosus (Brull,, 1832) (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Journal of Ethology. 2009 Sep;27 (3):467-73. [Subscritpion required for fulltext]

Photo: Mesobuthus gibbosus from northwestern Crete, Greece (Photo: Jan ove Rein).

Family Buthidae

02 September, 2009

Redescription of Tityopsis aliciae

The genus Tityopsis Armas, 1974 has only three known species (two in Cuba and one in Mexico). Tityopsis aliciae Armas & Martin-Frias, 1998 has only been known from one poorly preserved specimen. Vianey Vidal-Acosta and Oscar Francke have now published a redescription of the species based on a new specimen.

Abstract:
Tityopsis aliciae Armas y Martín-Frías, 1998 is redescribed based on an adult female from the type locality, Tehuantepec, Oaxaca. The holotype, previously the only known specimen, is a subadult female and it is poorly preserved, which led to some inaccuracies in the original description. There were some doubts regarding the type locality, but the finding of an adult female confirms the presence of this genus, the second belonging to the family Buthidae, in Mexico.

Reference:
Vidal-Acosta V, Francke OF. Redescripcion de Tityus aliciae (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad. 2009;80:333-9.

Thanks to Oscar Francke for sending me this paper!

Family Buthidae

01 September, 2009

A new Centruroides from Mexico

Carlos Santibanez-Lopez and Javier Ponce-Saavedra have recently described a new Centruroides species from Mexico:

Centruroides serrano Santibanez-Lopez & Ponce-Saavedra, 2009 (Buthidae)

Abstract:
Centruroides serrano sp. nov. from the Sierra Juárez of Oaxaca (Villa Alta District) is described. This is the eleventh species of the genus reported from Oaxaca and the first one reported from this area. It occurs from 500 m to 1 500 m. It is compared to C. baergi Hoffmann, 1932, C. nigrovariatus Pocock, 1898 and C. hoffmanni Armas, 1996 due to its overall similarity. To separate these 4 species, a principal component analysis was conducted. A list of the species of this genus from Oaxaca is provided.

Reference:
Santibanez-Lopez CE, Ponce-Saavedra J. A new species of Centruroides (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from the northern mountain range of Oaxaca, Mexico. Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad. 2009;80:321-31.

Thanks to Carlos Eduardo Santibáñez López for sending me the paper!

Family Buthidae

26 August, 2009

A new Androctonus from Togo - Corrections

On a few occations I blog information before I have read the whole article (based on the abstract available), and sometimes this is not a smart thing to do.

Early in August, I blogged the news about a new Androctonus from Togo based on the abstract. The problem is that I missed the new species (which wasn't named in the abstract) and only told about a revalidation of another species which was also a part on the paper. I big thanks to Laszlo Pudleiner for letting me know about this mistake.

So here is a complete informationreview of the Lourenco paper:

Wilson Lourenco has described a new species of Androctonus from Togo:

Androctonus togolensis Lourenco, 2008 (Buthidae)

This species is only known from savannah-like formations in the north of Togo.

In the same paper, Lourenco also revalidate Prionurus eburneus Pallary, 1928, which was previously synonymised with Androctonus amoreuxi (Audouin, 1826). Valid name is now:

Androctonus eburneus (Pallary, 1928) (Buthidae)

Abstract:
A new species of scorpion belonging to the genus Androctonus Ehrenberg, 1828 (the family Buthidae C. L. Koch, 1837), is described on the basis of a large series of specimens collected in the savannah-like formations in the North of Togo. The new species is characterized by yellowish to pale yellow coloration and a moderate size in relation to other species of the genus. The species Androctonus eburneus (= Prionurus eburneus Pallary, 1928), previously synonymised to Androctonus amoreuxi (Audouin, 1826), is revalidated.

Reference:
Lourenco WR. A new species of Androctonus Ehrenberg, 1828 from Togo (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Entomol Mitt Zool Mus Hamburg. 2008 Oct 1;15 (179):37-44.

Family Buthidae

25 August, 2009

A new Heterometrus species from Vietnam

A just learned about a new species of Heterometrus (Scorpionidae) described from Vietnam:

Heterometrus liangi Zhu & Yang, 2007

I have not read this paper myself (it is in Chinese), so this information is based on the papers bibliographical data. This species is not included in Kovarik's latest revision of this genus in his recently published "Illustrated Catalog of Scorpions".

Reference:
Zhu MS, Yang X-F. Two species of the genus Heterometrus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Scorpionidae) from South Vietnam sold in pet shops in China. Acta Arachnologica Sinica. 2007;16 (2):92-103.

Thanks to Gérard Dupre for informing me about this paper!

Family Scorpionidae

24 August, 2009

Scorpion fauna of Venezuela: Four new Tityus species

The works of the late Manuel Gonzalez Sponga continues to increase the knowledge of the scorpion fauna of Venezuela. Four new species of Tityus (Buthidae) are described in a recent paper:

Tityus acananensis Gonzalez Sponga, 2009
Tityus maniapurensis Gonzalez Sponga, 2009
Tityus ventuarensis Gonzalez Sponga, 2009
Tityus yerenai Gonzalez Sponga, 2009

Abstract:
Four new species of Venezuelan scorpions are described: Tityus acananensis, Tityus maniapurensis, Tityus ventuarensis & Tityus yerenai. The inhabit in localities situated in the Bolivar and Amazonas States in variable altitudes between 100 and 500 meters. Drawings of significant morphological characters are presented to diagnostic species, those were determinated by the author using a stereoscope; this same quipment were used to take morphometrics characters. Typical localities are signaled on a map.

Reference:
Gonzalez Sponga MA. Biodiversidad en Venezuela. Aracnidos. Descripcion de cuatro nuevas especies del genero Tityus Koch, 1836 (Escorpiones: Buthidae) de los estados Bolivar y Amazonas. Rev Invest (Guadalajara). 2009; (66):227-55.

Family Buthidae

19 August, 2009

A new paper on Rhopalurus abudi from Hispaniola

Lorenzo Prendini and co-workers have recently published a paper on Rhopalurus abudi (Buthidae). The species is redescribed and the male is described for the first time. The authors also report the species form mainland Hispaniola for the first time.

Abstract:
Rhopalurus abudi Armas & Marcano Fondeur 1987 was originally described on the basis of a single female specimen from Isla Saona, La Romana Province, off the southeast coast of the Dominican Republic. The species is redescribed here based on a series of new specimens including 19 adult males and 14 adult females collected at two nearby localities on the eastern side of Parque Nacional del Este, La Altagracia Province, southeastern Dominican Republic. These specimens represent the first records of R. abudi on mainland Hispaniola and the first male specimens of the species to be collected.

Reference:
Prendini L, Esposito LA, Huff JC, Volschenk ES. Redescription of Rhopalurus abudi (Scorpiones, Buthidae), with first description of the male and first record from mainland Hispaniola. Journal of Arachnology. 2009;37 (2):206-24. [Subscription required for fulltext, but free fulltext after one year]

Family Buthidae

18 August, 2009

14 new species from Venezuela

The scorpion biodiversity of Venezuela was studied by the late Manuel Gonzalez Sponga for many years. In four papers authored by Gonzalez Sponga, 14 new species have been described:

Buthidae:

Tityus duacaensis González Sponga, 2007
Tityus elizabethebravoi González Sponga, 2007
Tityus ivani González Sponga, 2008
Tityus kalettai González Sponga, 2007
Tityus maimirensis González Sponga, 2007
Tityus maturinensis González Sponga, 2008
Tityus pampanensis González Sponga, 2007
Tityus urachichensis González Sponga, 2007
Tityus walli González Sponga, 2007

Chactidae:

Chactas granulosus González Sponga, 2007
Chactas hatilloensis González Sponga, 2007
Chactas iutensis González Sponga, 2008
Chactas turguaensis González Sponga, 2007
Chactas venegasi González Sponga, 2008

References:
(References corrected 24.08.09)
Gonzales-Sponga MA. Biodiversidad en Venezuela. Arachnidos. Descripcion de cuatro nuevas especies del genero Tityus Koch, 1836 (EScorpiones: Buthidae) de la region centro occidental de Venezuela. Bol Acad C Fis Mat y Nat. 2007;67 (1-2):37-63.

Gonzales-Sponga MA. Biodiversidad en Venezuela. Arachnidos. Descripcion de una nueva especie del genero Tityus Koch, 1836 (Buthidae) y tres del genero Chactas Gervais, 1844 (Chactidae). Escorpiones de los alrededores del Carcas, Distrito Metropolitano. Acta Biol Venez. 2007;27 (1):7-24.

Gonzales-Sponga MA. Biodiversidad en Venezuela. Descripcion de dos nuevas especies del genero Tityus Koch, 1836 (Buthidae) y dos especies del genero Chactas Gervais, 1844 (Chactidae). Bol Acad C Fis Mat y Nat. 2008;58 (1):39-65.

Gonzales-Sponga MA, Wall Gonzalez VM. Biodiversidad en Venezuela. Descripcion de dos nuevas especies del genero Tityus Koch, 1836 (Scorpionidae: Buthidae) del Parque Nacional "Cueva del Guacharo". Bol Acad C Fis Mat y Nat. 2007;57 (3-4):9-23.

Thanks to Dr. Rojas-Runjaic for sending me these papers!

Family Buthidae
Family Chactidae

14 August, 2009

Three new Ananteris species from southeast Brazil

Alessandro Ponce de Leao Giupponi and co-workers have described three new species of Ananteris (Buthidae) from Brazil:

Ananteris bernabei Giupponi, Vasconcelos & Lourenco, 2009
Ananteris chagasi Giupponi, Vasconcelos & Lourenco, 2009
Ananteris kuryi Giupponi, Vasconcelos & Lourenco, 2009

Abstract:
A new synthesis of the geographical distribution of the genus Ananteris Thorell, 1891 (Scorpiones, Buthidae) in Brazil is proposed. Three new species, Ananteris chagasi sp. n., Ananteris kuryi sp. n., and Ananteris bernabei sp. n. are described from the States of Bahia, Espirito Santo and Minas Gerais. Only isolated records of Ananteris species where known up to now, for the States of Minas Gerais and Bahia. The record of an Ananteris species from the State of Espirito Santo is new. The total number of Ananteris species is now raised to 67 and from this, 16 species are found in Brazil. The geographical distribution of the genus is considerably enlarged in the country.

Reference:
Giupponi APD, de Vasconcelos EG, Lourenco WR. The genus Ananteris Thorell, 1891 (Scorpiones, Buthidae) in southeast Brazil, with the description of three new species. ZooKeys. 2009; (13):29-41. [Free fulltext]

Family Buthidae

07 August, 2009

A new Androctonus from Togo

Wilson Lourenco has revalidated Prionurus eburneus Pallary, 1928, which was previously synonymised to Androctonus amoreuxi (Audouin, 1826). The new species is known from Togo.

Androctonus eburneus (Pallary, 1928) (Buthidae)

Abstract:
A new species of scorpion belonging to the genus Androctonus Ehrenberg, 1828 (the family Buthidae C. L. Koch, 1837), is described on the basis of a large series of specimens collected in the savannah-like formations in the North of Togo. The new species is characterized by yellowish to pale yellow coloration and a moderate size in relation to other species of the genus. The species Androctonus eburneus (= Prionurus eburneus Pallary, 1928), previously synonymised to Androctonus amoreuxi (Audouin, 1826), is revalidated.

Reference:
Lourenco WR. A new species of Androctonus Ehrenberg, 1828 from Togo (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Entomol Mitt Zool Mus Hamburg. 2008 Oct 1;15 (179):37-44.

Family Buthidae

A new Brotheas from Bolivia

Wilson Lourenco has described a new species in the genus Brotheas (Chactidae) from Bolivia (South America):

Brotheas bolivianus Lourenco, 2008 (Chactidae)

Abstract:
A new species of scorpion belonging to the genus Brotheas C. L. Koch, 1837 (family Chactidae Pocock, 1893), is described on the basis of one male specimen collected in Bolivia (W of Manoa, nearby the Abuna river) at the border with Brazil. The new species is characterized by reddish-yellow coloration, the carapace strongly convex and body and appendix weakly granulated. This new species is the first element of the family Chactidae ever reported from Bolivia.

Reference:
Lourenco WR. A new species of Brotheas C. L. Koch, 1837 (Scorpiones, Chactidae) from Bolivia. Entomol Mitt Zool Mus Hamburg. [Article]. 2008 Jul 1;15 (178):1-6.

Family Chactidae

05 August, 2009

Androctonus australis reported for the first time from Morocco

Morocco has been a hotspot for the genus Androctonus (Buthidae) with five known species (A. amoreuxi, A. gonneti, A. liouville, A. mauritanicus & A. sergenti). Now Philippe Geniez reports about the presence of Androctonus australis in southeastern Morocco, increasing the number of species to six. This is finding is important because A. australis is one of the most dangerous species in the genus.

Abstract:
Androctonus australis, a Saharo-Sindian scorpion, is new for Morocco. With six species, this country is the greatest centre of diversity for the genus Androctonus. This scorpion, responsible for several deadly envenomations each year in Algeria and Tunisia, is potentially dangerous in Morocco.

Reference:
Geniez P. Decouverte au Maroc d'Androctonus aunstralis (Linnaeus, 1758) (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Poiretia. 2009; (1):1-4. [Free fultext]

Thanks to Jean-Michel Pacaud (Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle) for sending me this paper!

Family Buthidae

03 August, 2009

A scorpion biography for Gershom Levy has been published

Arachnologist Gershom Levy from Israel died in March 2009. Dr. Henk K. Mienis (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) has now written an article presenting articles and new taxa dealing with scorpions authored by Dr. Levy.

Reference:
Mienis HK. Articles and new taxa dealing with scorpions authored by Dr. Gershom Levy (1937-2009). The Scorpion Files - Occational Papers. 2009; (3):1-3. [Free fulltext]

28 July, 2009

A couple of Pandinus updates

Update 1:

Even though I try my best to keep the Scorpion Files' species list updated, I discover changes that I've missed in the past. Tonight, I discovered that Pandinus militaris Pocock, 1900 was synonymised with Pandinus cavimanus (Pocock, 1888) back in 2002. The Scorpion Files is updated accordingly.

Abstract:
2941 specimens of scorpions deposited in the collection are determined and revised. The collection contains 229 species, 62 genera, and 14 families and includes types of 26 species and subspecies, of which 13 are valid. Heterometrus petersi luzonensis Couzijn, 1981 is synonymized with Heterometrus (Javanimetrus) cyaneus (C. L. Koch, 1836). Revision of specimens identified by Roewer makes doubtful the occurrences of Parabuthus capensis (Ehrenberg, 1831) in Namibia, Parabuthus granulatus (Ehrenberg, 1831) in Kenya, Tityus androcottoides (Karsch, 1879) in Venezuela, Tityus carinatoides Mello-Leităo, 1945 in Brazil, Tityus lutzi Giltay, 1928 in Argentina, Tityus magnimanus Pocock, 1897 in Venezuela, Opisthacanthus asper (Peters, 1862) in Tanzania, Heterometrus liurus (Pocock, 1897) in Sri Lanka, and Pandinus militaris Pocock, 1900 in Sudan. Comparison of types leads to the conclusion that Pandinus militaris Pocock, 1900 is a junior synonym of Pandinus cavimanus (Pocock, 1888).

Reference:
Kovarik F. A checklist of scorpions (Arachnida) in the collection of the Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum Senckenberg, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Serket. 2002 April;8 (1):1-23.

Update 2:

In 2003, Kovarik synonymized Pandinus gregoryi Pocock, 1896 with Pandinus exitialis (Pocock, 1888). In his recent book (Illustrated catalog of scorpions. Part I), Kovarik has restored Pandinus gregoryi Pocock, 1896 back to species status after investigating new materials. The Scorpion Files is updated accordingly.

Reference:
Kovarik F. Illustrated catalog of scorpions. Part I. Introductory remarks; keys to families and genera; subfamily Scorpioninae with illustrated keys to Heterometrus and Pandinus species. Prague: Clarion Production; 2009.


Family Scorpionidae

Aristotle and scorpions

Did you know that Aristotle was probably the first to publish zoological information about scorpions (although the ancient Egyptians did have medical prescriptions and magical spells to heal scorpion stings)?

“locality is an important
element in regard to the bite of an animal. Thus, in
Pharos and other places, the bite of the scorpion is not
dangerous; elsewhere – in Caria, for instances – where
scorpions are venomous as well as plentiful and of large
size, the sting is fatal to man or beast…”

[Aristotle in Hist. Anim. VIII.29 - translated by D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson, Cited in Fet et al. (2009)]

Victor Fet and co-workers have now published a discussion on Aristotle's scorpion text and show that Aristotle probably wrote about Euscorpius in the Greek colony of Pharos (now Hvar Island, Croatia) and Mesobuthus gibbosus in mainland Greece and their difference in toxicity.

Abstract:
During 2300 years of rather extensive commentary on Aristotle’s works, the sentence in his History of Animals addressing scorpion distribution has escaped scrutiny. We demonstrate that when Aristotle wrote (350 BC) that “in Pharos and other places, the bite of the scorpion is not dangerous”, he most likely meant not the Pharos of Egypt (the later site of the fabled Lighthouse of Alexandria) but the Greek colony of Pharos in the Adriatic Sea, the modern island of Hvar, Croatia. The northern range of toxic scorpions (genus Mesobuthus, fam. Buthidae, common in the Ancient Greece) in the Balkans does not reach Croatia, while non-dangerous species of Euscorpius (fam. Euscorpiidae).

Reference:
Fet V, El-Hennawy H, Braunwalder ME, Cloudsley Thompson JL. The first observation on scorpion biogeography by Aristoteles. Boletin Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa. 2009; (44):147-50.

27 July, 2009

A revision of the Diplocentrinae of Jamaica

Rolando Teruel has recently done a review of the Diplocentrinae (subfamily of Scorpionidae - Note that some authors have kept the family status, Diplocentridae for this taxa) found in Jamaica. This is the first comprehensive investigation in 30 years and is based on newly obtained materials.

The subfamily is represented in Jamaica only by the genus Heteronebo and species Heteronebo elegans Francke, 1978 and Heteronebo scaber (Pocock, 1893).

Heteronebo scaber (Pocock, 1893) is a new combination. Previous name is Cazierius scaber (Pocock, 1893). In addition, the following taxa are considered as junior synonyms of H. scaber:

Heteronebo franckei Stockwell, 1985
Heteronebo jamaicae jamaicae Francke, 1978
Heteronebo jamaicae occidentalis Francke, 1978
Heteronebo jamaicae portlandensis Francke, 1978

The paper presents new diagnosis for H. elegans and H. scaber and their distribution is updated with new reccords.

Reference:
Teruel R. Los escorpiones Diplocentrinos de Jamaica (Scorpiones: Scorpionidae: Diplocentronae). Boletin Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa. 2009; (44):103-10.

Family Scorpionidae

A new Buthus species from Mauritania

The "Buthus species complexes" of North Africa have been under investigation by Wilson Lourenco and co-workers for several years. Research on the "Buthus occitanus species complex" and the "Buthus atlantis species complex" have revealed several new species.

Lourenco, Sun & Zhu have now described a new Buthus species from Mauritania:

Buthus occidentalis Lourenco, Sun & Zhu, 2009 (Buthidae)

This is the first confirmed presence of this genus in Mauritania. The new species belongs to the "Buthus occitanus species complex" and is related to Buthus draa Lourenco & Slimani, 2004 from southern Morocco.

Reference:
Lourenco WR, Sun D, Zhu M-S. About the presence of the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 in Mauritania, with description of a new species (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Boletin Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa. 2009; (44):71-5.

Family Buthidae