23 December, 2016

Season's Greetings from The Scorpion files


22 December, 2016

A new species of Buthacus from Morocco and a review of the species from Northwestern Africa


Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers have recently published a review of the Buthacus Birula, 1908 (Buthidae) from Northwestern Africa. These are the main taxonomical decisions:

New species:

Buthacus stockmanni Kovarik, Lowe & Stahlavsky, 2016 (Morocco and Western Sahara)

Synonymization:

Buthacus huberi Lourenço, 2001 is synonymized with Buthacus occidentalis Vachon, 1953.

Buthacus mahraouii Lourenço, 2004 is synonymized with Buthacus ziegleri Lourenço, 2000.

Buthacus leptochelys algerianus Lourenço, 2006 is synonymized with Buthacus ziegleri Lourenço, 2000.

The paper has color pictures of species and their habitats.

Abstract:
Northwestern African Buthacus species are revised. Buthacus stockmanni sp. n. from Morocco and Western Sahara is described and fully complemented with color photos of live and preserved specimens, as well as their habitat. The hemispermatophore of B. stockmanni sp. n. is illustrated and described. In addition to morphology and hemispermatophores, we also describe the karyotypes of B. stockmanni sp. n. (2n=20). B. stockmanni sp. n. is compared with B. occidentalis Vachon, 1953 and B. ziegleri Lourenço, 2000. Both these species are differentiated from B. stockmanni sp. n. geographically and morphologically. The male of B. stockmanni sp. n. has fingers of pedipalp chela strongly twisted proximally and males of the other two species have fingers straight or almost straight. Buthacus huberi Lourenço, 2001 is synonymized with Buthacus occidentalis Vachon, 1953; Buthacus mahraouii Lourenço, 2004 and Buthacus leptochelys algerianus Lourenço, 2006 are synonymized with Buthacus ziegleri Lourenço, 2000.

Reference:
Kovarik F, Lowe G, Stahlavsky F. Review of Northwestern African Buthacus, with Description of Buthacus stockmanni sp. n. from Morocco and Western Sahara (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2016(236):1-18. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

21 December, 2016

A new, psammophilic scorpion from Algeria


Wilson Lourenco and co-workers have recently published a new species of Buthacus Birula, 1908 (Buthidae) from the region of Ghardaïa, Algeria.

Buthacus spinatus Lourenco, Bissati & Sadine, 2016

Abstract:
Following the very recent description of Buthacus samiae Lourenco et Sadine, 2015 from the region of Ghardaïa, in central Algeria, a second new species belonging to this genus is described at present. This confirms the existence of two sympatric Buthacus in the central Algerian Saharan deserts. The total number of confirmed Buthacus in Algeria is raised to seven. This new discovery brings further evidence about the complexity of this genus, and also attests to a considerable degree of diversity found in the Algerian Saharan deserts.

Reference:
Lourenco WR, Bissat S, Sadine SE. One more new species of Buthacus Birula, 1908 from the region of Ghardaïa, Algeria (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Aracnida - Rivista Arachnologica Italiana. 2016;2(8):2-11.

Thanks to Salah Sadine for sending med their article!

Family Buthidae

16 December, 2016

On the enigmatic troglobitic scorpion Troglorhopalurus translucidus and comments on troglobitic buthids


Gallão and Bichuette have recently published an article with a description of the adult female of the troglobitic scorpion Troglorhopalurus translucidus Lourenço Baptista & Giupponi, 2004 from Brazil. The article also present new data on distribution and life history. The situation for Rhopalurus lacrau Lourenço & Pinto-da-Rocha, 1997 and other buthid troglobites is also discussed.

Abstract:
We describe for the first time the adult female of the troglobitic scorpion Troglorhopalurus translucidus Lourenço Baptista & Giupponi, 2004, and broaden its known distribution to other sandstone caves at Chapada Diamantina’s region. The life history of T. translucidus is reconstructed through morphometric measurements, with a multivariate analysis applied on a set of 16 specimens in all stages (including the holotype) and biological notes. The ontogeny of T. translucidus has seven stages and the litter size is 43 (n = 1). We discuss the isolation of T. translucidus and Rhopalurus lacrau Lourenço & Pinto-da-Rocha, 1997 in caves of Chapada Diamantina, and discuss their troglomorphisms (autapomorphies) among other species related with Rhopalurus. Both species must be considered fragile due their restricted endemism at Chapada Diamantina.

Reference:
Gallao JE, Bichuette ME. On the enigmatic troglobitic scorpion Troglorhopalurus translucidus: distribution, description of adult females, life history and comments on Rhopalurus lacrau (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Zoologia. 2016;33(6):e20150193. [Open Access]

Thanks to Dr. Andre Felipe de Araujo Lira for sending me this article!

14 December, 2016

New data on distribution and biology of the North African Lissothus occidentalis


Mark Stockmann and co-workers recently published an article with new data on the North African buthid Lissothus occidentalis Vachon, 1950. See abstract for a summary of the new data. The article has several color photos, showing both live specimens and their natural habitats.

Abstract:
Genus Lissothus Vachon, 1948 represented by L. occidentalis Vachon, 1950 is reported for the first time from four localities in Morocco and the Western Sahara. We provide a revised diagnosis of L. occidentalis, fully com-plemented with color photos of live and preserved specimens. Hemispermatophore is also illustrated and described in detail. Furthermore, we describe aspects of the ecology of this species, and provide photos of collection sites and habitats. We also report on the reproductive biology of this species based on captive breeding and rearing. and provide the first envenomation report for the species.

Reference:
Stockmann M, Turiel C, Althoff F, Lowe G, Kovarik F. First report of Lissothus occidentalis Vachon, 1950 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Morocco and Western Sahara, with notes on ecology and captive breeding. Euscorpius. 2016(235):1-12. [Open Access]

29 November, 2016

Two new Euscorpius species from southern Turkey


The massive hidden species diversity in the European genus Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 (Euscorpiidae) is still being uncovered. This time, Tropea and Yagmur have described two new species from southern Turkey.

Euscorpius aladaglarensis Tropea & Yagmur, 2016

Euscorpius hakani Tropea & Yagmur, 2016

Abstract:
Two new species of scorpion of the genus Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 are described from southern Turkey based on morphological ratio and trichobothrial data. E. hakani sp. n. from Mt. Eşeler, in Denizli Province in southwestern Turkey and E. aladaglarensis sp. n. from the Aladağlar Mts., in Niğde, Kayseri, and Adana Provinces. With the description of two new taxa, 17 species of Euscorpius are currently recognized in Turkey.

Reference:
Tropea G, Yagmur EA. Two New Species of Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 from Southern Turkey (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae). Euscorpius. 2016(234):1-19. [Open Access]

Family Euscorpiidae

28 November, 2016

The scorpion fauna in desert oases in Morocco


Desert oases are unique habitats having their special fauna and flora. Few studies have been done on the diversity of scorpions in this kind of habitat, but Moulay Abdelmonaim El Hidan and co-workers have now published a study on the scorpion fauna of five oases in south eastern Morocco.

Abstract:
El Hidan MA, Touloun O, Boumezzough A. New data on the diversity of scorpion fauna in the oases of south eastern Morocco. Serket. 2016;15(1):1-7. [Open Access]

Reference:
Oases form a unique ecosystem, characterized by its specialization precisely due to the effect of isolation and richness. We studied scorpion communities of south eastern Morocco at five oases. Sampling of scorpions was based on hand collecting, during the day and at night with ultraviolet light detection; 246 individuals of six species of family Buthidae were collected. The richest site contained 5 species and had the highest diversity, H’= 1.57. The lowest diversity was H’= 0.85. The most similar communities were Tagounit and M’hamid elghizlane (100%). The scorpion community at Boumalne was the most dissimilar to the other four sites. Hottentotta gentili was the most abundant species, comprising 36.58% of the material collected, while Buthus boumalenii was the rarest. Most species within the collection of individuals had a greater affinity for rockyearthy habitats (66.67%). In terms of seasonal pattern, scorpion abundance was highest during spring and summer seasons. Our results indicate that species composition differ between the northern oases (Boumalne) and the four southern oases.

Thanks to Carlos Turiel for sending me this article!

14 November, 2016

A new species of Buthus from The Central African Republic


Wilson Lourenco has recently published a new species of Buthus Leach, 1815 (Buthidae) from The Central African Republic.

Buthus centroafricanus Lourenco, 2016

Abstract:
A new species belonging to the genus Buthus Leach (Scorpiones, Buthidae) is described from Woodland Savannah formations in Central African Republic. The new species can be included in the ‘Buthus occitanus complex’ of species, and probably can be associated with the ‘Buthus occitanus’ from French occidental Africa (AOF) previously reported by Vachon from this large region located southern of the Sahel. This is the first record of a Buthus species from Central African Republic, and the most southern one within the known distribution of the genus. With the description of Buthus centroafricanus sp. n., the status of one more population of Buthus spp. from the sub-saharan region of Africa is clarified.

Reference:
Lourenco WR. A new species of the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from dry forest formations in Central African Republic. Serket. 2016;15(2):71-9. [Open Access]

Thanks to editor Hisham El-Hennawy of Serket for sending me a link to the latest issue of the journal!

Family Buthidae

10 November, 2016

First record of Androctonus robustus in Iran


Iran has a a rich and diverse scorpion fauna that has been subjected to several surveys in the last year. Ersen Yagmur and co-workers recently published a short note presenting the first record of Androctonus robustus Kovarik & Ahmed, 2013 (Buthidae) in Iran.

Reference:
Yagmur EA, Moradi M, Larti M, Lashkari S. First record of Androctonus robustus Kovařík & Ahmed, 2013 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) for Iran. Zoology in the Middle East. 2016;Published online: 28 Oct 2016. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Dr. Ersen Yagmur for sending me his article!

01 November, 2016

An update on the Saharan scorpion fauna in Morocco


Oulaid Touloun and co-workers have recently published an article on the species composition and geographical distribution of the Saharan scorpion fauna of Morocco.

Abstract:
Objective: To describe the species composition of scorpions and to study its geographical distribution in Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra and Dakhla-Oued Ed Dahab regions in July 2014.
Methods: To locate scorpions, the ground was examined through searching the places under the stones, rocks and in burrows. The nocturnal missions were also conducted using portable ultraviolet lamps. The scorpions were subsequently identified in the laboratory.
Results: The results of the investigations in these regions showed the presence of five scorpion species, two of which Androctonus gonneti and Buthus bonito were endemic in Morocco.
Conclusions: This work is allowed to complete the inventory of the studied scorpion fauna and provides some considerations on the distribution patterns in the study area.


Reference:
Touloun O, Hidan MAE, Boumezzough A. Species composition and geographical distribution of Saharan scorpion fauna, Morocco. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease. 2016;6(11):878-81. [Open Access]

28 October, 2016

Nice name! What does it mean?


Scientific names for scorpions are based on Latin or Greek, but what do they mean? Some names say something about how this special scorpion looks (e.g. flavidulus = yellowish). Others may say something about the scorpion's habitat (e.g. troglodytes = cave dweller) or the scorpions distribution (e.g. ankarana = from the Ankarana Massif, Madagascar). And in some cases the names are eponyms, they are given to commemorate a person (e.g. reini = [editor is blushing furiously]).

Gerard Dupre has now published an impressing list of scorpion taxa names and their meaning. This is an invaluable tool for us wondering all the time about the meaning of the names of our favorite scorpions.

Reference:
Dupre G. Dictionary of scientific scorpion names. Arachnides. 2016(78 Supplément):1-68. [Open Access]

A big thanks to Gerard Dupre for sending me this article, but also for allowing me to include the full text in The Scorpion Files Blog!

27 October, 2016

A new species of Teuthraustes from Peru


Andrea Rossi has described a new species of Teuthraustes Simon, 1878 (Chactidae) from north-west Peru. The new species were described in 2015 and has been included in The Scorpion Files for some time, but hasn't been mentioned in the blog until now because I didn't have access to the article.

 Teuthraustes castiglii Rossi, 2015

Abstract:
The presence of the genus Teuthraustes Simon, 1878 in Peru is discussed and a new species, Teuthraustes castiglii sp. n., is described from the region of Loreto, in north-west Peru. An identification key for the Peruvian species of the genus is given.

Reference:
Rossi A. The genus Teuthraustes Simon, 1878 in Peru, with the description of a new species (Scorpiones: Chactidae). Aracnida - Rivista Arachnologica Italiana. 2015;5(Supplemento):21-7.

Thanks to Andrea Rossi for sending me his article!

Family Chactidae

26 October, 2016

Three new species of Androctonus from Africa and Asia


Three new species of Androctonus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Buthidae) have been described by Andrea Rossi from Morocco, Ethiopia and Pakistan. The new species were described in 2015 and have been included in The Scorpion Files for some time, but haven't been mentioned in the blog until now because I didn't have access to the article.

Androctonus donarei Rossi, 2015 (Morocco)

Androctonus simonettai Rossi, 2015 (Ethiopia)

Androctonus tropeai Rossi, 2015 (Pakistan)

The article has an updated identification key for the genus Androctonus.

Abstract:
Three new species of the genus Androctonus Ehrenberg, 1828 are described from Africa and Asia, discussing about their possible medical importance. They are Androctonus donairei sp. n. from Morocco, Androctonus simonettai sp. n. from Ethiopia and Androctonus tropeai sp. n. from Pakistan. An identification key and a check-list are given for all species.

Reference:
Rossi A. Tre nuove specie di importanza medica del genere Androctonus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Aracnida - Rivista Arachnologica Italiana. 2015;5(Supplemento):2-20.

Thanks to Andrea Rossi for sending me his article!

Family Buthidae

25 October, 2016

Three new species of Grosphus from Madagascar


Madagascar is a hotspot for scorpion diversity and endemism. Wilson Lourenco and Lucienne Wilme have recently described three new species of Grosphus Simon 1880 (Buthidae) from the island.

Grosphus eliseanneae Lourenco & Wilme, 2016

Grosphus sabineae Lourenco & Wilme, 2016

Grosphus waeberi Lourenco & Wilme, 2016

In addition, Grosphus bistriatus Kraepelin 1900 is redescribed in the article.

Abstract:
A revised redescription is proposed for Grosphus bistriatus Kraepelin 1900. Three new species, associated with both G. bistriatus and G. ankarafantsika Lourenço 2003 are described. Some comments on biogeographic aspects linking the new species with both G. bistriatus and G. ankarafantsika are also provided.

Reference:
Lourenco WR, Wilme L. Three new species of Grosphus Simon 1880, (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Madagascar; possible vicariant cases within the Grosphus bistriatus group of species. Madagascar Conservation & Development. 2016;11(2):1-14. [Open Access]

Thanks to Carlos Turiel for informing me about this new article!

Family Buthidae

18 October, 2016

A new species of Centruroides from Guatemala


Rony Trujillo and Luis de Armas have recently published a new species of Centruroides Marx, 1890 (Buthidae) from Guatemala.

Centruroides ixil Trujillo & Armas, 2016

Abstract:
A new species of the genus Centruroides Marx, 1890 is described from Sotzil Village (15.61775°N, -91.09745°W, 1173 m a.s.l.), Chajul Municipality, Quiché Department, Guatemala, on basis of one female and one male. It closely resembles Centruroides caral Armas et Trujillo, 2013 from northeastern Guatemala (240 Km southeast of Chajul), but male differs by having a most globose pedipalp manus, as well as metasoma clearly more attenuate (len-gth/width ratio: segments II–IV = 2.4, 2.7 and 1.4, respectively; 1.7, 2.2 and 2.5 in the holotype of C. caral, the only known specimen of this taxon). Data on its habitat and some biogeographical comments are also given.

Reference:
Trujillo RE, de Armas LF. A New Species of Centruroides (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Quiché, Northwestern Guatemala. Euscorpius. 2016(233):1-8. [Open Access]

Thanks to Rony Trujillo for sending me their article!

Family Buthidae

14 October, 2016

Scorpions of the Horn of Africa part IX with two new species


Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers recently published part IX of their series of papers on the scorpion fauna of the Horn of Africa. In this paper a new species from Somaliland and a new species from Ethiopia are presented (both in the family Buthidae). In addition, the enigmatic scorpion Somalicharmus whitmanae Kovarik, 1998 (Buthidae) is redescribed based on new materials, and its taxonomy is discussed.

Lanzatus somalilandus Kovarik, Lowe & Stahlavsky, 2016 (Somaliland)

Orthochirus afar Kovarik, Lowe & Stahlavsky, 2016 (Ethiopia)

The paper has pictures of live specimens and habitats.

Abstract:
The rare Horn of Africa buthid genera Lanzatus Kovařík, 2001, Orthochirus Karsch, 1891, and Somalicharmus Kovařík, 1998 were newly collected. Lanzatus is reported for the first time from Somaliland, and Orthochirus for the first time from Ethiopia. We describe two new species, Lanzatus somalilandus sp. n. from Somaliland, and Orthochirus afar sp. n. from Ethiopia, both discovered during scorpiological expeditions in 2011–2016. Information is provided for all Horn of Africa species belonging to these three genera: their taxonomy, distribution, and ecology, fully complemented with color photos of live and preserved specimens, as well as their habitat. The morphology of the enigmatic scorpion Somalicharmus whitmanae Kovařík, 1998 is illustrated in detail. The first author recently collected 52 specimens including the first known females, which reveal natural colors, and show sexual dimorphism in the shape of the pedipalp chela and metasoma which are broader in males, and in the shape of the basal middle lamella of the pectines, which in females is extremely dilated and rounded. We describe the hemispermatophore, which is furnished with an atypically elongated basal lobe, and the chelicera, which differs from that of all other known extant buthids. Other characters indicate possible affinity with the south African buthid Karasbergia methueni Hewitt, 1913. We also describe karyotypes of S. whitmanae. We identified 2n=20 in seven males from two localities and 2n=21 in one male. In both analyzed localities we found males with reciprocal translocations that form conspicuous multivalents. The male with 2n=21 includes fission of one chromosome that increases the diploid number and implicates an odd number of chromosomes.

Reference:
Kovarik F, Lowe G, Stahlavsky F. Scorpions of the Horn of Africa (Arachnida: Scorpiones). Part IX. Lanzatus, Orthochirus, and Somalicharmus (Buthidae), with Description of Lanzatus somalilandus sp. n. and Orthochirus afar sp. n. Euscorpius. 2016(232):1-38. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae


13 October, 2016

A revision of the genus Pandinoides and a critique of the recent taxonomy of Pandinus Sensu Lato


The large scorpions in the genus Pandinus (Thorell, 1876), sensu lato (Scorpionidae) have been subjected to several taxonomical changes in the recent years. The genus has been split into new generea, and several new species have been described.

Lorenzo Prendini has now published a major paper criticizing many of the decisions for this group of scorpions in the recent years. Prendini concludes by reversing several taxonomic decisions made other authors on Pandinus, sensu lato. The papers also has a revision of the genus Pandinoides Fet, 1997 and a new species is described from Kenya and Tanzania. The two other species in the genus are redescribed.

The large, black scorpions of Africa are very popular in the pet trade and because of this may be threatened in some areas. Having a correct taxonomy and knowledge of these scorpions is important to ensure that they are protected from extinction because of over-harvesting.

These are the main taxonomical conclusion in the paper:

Pandinurus roeseli (Simon, 1872) is synonymized with Pandinus imperator (C. L. Koch, 1841).

Pandinoides duffmackayi Prendini, 2016 (new species from Kenya and Tanzania).

Pandinoides militaris (Pocock, 1900) (raised to species status after previous synonymization with Pandinoides cavimanus (Pocock, 1888).

The genus Pandinoides Fet, 1997 is restricted to three species: P. cavimanus (Pocock, 1888),  P. duffmackayi Prendini, 2016 and P. militaris Pocock, 1900.

The following species are synonymized:

Pandinus camerounensis Lourenco, 2014 is synonymized with Pandinus imperator (C. L. Koch, 1841).

Pandinurus prendinii Rossi, 2015 is synonymized with Pandinurus sudanicus (Hirst, 1911).

Pandinurus janae Rossi, 2015 is synonymized with Pandinurus percivali (Pocock, 1902).

Pandinurus bartolozii Rossi, 2015 is synonymized with Pandinurus viatoris (Pocock, 1890).

Pandinurus flagellicauda Rossi, 2015 is synonymized with Pandinurus viatoris (Pocock, 1890). 

Pandinurus lorenzoi Rossi, 2015 is synonymized with Pandinurus viatoris (Pocock, 1890). 

Pandinurus pantinii Rossi, 2015 is synonymized with Pandinurus viatoris (Pocock, 1890). 

Pandinurus pygmaeus Rossi, 2015 is synonymized with Pandinurus viatoris (Pocock, 1890). 
 
Abstract:
The scorpion fauna of East Africa, encompassing Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda, is more diverse than those of West and Central Africa, but a systematic survey has never been conducted and the distributions of its species remain poorly understood. A recent opportunity to examine two extensive collections of East African, and predominantly Kenyan, scorpions and new material acquired by the author permitted a reassessment of the fauna of the region. The present contribution, the first of several emanating from this research, comprises two parts. The first part presents a redefinition and revision of the scorpionid genus Pandinoides Fet, 1997, with a redescription of the type species, Pandinoides cavimanus (Pocock, 1888), a revalidation and redescription of Pandinoides militaris (Pocock, 1900), and a description of Pandinoides duffmackayi, sp. nov. Pending reassessment of the genera and subgenera of Pandinus, sensu lato, based on quantitative phylogenetic analysis, Pandinoides is restricted to the three species with a marked concave depression in the retrodorsal surface of the pedipalp chela manus of the adult male, and Pandinus platycheles Werner, 1916, transferred to Pandinus subgenus Pandinoriens Rossi, 2015, creating a new combination: Pandinus (Pandinoriens) platycheles (Werner, 1916), comb. nov. The availability of large series comprising both sexes and all stages of the three Pandinoides species covered herein revealed considerable variation in counts of pedipalp trichobothria, spiniform macrosetae of the leg telotarsi, and pectinal teeth, among and even within individual conspecifics, calling into question the widespread practice of defining species and supraspecific taxa almost exclusively on trivial meristic differences between small samples of material (often singletons, female or immature). Furthermore, whereas neobothriotaxic patterns with low counts may provide appropriate diagnostic characters for genera and species, in combination with other characters, this is generally inadvisable when trichobothrial counts are high, due to the greater instability of the patterns.

The second part of this contribution assesses the validity of several putative species of Pandinus, sensu lato, recently described or revalidated, in light of data presented in the first part, and presents 10 new synonyms: Heterometrus roeseli Simon, 1872 = Pandinus (P.) imperator (C.L. Koch, 1841), syn. nov.; Pandinus (P.) camerounensis Lourenço, 2014 = Pandinus (P.) imperator (C.L. Koch, 1841), syn. nov.; Pandinurus (P.) prendinii Rossi, 2015 = Pandinurus (P.) sudanicus (Hirst, 1911), syn. nov.; Pandinurus (Pandicaporiaccous) Rossi, 2015 = Pandinurus (Pandiborellius) Rossi, 2015, syn. nov.; Pandinurus (Pandicaporiaccous) janae Rossi, 2015 = Pandinurus (Pandiborellius) percivali (Pocock, 1902), syn. nov.; Pandinurus (Pandipalpus) bartolozii Rossi, 2015 = Pandinurus (Pandipalpus) viatoris (Pocock, 1890), syn. nov.; Pandinurus (Pandipalpus) flagellicauda Rossi, 2015 = Pandinurus (Pandipalpus) viatoris (Pocock, 1890), syn. nov.; Pandinurus (Pandipalpus) lorenzoi Rossi, 2015 = Pandinurus (Pandipalpus) viatoris (Pocock, 1890), syn. nov.; Pandinurus (Pandipalpus) pantinii Rossi, 2015 = Pandinurus (Pandipalpus) viatoris (Pocock, 1890), syn. nov.; Pandinurus (Pandipalpus) pygmaeus Rossi, 2015 = Pandinurus (Pandipalpus) viatoris (Pocock, 1890), syn. nov.


Reference:
Prendini L. Redefinition and systematic revision of the East African scorpion genus Pandinoides (Scorpiones: Scorpionidae) with critique of the taxonomy of Pandinus, sensu lato. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 2016(407):1-67. [Open Access]

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for sending me this article!

Family Scorpionidae 

10 October, 2016

A new species of Bothriurus from Brazil


Wilson Lourenco recently published a new species of Bothriurus Peters, 1861 (Bothriuridae) from the State of Para, Brazil.

Bothriurus xingu Lourenco, 2016

Abstract:
A new species, Bothriurus xingu sp. n., is described from Brazil. It is characterised by an unusual trichobothrial pattern of six ventral trichobothria on the pedipalp chela. Some information is given on the habitat of the new taxon and about the area from which it originates in the state of Pará in Brazil.

Reference:
Lourenco WR. A new species of Bothriurus Peters 1861 (Scorpiones: Bothriuridae) from the middle/lower ‘Rio Xingu’ in the State of Pará, Brazil. Arachnida - Rivista Aracnologica Italiana. 2016;2(8):32-8.

Thanks to Stenio Foerster for sending me this article!

Family Bothriuridae

07 October, 2016

Dear Authors: Please send me your articles!

The editior reading Lorenzo Prendini's latest paper on Pandinoides and Pandinus senso lata for a blog post in the near future.

Dear authors and scorpion scientists!

I'm working hard to keep the taxonomic lists on The Scorpion Files updated. This is possible thanks to a lot of scorpion friends and authors who either send me their papers or inform me about recently published works. In addition, I have several alerts from major databases that keep me updated.

But I still need help from you as I'm not able to track everything, and more important, I do not have access to the full text of all journals (even though I can get a lot as I work in an academic library). In the last year, several taxonomic articles have been published in journals that are impossible for me to get articles from. I these cases, I need help from the authors to send me the pdf files so that the taxonimical changes published can be included in The Scorpion Files and the article blogged here.

I have a policy to read all articles before I blog about them, and I also need them to get all the taxonomical conclusions. Not getting articles from small "hard to get" journals will cause The Scorpion Files to be not updated. And this is not good for the authors or the scorpion community. Authors want their papers read and the results known, and a good way to obtain this is to me mentioned in The Scorpion Files News Blog.

Articles or information about new articles, books and other scorpion publications can be sent to jan.rein@ub.ntnu.no.

Thank you!

Have a nice weekend!

Jan Ove Rein
Editor

23 September, 2016

Why do some scorpions climb onto scrubs in Spain?


Foraging behavior in scorpions (as in all animals) is balance between food availability and predation risk. And in scorpions, cannibalism is a well known risk, especially when individuals of different sizes live in the same population. Distribution and behavior of foraging scorpions will therefore be shaped by resource availability and predation risk.

Francisco Sánchez-Piñero and Fernando Urbano-Tenorio have recently published a study on foraging behavior and shrub climbing in the buthid Buthus occitanus (Amoreux, 1789) in Spain. The study did not support a hypotheses explaining shrub climbing based on resource availability, but did support to the hypothesis that shrub climbing in the scorpion Buthus occitanus is related to predator (cannibal) avoidance.

Abstract:
The distribution and behavior of foraging animals usually imply a balance between resource availability and predation risk. In some predators such as scorpions, cannibalism constitutes an important mortality factor determining their ecology and behavior. Climbing on vegetation by scorpions has been related both to prey availability and to predation (cannibalism) risk. We tested different hypotheses proposed to explain climbing on vegetation by scorpions. We analyzed shrub climbing in Buthus cf. occitanus with regard to the following: a) better suitability of prey size for scorpions foraging on shrubs than on the ground, b) selection of shrub species with higher prey load, c) seasonal variations in prey availability on shrubs, and d) whether or not cannibalism risk on the ground increases the frequency of shrub climbing. Prey availability on shrubs was compared by estimating prey abundance in sticky traps placed in shrubs. A prey sample from shrubs was measured to compare prey size. Scorpions were sampled in six plots (50 m x 10 m) to estimate the proportion of individuals climbing on shrubs. Size difference and distance between individuals and their closest scorpion neighbor were measured to assess cannibalism risk. The results showed that mean prey size was two-fold larger on the ground. Selection of particular shrub species was not related to prey availability. Seasonal variations in the number of scorpions on shrubs were related to the number of active scorpions, but not with fluctuations in prey availability. Size differences between a scorpion and its nearest neighbor were positively related with a higher probability for a scorpion to climb onto a shrub when at a disadvantage, but distance was not significantly related. These results do not support hypotheses explaining shrub climbing based on resource availability. By contrast, our results provide evidence that shrub climbing is related to cannibalism risk.

Reference:
Sanchez-Pinero F, Urbano-Tenorio F. Watch Out for Your Neighbor: Climbing onto Shrubs Is Related to Risk of Cannibalism in the Scorpion Buthus cf. occitanus. PLoS One. 2016;11(9):e0161747. [Open Access]

Thanks to Matt Simon for informing me about this paper!

14 September, 2016

Two new articles on scorpions found in Burmese amber


Even though rare, scorpions (and other arthropods) found in amber is an important tools for learning about scorpion development and evolution. Wilson Lourenco has now published two new papers with several new taxa based on scorpions found in Cretaceous amber of Myanmar.

Please note that the The Scorpion Files only lists extant taxa.

Abstract 1:
A study of three new scorpion specimens from the Cretaceous amber of Myanmar (Burma) leads to descriptions of one new genus, Burmesescorpiops gen.n., with the sole, and type, species, B. groehni sp.n., as well as of further two new species, Chaerilobuthus gigantosternum sp.n. and C. serratus sp.n., and to a confirmed validity of the subfamily Archaeoscorpiopinae Lourenço, 2015. At present, 18 scorpions and 21 fossil scorpions have been described from Burmese amber. This attests to a considerable degree of scorpion diversity in the Cretaceous Burmese amber- producing forests.

Abstract 2:
A preliminary study on fossil scorpions found in amber, from the Lower Cretaceous through the Palaeocene and up to the Miocene is proposed. Scorpions remain rare among the arthropods found trapped in amber. Only 24 specimens are known from Cretaceous amber, representing eight families and subfamilies, ten genera and 21 species; in parallel, 10 specimens have been recorded from Baltic amber representing seven genera and ten species. A few more recent fossils from Dominican and Mexican amber have also been described. The present study of a new scorpion specimen from the Cretaceous amber of Myanmar (Burmite) resulted in the description of one new species, Betaburmesebuthus bellus sp. n. – belonging to the subfamily Palaeoburmesebuthinae Lourenço, 2015. The new description brings further elements to the clarification of the status of this subfamily, which is now raised to family level. Once again, this new Burmite element attests to the considerable degree of diversity in the Burmese amber-producing forests.

Reference 1:
Lourenco W. A new genus and three new species of scorpions from Cretaceous Burmese amber (Scorpiones: Chaerilobuthidae: Palaeoeuscorpiidae). Arthropoda Selecta. 2016;25(1):67-74. [Open Access]

Reference 2:
Lourenco WR. A preliminary synopsis on amber scorpions with special reference to Burmite species: an extraordinary development of our knowledge in only 20 years. Zookeys. 2016(600):75-87. [Open Access]

Thanks to professor Victor Fet for sending me article 1!

13 September, 2016

A new species of Euscorpius from southern Turkey


Gioele Tropea and co-workers have described a new species of Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 (Euscorpiidae) from the Taurus Mountains in Antalya Province (Alanya District) in southern Turkey based on morphological and molecular evidence.

Euscorpius alanyaensis Tropea, Yagmur, Parmakelis & Kunt, 2016

The number of Euscorpius species described from Turkey is now 15.

Abstract:
A new scorpion species, Euscorpius alanyaensis sp. n., is described based on specimens collected from the Taurus Mountains in Antalya Province (Alanya District) in southern Turkey. It is a sibling species of the recently described E. gocmeni Tropea et al., 2014, and similarly, the new species is also characterized by a high trichobothrial count (Pv = 9–11, et = 7, em = 4, and eb = 4), a high pectinal teeth count (Dp = 9–11 in males, 8 in females), medium-small size, and light to medium brown reddish colour. In addition, for the first time a phylogenetic analysis (concatenated sequences of 16S rDNA and COI) is performed to reconstruct the relationships between E. gocmeni Tropea et al., 2014, E. koci Tropea et Yağmur, 2015, E. lycius Yağmur et al., 2013, E. avcii Tropea et al., 2012 from Turkey, and the new species herein described, E. alanyaensis sp. n.

Reference:
Tropea G, Yagmur EA, Parmakelis A, Kunt KB. Another New Species of Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 from the Taurus Mountains in Antalya Province, Southern Turkey (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae). Euscorpius. 2016(231):1-15. [Open Access]

Family Euscorpiidae

08 September, 2016

Sex differences in sting use and venom effect in Centruroides vittatus

D. W. Miller and co-workers have recently published an article demonstrating intersexual differences in sting use and venom effects in Centruroides vittatus (Say, 1821) (Buthidae). Females were more willing to sting than males, but the venom used by males was more effective (caused more pain). Interestingly, if adjusted for body size, males and females used approximately the same amount of venom when stinging. The reasons for these intersexual differences are discussed.

Abstract:
Studies of venom variability have advanced from describing the mechanisms of action and relative potency of medically important toxins to understanding the ecological and evolutionary causes of the variability itself. While most studies have focused on differences in venoms among taxa, populations, or age-classes, there may be intersexual effects as well. Striped bark scorpions (Centruroides vittatus) provide a good model for examining sex differences in venom composition and efficacy, as this species exhibits dramatic sexual dimorphism in both size and defensive behavior; when threatened by an enemy, larger, slower females stand and fight while smaller, fleeter males prefer to run. We here add evidence suggesting that male and female C. vittatus indeed have different defensive propensities; when threatened via an electrical stimulus, females were more likely to sting than were males. We reasoned that intersexual differences in defensive phenotypes would select for venoms with different functions in the two sexes; female venoms should be effective at predator deterrence, whereas male venoms, less utilized defensively, might be better suited to capturing prey or courting females. This rationale led to our predictions that females would inject more venom and/or possess more painful venom than males. We were wrong. While females do inject more venom than males in a defensive sting, females are also larger; when adjusted for body size, male and female C. vittatus commit equal masses of venom in a sting to a potential enemy. Additionally, house mice (Mus musculus) find an injection of male venom more irritating than an equal amount of female venom, likely because male venom contains more of the toxins that induce pain. Taken together, our results suggest that identifying the ultimate causes of venom variability will, as we move beyond adaptive storytelling, be hard-won.

Reference:
Miller DW, Jones AD, Goldston JS, Rowe MP, Rowe AH. Sex Differences in Defensive Behavior and Venom of The Striped Bark Scorpion Centruroides vittatus (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Integr Comp Biol. 2016;Online first. [Subscription required for full text]

07 September, 2016

Phylogeography and population structure of two Brachistosternus species from Chile


Sara Ceccarelli and co-workers have recently published an article looking into the phylogeography and population structure of two species of Brachistosternus Pocock, 1893 (Bothriuridae) from costal deserts of Chile.

Abstract:
Coastal deserts are geologically dynamic areas of the Earth, affected by historical changes in sea levels and in some cases also by fault-line tectonic activity. An example of such a dynamic area is the Chilean coastal desert of the Antofagasta and Atacama regions, which harbours many endemic species, such as the bothriurid scorpion species Brachistosternus paposo and Brachistosternus roigalsinai. In this work, we carry out phylogeographic and population genetic analyses on these scorpions, using two mitochondrial (COI and cyt b) and two nuclear (Actin 5C and wingless) markers to identify species and population structuring, and link these findings to the geological history of the area. The geographical feature separating the two species is identified as the Huasco River, and distinguishing morphological features for these scorpions are presented. Population genetic and phylogeographic outcomes reflect an unstable history across this region for B. paposo and B. roigalsinai, related to sea-level changes affecting coastal habitats, including nearby islands.

Reference:
Ceccarelli FS, Pizarro‐Araya J, Ojanguren‐Affilastro AA. Phylogeography and population structure of two Brachistosternus species (Scorpiones: Bothriuridae) from the Chilean coastal desert–the perils of coastal living. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 2016;Early View Article. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Andres Ojanguren-Afillastro for sending me this article!

02 September, 2016

A new Heterometrus species from Thailand


Jana Pliskova and co-workers have recently published a new species of Heterometrus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Scorpionidae) from Thailand.

Heterometrus minotaurus Pliskova, Kovarik, Kosulic & Stahlavsky, 2016

The karyotype of the new species is presented and the known karyotypes of the genus is discussed.

Abstract:
A new species of the genus Heterometrus is described on the basis of a specimen recently collected in Thailand. Heterometrus minotaurus sp. nov. is morphologically closest to H. longimanus. The newly described species is well distinguished by its smaller overall size (83 mm) and shorter and less narrow metasoma with specific dorsolateral carinae on the fourth metasomal segment consisting of 9 or fewer granules. No females are known and so knowledge of sexual dimorphism in this species is currently lacking. In addition to the morphological characterization of H. minotaurus sp. nov., we present here also a description of the male holotype’s karyotype. The diploid set of H. minotaurus sp. nov. consists of 54 chromosomes with a predominance of metacentrics, which gradually decrease in size. The presence of two types of multivalent association observed in postpachytene and metaphase I is commented on. Current knowledge of karyotypes of Heterometrus species is briefly summarized and compared with our cytogenetic results. In conclusion, we discuss the possible usefulness of karyotype as another interspecific feature applicable in the taxonomy of this scorpion group.

Reference:
Pliskova J, Kovarik F, Kosulic O, Stahlavsky F. Description of a new species of Heterometrus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Scorpiones: Scorpionidae) from Thailand with remarks about the utilization of cytogenetic data in taxonomy of the genus. Annales Zoologici. 2016;66(3):467-76.

Thanks to Frantisek Kovarik for sending me this article!

Family Scorpionidae

31 August, 2016

A new species of Butheoloides from Uganda


Frantisek Kovarik recently published a new species of Butheoloides Hirst, 1925 (Buthidae) from Unganda.

Butheoloides grosseri Kovarik, 2016

This is the first report of this genus in Uganda.

Abstract:
A new species Butheoloides grosseri sp. n. is described and fully complemented with color photos of female holotype, as well as its habitat. This is the first species assigned to this genus from Uganda and represents southern limits of genus Butheoloides distribution.

Reference:
Kovarik F. Butheoloides grosseri sp. n. (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Uganda. Euscorpius. 2016(230):1-6. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

26 August, 2016

Two new Pandinops species from the Horn of Africa


Frantisek Kovarik has published a series of articles on the scorpion fauna of the Horn of Africa. In a recent paper the genus Pandinops Birlula, 1913 (Buthidae) was investigated. Two new species are described.

Pandinops friedrichi Kovarik, 2016 (Somalia)

Pandinops turieli Kovarik, 2016 (Ethiopia and Kenya).

Good color pictures of both preserved and live specimens and an identification key is included.

Abstract:
Complete Pandinops trichobothrial pattern and spiniform formula of tarsomeres of legs are published for the first time. P. friedrichi sp. n. from Somalia and P. turieli sp. n. from Ethiopia and Kenya are described. Information is provided about all Pandinops species, their taxonomy, and distribution, and P. turieli sp. n. discovered during scorpiological expeditions in 2011–2016 is fully complemented with color photos of live and preserved specimens, as well as its habitat.

Reference:
Kovarik F. Scorpions of the Horn of Africa (Arachnida: Scorpiones). Part VIII. Pandinops Birula, 1913 (Scorpionidae), With Description of Two New Species. Euscorpius. 2016(229):1-20. [Open Access]

Congratulations, Carlos! :)

25 August, 2016

A major review of the Parabuthus of the Horn of Africa


Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers have recently published a major review of the scorpions in the genus Parabuthus Pocock, 1890 (Buthidae) distributed in the countries constituting the Horn of Africa.

The major findings of this study are:

Two new species from Ethiopia.

Parabuthus hamar Kovarik, Lowe, Pliskova & Stahlavsky, 2016
Parabuthus kajibu Kovarik, Lowe, Pliskova & Stahlavsky, 2016

Parabuthus abyssinicus Pocock, 1901 is raised from subspecies status (previously Parabuthus liosoma abyssinicus Pocock, 1901).

The genus Riftobuthus Lourenco, Duhem & Cloudsley-Thompson, 2010 from Kenya is synonymized with Parabuthus Pocock, 1890 and the only species in the genus, Parabuthus inexpectatus Lourenco, Duhem & Cloudsley-Thompson, 2010 is synonymized with Parabuthus pallidus Pocock, 1895.

The Parabuthus liosoma complex is split into three sibling species with separate areas of distribution:  Parabuthus liosoma Ehrenberg, 1828 is now restricted to Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Parabuthus abyssinicus is restricted to Eritrea, Djibouti, central and north-eastern parts of Ethiopia, and Parabuthus maximus Werner, 1913 is distributed to Kenya and Tanzania. The latter decision has greater implications as this means that most Parabuthus liosoma in the pet trade now is actually P. maximus.

This article has great color pictures of both live specimens and morphological details, and also comes with an identification key for the genus in the region.

Abstract:
All Parabuthus species from Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somaliland were newly collected and are revised for the first time. The complex of Parabuthus liosoma is split into three sibling species with separate areas of distribution: P. abyssinicus Pocock, 1901 (Eritrea, Djibouti, central and north-eastern parts of Ethiopia), P. liosoma (Ehrenberg, 1828) (Yemen and Saudi Arabia), and P. maximus Werner, 1913 (Tanzania and Kenya). P. hamar sp. n. and P. kajibu sp. n., discovered during scorpiological expeditions in 2011–2016, are described. Information is provided about all Parabuthus species from the Horn of Africa, their taxonomy, distribution, and ecology, fully com-plemented with color photos of live and preserved specimens, as well as their habitat. The hemispermatophores of P. abyssinicus and P. kajibu sp. n. are illustrated and described. In addition to the analyses of external morphology and hemispermatophores, we also describe the karyotypes of P. abyssinicus (2n=16), P. kajibu sp. n. (2n=18), and P. pallidus (2n=20). The monotypic genus Riftobuthus Lourenço, Duhem et Cloudsley-Thompson, 2010 is synonymized with Parabuthus, based in part on pectinal tooth count analysis. Phylogenetic scaling and ontogenetic invariance of pectinal tooth count are shown for buthid scorpions. 

Reference:
Kovarik F, Lowe G, Pliskova J, Stahlavsky F. Scorpions of the Horn of Africa (Arachnida: Scorpiones). Part VII. Parabuthus Pocock, 1890 (Buthidae), with Description of P. hamar sp. n. and P. kajibu sp. n. from Ethiopia. Euscorpius. 2016(228):1-58. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

17 August, 2016

A rare case of leucism in scorpions


The existence of different color patterns within the same species is well known in many scorpion species (e.g. "light morph" and "dark morph") and has been linked to environmental factors like predator defense etc. Albinism is an extreme form of color pattern morph where color pigments are absent, but this is almost non-existent in scorpions (only reported in one species). Some animals show a partial hypopigmentary congenital disorder called leucism (partial loss of pigmentation), and Andre Lira and co-workers have recently reported about this phenomena in a female Tityus pusillus Pocock, 1893 from Brazil.

Abstract:
Leucism is a congenital disorder in which the individual is born with partial hypopigmentation. It is quite common in vertebrates, but rare in invertebrates, especially in arachnids like scorpions. This paper presents the first record of this congenital disorder to be observed in the order Scorpiones. During field studies in the Area de Conserva¸c˜ao Aldeia- Beberibe, a set of Atlantic forest fragments of 31,634 hectares, we collected a pregnant leucistic female Tityus pusillus Pocock, 1893. In this female, the variegated pattern described for the species was a lighter color than normal. The animal produced 10 normal juveniles (not leucistics). In addition, we analyzed 1,164 specimens from 17 populations deposited in the CA-UFPE to verify the frequency of leucism; there were no scorpions with leucism within the analyzed populations. Thus, a break in variegated pattern, as with the leucism described in this study, may increase the mortality rate due to predation.

Reference:
Lira AFA, Pordeus LM, Albuquerque CMR. Leucism in Tityus pusillus (Scorpiones: Buthidae): Report of a rare event in scorpions. Journal of Arachnology. 2016;44(2):245-6. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Andre Lira for sending me this article!

09 August, 2016

A new Euscorpius described from Sicily, Italy


Gioele Tropea has recently described a new species of Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 (Euscorpiidae) from southeastern Sicily.

Euscorpius hyblaeus Tropea, 2016

Euscorpius sicanus (C. L. Koch, 1837) is also known from the island, in addition to the assumed extinct buthid Buthus trinacrius Lourenco & Rossi, 2013.

Abstract:
Until today in Sicily only a species of the genus Euscorpius was recognized, E. sicanus (C. L. Koch, 1837). In this paper a new species of scorpion, Euscorpius hyblaeus sp. .n., is described from this region. It is easily distinguishable from the E. sicanus complex by the trichobotrial series Pe-eb = 4.

Reference:
Tropea G. A new species of Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 from Sicily, in southern Italy (Scorpiones, Euscorpiidae). Aracnida - Rivista Arachnologica Italiana. 2016;7(2):37-47.

Thanks to Gioele Tropea for sending me his article!

Family Euscorpiidae

03 August, 2016

Distribution and biogeography of the genus Tityobuthus and a new species from Madgascar


Wilson Lourenco and co-workers have recently published an article discussing the distribution and biogeography of the buthid subfamily Ananterinae, with a special focus on the genus Tityobuthus Pocock, 1890.

A new species is described from the ‘Parc National de Lokobe’ on the Island of Nosy-Be, Madagascar.

Tityobuthus lokobe Lourenco, Waeber & Wilme, 2016

Abstract:
New comments are proposed for the Ananterinae (sensu Pocock) or the ‘Ananteris Group’. The worldwide pattern of distribution of the elements associated with the Ananterinae, as well as aspects of their ecology, is discussed. The biogeographic patterns presented by extant and fossil elements of this group confirm not only the characteristics of a lineage representing a typical Gondwanian distribution, but correspond also to older Pangean patterns. One new species is described in the genus Tityobuthus Pocock. This new species is also a possible endemic element to the Island of Nosy-Be or at least to the Sambirano region. Generally, the Madagascar pattern of Tityobuthus is following the Neogrosphus rule, showing typical high species richness with low dispersal when the ancestral population had a large niche breadth.

Reference:
Lourenco WR, Waeber PO, Wilme L. The geographical pattern of distribution of the genus Tityobuthus Pocock, 1890, a typical Ananterinae element endemic to Madagascar (Scorpiones: Buthidae). C R Biol. 2016. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

01 August, 2016

Scorpion of medical importance and their identification


Scorpions are quite a diverse group with 2301 species around the world (pr 01.08.16). Even though infamous, most scorpions are quite harmless and perhaps around 50 species can cause death or serious morbidity in humans.

The challenge in scorpion sting cases is the correct identification of the scorpion involved. Incomplete identification or misidentification happens, and in some cases this can cause inefficacy in the treatment of the symptoms caused by a dangerous species (or even worsen the outcome).

In a recent article, Wilson Lourenco attempts to explain and elucidate a number of common problems in scorpion identification, taxonomy, distribution and biogeography. The article is written in a language making it possible for non-zoologists to understand and in this way increasing the knowledge about scorpions for both professionals and amateurs. Hopefully, this will also be a tool for those treating scorpion sting patients.

Abstract:
The aim of this contribution is to bring general information on the classification and in particular on the specific identification of scorpion species dangerous to humans. Several generic groups are taken into consideration, but the Neotropical genus Tityus C. L. Koch, 1836 is used as a major example. The content of this paper is mostly addressed to non-specialists whose research embraces scorpions in several fields such as venom toxins and public health. Although efforts have been made in the last 20 years to create better links between ‘true scorpion experts’ and non-specialists who use scorpions in their research, such exchanges had never led to a consensus among those different branches of biological and medical research. Consequently, many cases of species misidentification and even more serious errors concerning scorpion classification/identification are often present in the specialized literature. In conclusion, it is suggested here that the frequent cases of misidentification observed in several reports may induce mistakes in the final interpretation of results, leading only to more inefficacity in the treatment of problems caused by infamous scorpion species.

Reference:
Lourenco WR. Scorpion incidents, misidentification cases and possible implications for the final interpretation of results. J Venom Anim Toxins Incl Trop Dis. 2016;22:1. [Open Access]

28 July, 2016

A new vaejovid genus from Northern California, USA


Michael Soleglad recently published an article presenting the new genus Graemeloweus Soleglad, Fet, Graham & Ayrey, 2016 (Vaejovidae) from Northern California. The following species are transferred from the genus Pseudouroctonus Stanke, 1974 (Vaejovidae) to the new genus:

Graemeloweus glimmei (Hjelle, 1972)
Graemeloweus ivei (Gertsch & Soleglad, 1972)
Graemeloweus maidu (Savary et Bryson, 2016)

An identification key for the new genus is included.

Abstract:
Genus Graemeloweus, gen. nov. (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae) is described from northern California, USA. The genus is composed of three species formerly placed in Pseudouroctonus: Graemeloweus iviei (Gertsch et Soleglad, 1972), comb. nov. (type species), G. glimmei (Hjelle, 1972), comb. nov., and G. maidu (Savary et Bryson, 2016), comb. nov. Major diagnostic characters of Graemeloweus include a non-bifurcated primary lamellar hook, the presence of a secondary lamellar hook, a complex mating plug with a two part base and an asymmetric crescent-shape barb, and the presence of a well-developed ventromedian (V2) carina on the pedipalp chela. Evidence is presented suggesting that Graemeloweus is more closely related to Kovarikia than Pseudouroctonus.

Reference:
Soleglad ME, Fet V, Graham MR, Ayrey RF. Graemeloweus, a New Scorpion Genus from Northern California, USA (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae). Euscorpius. 2016(227):1-38. [Open Access]

Family Vaejovidae

27 July, 2016

A new species of Buthus from Sudan


Andrea Rossi and Gioele Tropea have recently published a new species of Buthus Leach, 1815 (Buthidae) from the coast of the Red Sea in Sudan.

Buthus duprei Rossi & Tropea, 2016

Abstract:
The presence of the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 in Sudan was recently discussed and two species were reported from the country, Buthus karoraensis Rossi et Tropea, 2016 and Buthus brignolii Lourenco, 2003. Now a third species, Buthus duprei sp. n., is described from the coast of the Red sea.

Reference:
Rossi A, Tropea G. A complementary study on the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 in Sudan with the description of a new species (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Aracnida - Rivista Arachnologica Italiana. 2016;8(2):24-31.

Thanks to Andrea Rossi for sending me this article!

Family Buthidae

26 July, 2016

A new species of Compsobuthus from Eritrea


Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers are continuing their publication series on the scorpion fauna of the Horn of Africa. In a recent article they review the genus Compsobuthus Vachon, 1949 (Buthidae) in this region, and a new species is described from Eritrea.

Compsobuthus eritreaensis Kovarik, Lowe, Pliskova & Stahlavsky, 2016

 The article also has habitat information for the members of Compsobuthus in this region.

Abstract:
All four Compsobuthus species of the Horn of Africa were newly collected, C. werneri firstly collected in Eritrea and C. eritreaensis sp. n. discovered during scorpiological expeditions in 2011–2016. Information is provided about their taxonomy, distribution, and ecology, fully complemented with color photos of live and preserved specimens, as well as their habitat. The hemispermatophore of C. eritreaensis sp. n. is illustrated and described. In addition to morphological analysis, we also describe the karyotype of C. eritreaensis sp. n. (2n=22).

Reference:
Kovarik F, Lowe G, Pliskova J, Stahlavsky F. Scorpions of the Horn of Africa (Arachnida: Scorpiones). Part VI. Compsobuthus Vachon, 1949 (Buthidae), with a description of C. eritreaensis sp. n. Euscorpius. 2016(226):1-21. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

25 July, 2016

And another new species of Diplocentrus from Guatemala


Luis de Armas and Rony Trujillo have recently published a second new species of Diplocentrus Peters, 1861 (Scorpionidae) from Guatemala (the first one was mentioned in my blog June 1th.).

Diplocentrus izabal Armas & Trujillo, 2016

Abstract:
Diplocentrus izabal sp. n. is herein described on basis to one male (holotype) and two females from El Estor municipality, Izabal department, eastern Guatemala. It seems to be a close relative of Diplocentrus lachua Armas, Trujillo & Agreda, 2012, from which it differs by having carapace almost smooth, with anteromedian notch V-shaped; pectines with 11 teeth in both sexes, and carapace clearly longer than pedipalp manus and metasomal segment V (D. lachua has carapace minutely granulate, with anteromedian notch U-shaped; pectines with 13 teeth in the males (female unknown), and carapace as long as both pedipalp manus and metasomal segment V).

Reference:
De Armas LF, Trujillo RE. A new species of Diplocentrus (Scorpionidae: Diplocentrinae) from western Izabal, Guatemala. Euscorpius. 2016(225):1-8. [Open Access]

Thanks to Rony Trujillo for sending me this article!

Family Scorpionidae

01 July, 2016

A new species of Diplocentrus from Guatemala


Rony E. Trujillo and Luis F. de Armas have recently published an article describing a new species of Diplocentrus Peters, 1861 from Unión Cantinil in Guatemala.

Diplocentrus popti Trujillo & Armas, 2016

Abstract:
A new species of the genus Diplocentrus Peters, 1861, is herein described from Unión Cantinil (1704 m a.s.l.; 15° 35’ 46.3’’ N – 91° 45’ 43.6’’ W), Huehuetenango department, Guatemala, based on a single adult male. It differs from Diplocentrus chol Francke, 2007 in the following characters: (1) tarsomere II of legs II-IV with 4/4:5/5:5/5:5/5 ventral spiniform setae (4-5/5: 5/5-6: 6/6 in D. chol); (2) pectines with 9 teeth (10-13 in D. chol); (3) pedipalp femur more granulose; (4) telson less globose (length/height ratio = 2,9 vs 2,5 in D. chol). With this new species the number of Guatemalan species of Diplocentrus is raised to seven.

Reference:
Trujillo RE, de Armas LF. Nueva especie de Diplocentrus Peters, 1861 (Scorpiones: Scorpionidae: Diplocentrinae) del occidente de Guatemala. Revista Iberica de Arachnologia. 2016(28):103-6. [Subscription required for full text]

Family Scorpionidae

A new species of Tityus from Brazil


Wilson Lourenco has recently described a new species of Tityus C. L. Koch, 1836 (Buthidae) from the State of Goiás (Tocantins), Brazil.

Tityus karaja Lourenco, 2016

Abstract:
Previous papers included annotated accounts of Jean A. Vellard’s contribution to the knowledge of the Brazilian scorpion fauna. This French arachnologist, who spent most of his life in South American countries, entrusted me with a number of scorpions he collected during some of his field trips back in the 1920/1930s. In the present note, one new species of Tityus C. L. Koch, 1836, collected by J. A. Vellard in the ‘cerrados’ (savannas) between Peixe and Porto Nacional, State of Goiás (now Tocantins) is described. The new species belongs to the subgenus Tityus and is related to the Tityus trivittatus group of species.

Reference:
Lourenco WR. Une nouvelle espece de Tityus C. L. Koch, 1836 (Scorpiones: Buthidae), collectee par Jean A. Vellard dans l’ancien etat de Goias, aujourd’hui Tocantins, Bresil. Revista Iberica de Arachnologia. 2016(28):75-8. [Subscription required for full text]

Family Buthidae

A new species of Centruroides from Mexico


Ana F. Quijano-Ravell and co-workers have recently described a new species of Centruroides Marx, 1890 (Buthidae) from the southern Guerrero State, Mexico.

Centruroides bonito Quijano-Ravell, Teruel & Ponce-Saavedra, 2016

Abstract:
A new species of the medically important buthid scorpion genus Centruroides Marx, 1890 is described herein from two localities in southern Guerrero State, Mexico. On morphological grounds, it is most closely related to three highly toxic species known to occur in this State as well: Centruroides meisei Hoffmann, 1938, Centruroides tecomanus Hoffmann, 1932, and Centruroides villegasi Baldazo-Monsivaiz, Ponce-Saavedra & Flores-Moreno, 2013. After this contribution, the genus is represented in Mexico by 42 nominal species, 12 of them (29%) occurring in Guerrero.

Reference:
Quijano-Ravell AF, Teruel R, Ponce-Saavedra J. A new Centruroides Marx, 1890 (Scorpiones: Buthidae), from southern Guerrero State, Mexico. Revista Iberica de Arachnologia. 2016(28):25-34. [Subscription required for full text]

Family Buthidae

A new species of Buthus from Algeria


Wilson Lourenco and Salah Eddine Sadine have recently described a new species of Buthus Leach, 1815 (Buthidae) from the Batna Mountains, northern Algeria.

Buthus aures Lourenco & Sadine, 2016

Abstract:
Since the early 2000s, the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 (Buthidae) has been the subject of an important number of studies, involving in particular the species of the ‘Buthus occitanus’ complex. A number of populations previously considered as subspecies or varieties of Buthus occitanus Leach, 1815 have been raised to the rank of species, but also many new species have been described. Most of the species considered in these studies come from North Africa, in particular from Morocco, Mauritania, Chad, Sudan, Libya and Egypt, but only three of them have been recorded from Algeria. One more new species of Buthus is here described from the Algerian mountains, raising the number of confirmed Buthus in Algeria to six.

Reference:
Lourenco WR, Sadine SE. One more new species of Buthus Leach, 1815 from Algeria (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Revista Iberica de Arachnologia. 2016(28):13-7. [Subscription required for full text]

Family Buthidae

29 June, 2016

A systematic revision of the North American vaejovid genera Maaykuyak, Syntropis and Vizcaino


Edmundo Gonzalez-Santillan and Lorenzo Prendini have recently published a major systematic revision of the North American vaejovid genera Maaykuyak González-Santillán and Prendini, 2013,  Syntropis Kraepelin, 1900 and Vizcaino González-Santillán and Prendini, 2013.

Identification keys for the three genera are presented.

Abstract:
Four distinct genera, forming two monophyletic groups, are basal in the phylogeny of the North American vaejovid scorpion subfamily Syntropinae Kraepelin, 1905: Konetontli González-Santillán and Prendini, 2013; Maaykuyak González-Santillán and Prendini, 2013; Syntropis Kraepelin, 1900; and Vizcaino González-Santillán and Prendini, 2013. All except the species of Konetontli, treated elsewhere, are revised in the present contribution. The two species of Maaykuyak, three species of Syntropis, and monotypic Vizcaino are redescribed; the adults of Syntropis williamsi Soleglad et al., 2007, described for the first time; keys to identification of the species of Maaykuyak and Syntropis presented; and new locality records and updated distribution maps provided for all species covered.

Reference:
Gonzalez-Santillan E, Prendini L. Systematic revision of the North American Syntropine vaejovid scorpion genera Maaykuyak, Syntropis, and Vizcaino, with description of the adults of Syntropis williamsi. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 2016(405):1-68. [Open Access]

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for sending me this article!

Family Vaejovidae

28 June, 2016

Two new species of Neobuthus from Eritrea and Ethiopia


Graeme Lowe and Frantisek Kovarik has recently published a new article on the genus Neobuthus Hirst, 1911 (Buthidae) from the Horn of Africa. Two new species are described:

Neobuthus eritreaensis Lowe & Kovarik, 2016 (Eritrea)

Neobuthus kutcheri Lowe & Kovarik, 2016 (Southern Ethiopia)

In addition, emended diagnosis for Neobuthus awashensis Kovařík & Lowe, 2012 and N. cloudsleythompsoni Lourenço, 2001 are presented. The article also present an identification key for six of the seven species in the genus.

Color pictures are presented for both scorpions and their natural habitats.

Abstract:
New information about the taxonomy and distribution of the genus Neobuthus Hirst, 1911 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) is presented, based on materials recently collected from Ethiopia and Eritrea. Emended diagnoses are provided for the genus Neobuthus, and for the species N. awashensis Kovařík et Lowe, 2012 and N. cloudsleythompsoni Lourenço, 2001. New records are given for N. awashensis in Ethiopia. We redescribe N. cloudsleythompsoni, and we describe two additional new species: N. eritreaensis sp. n. (the first record of the genus from Eritrea) and N. kutcheri sp. n. (southern Ethiopia, Somali State). We include a key to six members of the genus and discuss possible speciation mechanisms.

Reference:
Lowe G, Kovarik F. Scorpions of the Horn of Africa (Arachnida, Scorpiones). Part V. Two New Species of Neobuthus Hirst, 1911 (Buthidae), from Ethiopia and Eritrea. Euscorpius. 2016(224):1-46. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

22 June, 2016

Similarities in scorpion burrows imply similar function


Amanda Adams and co-workers have recently published an analysis of the burrow structures of three scorpion species in the family Scorpionidae (Scorpio palmatus (Ehrenberg, 1829) from Israel and Opistophthalmus setifrons Lawrence, 1961 and O. wahlbergii Thorell, 1876 from Namibia).

The following similar architectural structures of burrows were found for all three species:

1. Just below the entrance, all species had a horizontal platform.

2. All three species had at least two bends of the vertical tunnel going down.

3. The burrows of all species ended in an enlarged terminal chamber (usually larger for female occupants).

The article concludes that the similarity of the burrow structure has a common goal of managing the scorpions physical environment (keeping temperature and humidity stable and optimal) and providing protection from predators and cannibalistic conspecifics.

This is an interesting and readable article for those of you interested in scorpion ecology and scorpions adaption to their environment.

Abstract:
Many animals reside in burrows that may serve as refuges from predators and adverse environmental conditions. Burrow design varies widely among and within taxa, and these structures are adaptive, fulfilling physiological (and other) functions. We examined the burrow architecture of three scorpion species of the family Scorpionidae: Scorpio palmatus from the Negev desert, Israel; Opistophthalmus setifrons, from the Central Highlands, Namibia; and Opistophthalmus wahlbergii from the Kalahari desert, Namibia. We hypothesized that burrow structure maintains temperature and soil moisture conditions optimal for the behavior and physiology of the scorpion. Casts of burrows, poured in situ with molten aluminum, were scanned in 3D to quantify burrow structure. Three architectural features were common to the burrows of all species: (1) a horizontal platform near the ground surface, long enough to accommodate the scorpion, located just below the entrance, 2–5 cm under the surface, which may provide a safe place where the scorpion can monitor the presence of potential prey, predators, and mates and where the scorpion warms up before foraging; (2) at least two bends that might deter incursion by predators andmay reduce convective ventilation, thereby maintaining relatively high humidity and low temperature; and (3) an enlarged terminal chamber to a depth at which temperatures are almost constant (±2–4 °C). These common features among the burrows of three different species suggest that they are important for regulating the physical environment of their inhabitants and that burrows are part of scorpions’ Bextended physiology^ (sensu Turner, Physiol Biochem Zool 74:798–822, 2000).

Reference:
Adams AM, Marais E, Turner JS, Prendini L, Pinshow B. Similar burrow architecture of three arid-zone scorpion species implies similar ecological function. The Science of Nature. 2016;103(7):1-11.[Subscription required for full text]

See also: Scorpions have similar tastes in burrow architecture