22 June, 2017

On the phylogeny of diplocentrid scorpions


Carlos E. Santibáñez-López and co-workers have recently published an article on the phylogeny of diplocentrid scorpions. I have to be honest and say that this stuff is very much over my head and I just have to ask you to check out the abstract and the article for more details. Unfortunately, phylogeny and molecular taxonomy was not on the curriculum when I got my zoology educations in the previous millenium.

In a revision of the higher scorpion systematics, Soleglad & Fet (2003) abolished the family Diplocentridae and included all genera into Scorpionidae. This have been criticized by parts of the scorpion expert community, who treat this taxa as a valid family (Diplocentridae). This is also the case with the present article. The scorpion Files still lists Diplocentridae as a subfamily, but this is under consideration and may change in the time to come after I get input from my contacts in the scorpion expert community.

Abstract:
Morphology still plays a key role in the systematics and phylogenetics of most of the scorpion families and genera, including the Diplocentridae Karsch, 1880. The monophyly of this family, and the monophyly of its two subfamilies is supported by morphological characters; however, neither hypothesis has been tested using molecular data. The lack of a molecular phylogeny has prevented the study of the evolution of morphology within the family. Here, we examine the morphological evolution of several key character systems in diplocentrid systematics. We tested the monophyly of the Diplocentridae, and subsequently the validity of its two subfamilies using a five-locus phylogeny.We examined the variation and evolution of the shape of the carapace, the external surface of the pedipalp patella and the retrolateral surface of the pedipalp chelae of males and females. We also examined the phylogenetic signal of discrete and continuous characters previously reported. We show that Diplocentridae is monophyletic, but Nebinae is nested within Diplocentrinae. Therefore, Nebinae is synonymised with Diplocentrinae (new synonymy). Finally, we show that a new character system proposed here, tarsal spiniform and macrosetal counts, retains high phylogenetic signal and circumscribes independently evolving substructures within this character system.

Reference: 
Santibanez Lopez CE, Kriebel R, Sharma PP. eadem figura manet: Measuring morphological convergence in diplocentrid scorpions (Arachnida : Scorpiones : Diplocentridae) under a multilocus phylogenetic framework. Invertebrate Systematics. 2017;31:233-48. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Dr. Santibáñez-López for sending me their article!

Family Scorpionidae

21 June, 2017

On the phylogeography of the vaejovid scorpion Smeringurus vachoni


Matthew Graham and co-workers have recently published an article on the phylogeography of Smeringurus vachoni (Stahnke, 1961) (Vaejovidae) from the USA. One of the main conclusions is that Smeringurus vachoni does not comprise of two subspecies (S. v. vachoni and S. v. immanis), but instead consists of at least 11 mitochondrial clades. The authors synonymize S. v. vachoni and
S. v. immanis under the single species S. vachoni, but they encourage future taxonomic investigations using more rigorous species delimitation approaches. I refer to the abstract and the article for further details.

Abstract:
Recent syntheses of phylogeographical data from terrestrial animals in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts have revealed a complex history of geologic and climatic vicariance events. We studied the phylogeography of Smeringurus vachoni to see how vicariance events may have impacted a large, endemic rock scorpion. Additionally, we used the phylogeographical data to examine the validity of two subspecies of S. vachoni that were described using unconventional morphological characters. Phylogenetic, network and SAMOVA analyses indicate that S. vachoni consists of 11 clades mostly endemic to isolated desert mountain ranges. Molecular clock estimates suggest that clades diversified between the Miocene and early Pleistocene. Species distribution models predict a contraction of suitable habitat during the last glacial maximum. Landscape interpolations and Migrate-n analyses highlight areas of gene flow across the Colorado River. Smeringurus vachoni does not comprise two subspecies. Instead, the species represents at least 11 mitochondrial clades that probably diversified by vicariance associated with Pleistocene climate changes and formation of ancient lakes along the Colorado River corridor. Gene flow appears to have occurred from west to east across the Colorado River during periodic river avulsions.

Reference:
Graham MR, Wood DA, Henault JA, Valois ZJ, Cushing PE. Ancient lakes, Pleistocene climates and river avulsions structure the phylogeography of a large but little-known rock scorpion from the Mojave and Sonoran deserts. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 2017;Ahead of Print:1-14. [Subscription required for full text]

Family Vaejovidae

15 June, 2017

Scorpion exposures reported in the USA between 2005 and 2015


Kang & Brooks have recently published an epidemiological study on scorpion envenomations in the USA between 2005 and 2015.

Abstract:
Introduction: Previous studies of scorpion envenomation in the United States (US) have focused on Arizona and the bark scorpion, Centruroides sculpturatus. Although many other scorpion species live in the US, information about envenomations in other states is lacking.
Methods: Nationwide scorpion exposures from 2005 to 2015 were analyzed using the National Poison Data System.
Results: Of the 185,402 total exposures, Arizona (68.2%), Texas (10.3%), and Nevada (4.2%) were the top contributors. However, six other southern states reported greater than 100 cases annually, primarily during the warmer months and evening hours. Envenomations occurred most often in a home (97.8%) and were typically managed on-site (90.1%). Pain was the most common effect nationwide (88.7%). Arizona had the highest frequencies of sensory, neuromuscular, and respiratory effects along with higher hospitalization and ICU admission rates, although the latter appeared to drop over the study period. In contrast, local skin effects such as erythema and edema were more common outside of Arizona. Children under 10 years of age in Arizona and Nevada had the highest rates of systemic effects, hospitalization, and ICU admission.
Conclusions: Scorpion envenomations occurred throughout the southern US with similar seasonal and daily variations. Common clinical effects included pain, local edema, and erythema, except in Arizona and Nevada where severe systemic symptoms were more common. Systemic effects correlated with high rates of ICU admissions and intubations, especially in children under 10 years of age. 


Reference:
Kang AM, Brooks DE. Nationwide Scorpion Exposures Reported to US Poison Control Centers from 2005 to 2015. J Med Toxicol. 2017;13(2):158-65. [Subscription required for full text]

13 June, 2017

On the scorpion fauna of the Texas Panhandle



 Kari McWest and co-workers recently published an article on the scorpion fauna of the Central and Southern High Plains and associated breaks and canyonlands of northwestern Texas. The six species in the region are described and new records information about habitats are presented.

The articles has an identification key for the species in the region.

Abstract:
The scorpion fauna of the Central and Southern High Plains and associated breaks and canyonlands of northwestern Texas includes six species: Centruroides vittatus (Say, 1821), Chihuahuanus coahuilae (Williams, 1968), Ch. russelli (Williams, 1971), Maaykuyak waueri (Gertsch & Soleglad, 1972), Paruroctonus pecos Sissom & Francke, 1981, and Paruroctonus utahensis (Williams, 1968), Paruroctonus pecos Sissom & Francke, 1981 is recorded in northwestern Texas for the first time. Numerous new records and a key for identification are provided for all six nominal species recorded within the study area. Ecological and natural history notes are also presented, and species records are projected with GIS mapping.

Reference:
McWest KJ, Valois ZJ, Sissom WD. Scorpions (Arachnida) of the high plains and adjacent canyonlands of Northwestern Texas. Texas Journal of Science. 2017;67(1):3-38.

Thanks to Kari for sending me their article!

09 June, 2017

Microananteroides mariachiarae is a junior synonym of Akentrobuthus atakora


Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers have recently published an article where they present an investigation of the holotype of Microananteroides mariachiarae Rossi & Lourenço,
2015 (Buthidae). The authors conclude that this taxa is a junior synonym of Akentrobuthus atakora Vignoli & Prendini, 2008 (Buthidae).

Abstract:
The African monotypic scorpion genus Microananteroides Rossi et Lourenço, 2015 and its single species M. mariachiarae Rossi et Lourenço, 2015, from Ghana, are herein demonstrated to be junior synonyms, respectively, of Akentrobuthus Lamoral, 1976 and A. atakora Vignoli et Prendini, 2008 from neighboring Benin. We provide detailed high-resolution color photographs of the holotype of M. mariachiarae and further show its real trichobothrial pattern, which was incorrectly depicted in the original description.

Reference:
Kovarik F, Teruel R, Lowe G. Microananteroides mariachiarae Rossi et Lourenço, 2015 is a Junior Synonym of Akentrobuthus atakora Vignoli et Prendini, 2008 (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2017(246):1-7. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

08 June, 2017

On the taxonomy of some Amazonian scorpions


Rolando Teruel and co-workers have recently published an article commenting on the taxonomy of some Amazonian buthids.

The adult adult male of Ananteris ashaninka Kovařík, Teruel, Lowe & Friedrich, 2015 is described for the first time.

The following species are restored to species status after having been synonymized by Lourenco, 2016:

Tityus carolineae Kovařík, Teruel, Cozijn & Seiter, 2013 (previously in synonymy with T. metuendus Pocock, 1897).

Tityus dillerorum Kovařík, Teruel, Lowe & Friedrich, 2015 (previously in synonymy with T. gasci Lourenço, 1982).

Tityus wachteli Kovařík, Teruel, Lowe & Friedrich, 2015 (previously in synonymy with T. silvestris Pocock, 1897).

The article also discuss the principles of taxonomical decisions that should be the basis of modern scorpion systematics.

Abstract:
We describe and illustrate in detail the previously unknown adult male of Ananteris ashaninka Kovařík, Teruel, Lowe et Friedrich, 2015, based upon a specimen recently captured at the type locality. In addition, the taxonomic status of three Amazonian species of the genus Tityus C. L. Koch, 1836, is reevaluated and all are restored from unjustified synonymies: Tityus carolineae Kovařík, Teruel, Cozijn et Seiter, 2013, Tityus dillerorum Kovařík, Teruel, Lowe et Friedrich, 2015, and Tityus wachteli Kovařík, Teruel, Lowe et Friedrich, 2015.

Reference:
Teruel R, Kovarik F, Lowe G, Friedrich S. Complements to the Taxonomy of Some Amazonian Scorpions (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2017(245):1-7. [Open Acess]

Family Buthidae

06 June, 2017

A new species of Opisthacanthus from Suriname and Brazil


Wilson Lourenco has recently described a new species of Opisthacanthus Petters, 1861 (Hormuridae) from the border areas between Suriname and Brazil.

Opisthacanthus surinamensis Lourenco, 2017

The biogeography of the species of Opisthacanthus in the area is discussed.

Abstract:
A re-analysis of the geographical distribution of neotropical species of the genus Opisthacanthus Peters (Scorpiones: Hormuridae) is proposed. A new species, Opisthacanthus surinamensis sp. n., is described from the Region of the Serra do Tumucumaque in the border between Suriname and Brazil (Sipaliwini Savannah in Suriname). This is the first record of a species of the genus Opisthacanthus from Suriname and the third one from Brazil. The total number of species in the Neotropical region is now raised to 10, although some of the Venezuelan species may yet require confirmation. The known geographical distribution of the genus is also enlarged with a new location in the Guayana region (sensu MORI, 1991).

Reference:
Lourenco WR. Description of a new species of Opisthacanthus Peters (Scorpiones: Hormuridae) from Suriname/Brazil border with some biogeographic considerations. Acta Biologica Paranaense, Curitiba. 2017;46(1-2):9-22. [Open Access]

Thanks to Michiel Cozijn for sending me this article!

Family Hormuridae

16 May, 2017

First Record of Centruroides alayoni from Haiti


Luis de Armas has investigated scorpion materials from Haiti and concluded that the recently described new species from Haiti, Centruroides haitiensis Lourenco, 2016 (Buthidae), is a junior synonym of Centruroides alayoni Armas, 1999. The latter was previously known from the Dominican Republic, and this is the first record from Haiti.

Centruroides haitiensis Lourenco, 2016 has not been listed in The Scorpion Files or mentioned in the blog because I have not been able to get this article in full text. The reference for this article is listed below.

Abstract:
Centruroides haitiensis Lourenço, 2016, from Grande Cayemite, Haiti, is regarded as a junior synonym of Centruroides alayoni Armas, 1999, previously known from southern Pedernales Province (215 km east of Grande Cayemite), Dominican Republic. Consequently, C. alayoni is herein recorded for the first time from Haiti. The list of the Haitian species of the genus Centruroides Marx, 1890 is given.

References:
De Armas LF. First Record of Centruroides alayoni Armas, 1999 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Haiti, Greater Antilles. Euscorpius. 2017(244):1-3. [Open Access]

Lourenco WR. A new species of Centruroides Marx, 1890 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from the Island of ‘Grande Cayemite’ in Haiti. Arachnida - Rivista Aracnologica Italiana. 2016;8:16-23.

Family Buthidae


05 May, 2017

A new species of Buthacus from Algeria


Wilson Lourenco and co-workers have recently discovered a new species of Buthacus Birula, 1908 (Buthidae) from the Algerian Saharan Desert. The presence of microendemic populations in the region is also discussed.

Abstract:
For almost 20 years now, the genus Buthacus Birula, 1908 (family Buthidae) has been the subject of an important number of studies. Most of the species considered in these studies come from North Africa and more recently from Algeria. At present, one more new species of Buthacus is described from the Algerian Saharan Desert, raising the number of confirmed known species in Algeria to eight. This new discovery attests to a considerable degree of diversity found in the Algerian Saharan Desert but in particular suggests the presence in these deserts of microendemic populations.

Reference:
Lourenco WR, Sadine SE, Bissati S, Houtia A. The genus Buthacus Birula, 1908 in Northern and Central Algeria; description of a new species and comments on possible microendemic populations (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Arachnida - Rivista Aracnologica Italiana. 2017;3(XII):18-30.

Thanks to Dr. Sadine for sending me their article!

Family Buthidae

04 May, 2017

Two new species of Bothriurus from Northeastern Brazil


Andria de Paula Santos-Da-Silva and co-workers have recently published a study on Bothriurus Peters, 1861 in Northeastern Brazil. Two new species are described.

Bothriurus aguardente Santos-Da-Silva, Carvahlo & Brescovit, 2017

Bothriurus delmari Santos-Da-Silva, Carvahlo & Brescovit, 2017

Abstract:
Two new species of Bothriurid scorpions, Bothriurus delmari n. sp. and B. aguardente n. sp., are described from Bahia, Northeastern Brazil. These species are included in the asper group owing to the peculiar hemispermatophore morphology. These two newly described species increases to 47 the number of known and valid Bothriurus species. Additionaly, the known distribution of Bothriurus asper is updated.

Reference:
Santos-Da-Silva AdP, Carvahlo LS, Brescovit AD. Two new species of Bothriurus Peters, 1861 (Scorpiones, Bothriuridae) from Northeastern Brazil. Zootaxa. 2017;4258(3):238-56. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Dr. Andria de Paula and Dr. Paulo André Margonari Goldoni for sending me this article!

Family Bothriuridae

02 May, 2017

A new species of Diplocentrus from Mexico


Carlos E. Santibanez-Lopez and Edmundo Gonzalez-Santillan have recently described a new species of Diplocentrus Peters, 1861 (Scorpionidae) from Mexico.

Diplocentrus duende Santibanez-Lopez & Gonzalez-Santillan, 2017

Abstract:
Diplocentrus duende n. sp. is described based on adult males collected from a locality in the Tehuaca´n–Cuicatla´n Valley, Mexico. This species has punctate pedipalp surfaces, a condition present only in four other species of this specious genus. As suggested here, this condition has evolved independently in these species within the ‘‘mexicanus’’ group of Diplocentrus from the rest of the diplocentrids.

Reference:
Santibanez-Lopez CE, Gonzalez-Santillan E. A new species of Diplocentrus (Scorpiones: Diplocentridae) with punctate pedipalp surfaces, a diagnostic character within the "mexicanus" group. C R Biol. 2017; In Press. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Carlos for sending me their article!

Family Scorpionidae

A new phylogenetic study of the southernmost American buthids


Andrés A. Ojanguren-Affilastro and co-workers have recently published a dated molecular phylogeny of the southernmost American species of the family Buthidae. I refer to the abstract and the paper for details. The paper also discuss the colonization routes for the Buthidae into America in ancient time.

Abstract:
A dated molecular phylogeny of the southernmost American species of the family Buthidae, based on two nuclear and two mitochondrial genes, is presented. Based on this study, analyzed species of the subgenus Tityus (Archaeotityus) are neither sister to the remaining species of the genus Tityus, nor are they closely related to the New World microbuthids with decreasing neobothriotaxy. Analyzed species of the subgenus Tityus do not form a monophyletic group. Based on ancestral area estimation analyses, known geoclimatic events of the region and comparisons to the diversification processes of other epigean groups from the area, a generalized hypothesis about the patterns of historical colonization processes of the family Buthidae in southern South America is presented. Furthermore, for the first time, a Paleogene-African ingression route for the colonization of America by the family Buthidae is proposed as a plausible hypothesis.

Reference:
Ojanguren-Affilastro AA, Adilardi RS, Mattoni CI, Ramírez MJ, Sara Ceccarelli F. Dated phylogenetic studies of the southernmost American buthids (Scorpiones; Buthidae). Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2017;110:39-49. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Dr. Ojanguren-Affilastro for sending me their article!

A new species of Buthus from Ghana


Andrea Rossi has recently published a paper discussing the distribution of the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 (Buthidae) in the basin countries of the Gulf of Guinea, West Africa. A new species from Ghana is also presented.

Buthus danyii Rossi, 2017

Abstract:
The presence of the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 in the basin countries of the Gulf of Guinea was reported almost seventy years ago, but the precise identity of the species remained for a long time unknown. Up to now only three species of the genus Buthus are recorded in such region: Buthus prudenti Lourenço & Leguin, 2012 from Cameroon, Buthus elizabethae Lourenço, 2005 from Guinea (but also present in Senegal) and Buthus elhennawyi Lourenço, 2005 from Niger (but also present in Senegal). A fourth species, Buthus danyii sp. n., is now described from Ghana.

Reference:
Rossi A. The genus Buthus Leach, 1815 in the basin countries of the Gulf of Guinea with the description of a new species from Ghana (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Onychium. 2017;13:9-15. [Open Access]

Thanks to Dr. Rossi for sending me his article!

Family Buthidae


24 April, 2017

A new species of Babycurus from Central African Republic

Lourenco and Rossi have recently described a new species of Babycurus Karsch, 1886 (Buthidae) from North Savannah formations in Central African Republic.

Babycurus brignolii Lourenco & Rossi, 2017

Abstract:
A new species, Babycurus brignolii sp. n., is described from North Savannah formations in Central African Republic. This is the second record of a Babycurus species from Central African Republic. The new species is characterized by a small total body size, with respect to other species within the genus, and a general yellow to yellow-testaceous coloration with some diffuse fuscosity. This species, a possible endemic element from the savannah formations of Northern Central African Republic, provides further evidence regarding the unsuspected scorpion richness of this region.

Reference:
Lourenco WR, Rossi A. A new species of Babycurus Karsch, 1886 from dry Savannahs in Central African Republic (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Onychium. 2017;13:3-8. [Open Access]

Thanks to Andrea Rossi for sending me this article!

Family Buthidae

21 April, 2017

Scorpion defensive behaviour and its relation to morphology and performance


Scorpions are infamous for their tail and venomous sting. The sting is used for defense and prey capture, and in some cases during mating. The scorpions tail comes in many shapes and sizes. And different species use their tail different (they sting in different ways).

In a recent study, Pedro Coelho and co-workers have investigated the movement trajectory and kinematics of the defensive strike in seven species of scorpions from two families. Not surprisingly, they discovered that the defensive use of the sting varied between the species. The article try to explain the observed differences by looking at differences in morphology, habitat, behavior and other factors.

PS! Take a look at the excellent video on YouTube explaining the project!

Abstract:
1. Like many other venomous organisms, scorpions use their venom in defence against predators. Scorpions apply their venomous stinger by extending the caudal part of the body, the metasoma, forward towards the attacker. There are considerable differences in metasoma morphology among scorpion species, and these may afford differences in defensive strike performance.
2. We investigated the movement trajectory and kinematics of the defensive strike in seven species of scorpions, and how these variables are related to each other, and to morphology.
3. We recorded defensive strikes using high-speed video, and reconstructed the trajectory of the telson. From these trajectories, we calculated velocity, acceleration and other kinematic variables. To compare strike trajectory shapes, we used geometric morphometrics.
4. We have shown that the defensive strike differs in trajectory shape, speed, path length and duration between scorpion species. Body size is also an important factor affecting strike characteristics. Relative metasoma length and girth may also influence strike performance, as well as strike trajectory shape. Strikes with different trajectories have different kinematic properties: those with open trajectory shapes attain higher speeds.
5. Our results show that performance differences in defensive behaviour between different scorpion species may be partly mediated by morphology, binding together phenotypic, functional and behavioural diversity.


Reference:
Coelho P, Kaliontzopoulou A, Rasko M, van der Meijden A. A ‘striking’ relationship: scorpion defensive behaviour and its relation to morphology and performance. Functional Ecology. 2017; Early View. [Subscription required for full text]

19 April, 2017

What is the best treatment for scorpion envenomations?


Scorpions are still a significant cause for mortality, especially in developing countries. The are several treatment strategies available for serious scorpion stings. Some involves the use of anti-venom, while others are based on symptomatic treatment. Studies so far has shown that one treatment strategy works for some species, but are less effective for others.

Rodrigo and Gnanathasan have recently published a systematic review on scorpion envenomations trying to find the best evidence available for the efficiency of the different treatment strategies used against serious scorpion envenomation around the world.

The main conclusion is that the polyvalent antivenom against Centruroides sp. in USA/Mexico and the monovalent antivenom against Hottentotta tamulus in India are effective for rapid resolution of symptoms. Prazosin is useful as an add-on therapy for H. tamulus stings. I recommend reading the article for further details.

Abstract:
Background: Scorpion stings cause an estimated 3000 deaths per annum worldwide. We conducted a systematic review of all controlled clinical trials related to scorpion sting management.
Methods: We searched PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus, Web of Science and CINAHL and included controlled prospective clinical trials (randomized or non-randomized). The following interventions were assessed: adults and children with scorpion stings treated with (a) steroids vs. placebo, (b) different methods of pain relief, (c) antivenom vs. supportive treatment, (d) prazosin vs. supportive treatment, (e) antivenom vs. prazosin and (f) antivenom plus prazosin vs. prazosin alone. When trials had comparative outcomes, they were combined in a meta-analysis. Data was analysed with Review Manager 5. Dichotomous data were compared with relative risk (RR), and continuous data were compared with mean differences using a fixed effect model. There is no PROSPERO registration number for this study.
Results: Antivenom against Centruroides sp. are effective in reversing the clinical syndrome faster than no antivenom treatment in children (RR, 0.02; 95% CI, 0.01 to 0.06; 322 participants; three trials). Antivenom (against Mesobuthus tamulus) and prazosin combination is better than prazosin alone for faster resolution of symptoms (mean difference, −12.59 h; 95% CI, −14.01 to −11.17; 173 participants; three trials).
Conclusions: The polyvalent antivenom against Centruroides sp. in USA/Mexico and the monovalent antivenom against M. tamulus in India are effective for rapid resolution of symptoms. Prazosin is useful as an add-on therapy for M. tamulus stings.


Reference:
Rodrigo C, Gnanathasan A. Management of scorpion envenoming: a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials. Systematic Reviews. 2017;6(1):74. [Open Access]

07 April, 2017

A new species of Pandinurus from Somaliland


Frantisek Kovarik and his co-workers studying the scorpion fauna of The Horn of Africa recently published a new species in the genus Pandinurus Fet, 1997 (Scorpionidae).

Pandinurus kmoniceki Kovarik, Lowe, Mazuch, Pliskova & Stahlavsky, 2017

The article is well illustrated with color pictures.

Abstract:
Pandinurus kmoniceki sp. n. from Somaliland is described and fully complemented with color photos of live and preserved specimens, as well as its habitat. Hemispermatophore of P. kmoniceki sp. n. is illustrated and described. In addition to the analyses of external morphology and hemispermatophores, we also describe the karyotypes of P. kmoniceki sp. n. (2n=120).

Reference:
Kovarik F, Lowe G, Mazuch T, Pliskova J, Stahlavsky F. Scorpions of the Horn of Africa (Arachnida: Scorpiones). Part XI. Pandinurus kmoniceki sp. n. (Scorpionidae) from Somaliland. Euscorpius. 2017(243):1-14. [Open Access]

Family Scorpionidae

06 April, 2017

A new genus and species from the Argentinean Precordillera


Andres Ojanguren Affilastro and Camilo Mattoni have recently described a new genus and a new species from the Argentinean Precordillera.

Mauryius Ojanguren-Affilastro & Mattoni, 2017

Mauryius cuyanus Ojanguren-Affilastro & Mattoni, 2017

Abstract:
Mauryius n.gen., a new bothriurid scorpion genus from the Argentinean Precordillera, is described, and its phylogenetic position is discussed based on a phylogenetic analysis of morphological data. Mauryius n.gen. is the first scorpion genus endemic to the Argentinean Precordillera. It is most closely related to Pachakutej Ochoa, 2004 from the inter-Andean valleys of Peru and to Rumikiru Ojanguren-Affilastro, Mattoni, Ochoa & Prendini, 2012 from the Atacama Desert in Chile. Mauryius cuyanus n.sp., the only known species of the genus, is described. Biogeographical implications of Mauryius relationships are discussed.

Reference:
Ojanguren-Affilastro AA, Mattoni C. Mauryius n.gen. (Scorpiones: Bothriuridae), a new neotropical scorpion genus. Arthropod Systematics & Phylogeny. 2017;75(1):125-39.[Open Access]

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for sending me this article!

Family Bothriuridae

28 March, 2017

An update on the scorpion fauna of Kerala, India


Information about the scorpion fauna is important and we still have a lot of undiscovered taxa or populations in many areas of the world. Aswathi & Sureshan recently published the results of a survey of the scorpion fauna of Kerala, India, also including a checklist and an identification key for the taxa in this region.

Abstract:
Two species of scorpions (Arachnida: Scorpiones) Lychas laevifrons (Pocock), and Heterometrus flavimanus (Pocock) are reported for the first time from Kerala, and an illustrated key to the genera and checklist of scorpion species of Kerala are provided. Currently, 22 species belonging to nine genera of scorpions are known from the state.

Reference:
Aswathi K, Sureshan PM. Additions to the scorpion fauna (Arachnida: Scorpiones) of Kerala, India, with an illustrated key to the genera. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 2017;9(2):9844–50. [Open Access]

Thanks to Dr. Aswathi for sending me their article!

24 March, 2017

A new species of troglomorphic, forest leaf litter-dwelling scorpion from Columbia


For some reason I'm a fan of small, troglomorphic scorpions like the European Belisarius Simon, 1870 (Troglotayosicidae), which I was lucky to keep in captivity some years ago. Another fascinating genus in this category is Troglotayosicus Lourenço, 1981 (Troglotayosicidae), in which all species are missing the median eyes. Ricardo Botero-Trujillo and co-workers have recently described a new species in this genus from Columbia.

Troglotayosicus meijdeni Botero-Trujillo, Gonzalez-Gomez, Valenzuela-Rojas & Garcia, 2017

The number of species in the genus is now raised to four, but only T. vachoni Lourenço, 1981is a true troglobitic species. The other species are inhabitants of the leaf litter layer in montane regions in Andes.

Abstract:
We describe a new scorpion species in the troglomorphic genus Troglotayosicus Lourenço, 1981 from Colombia. Troglotayosicus meijdeni sp. nov. inhabits the forest leaf litter at Rivera municipality, on the western slope of the Eastern Andes. The male of the new species remains unknown; however, this species can be distinguished from other species in the genus by the female (and juvenile) morphology. The type locality of T. meijdeni sp. nov. represents the northernmost known record for a population of Troglotayosicus, further extending the known limits of distribution of this genus, and shedding more light on the distributional range of this group of scorpions in northwestern South America. With this description, the number of known species of Troglotayosicus is raised to four; three of them are endogean species living in forested areas in the Andean region of Colombia, whereas one is a hypogean species from a cave in Ecuadorian Amazonia.

Reference:
Botero-Trujillo R, Gonzalez-Gomez JC, Valenzuela-Rojes JC, Garcia LF. A new species in the troglomorphic scorpion genus Troglotayosicus from Colombia, representing the northernmost known record for the genus (Scorpiones, Troglotayosicidae). Zootaxa. 2017;4244(4):568-82. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Ricardo Botero-Trujillo for sending me their article!

Family Troglotayosicidae

23 March, 2017

Habitat selection in two Vaejovis species from Arizona


Some scorpions dig burrows, some hide in cracks and crevices in rock walls, other just hide under stones and other suitable surface objects. The reason for a species' retreat choice may be affected by temperature- or climatic preferences, predator pressure, prey availability and similar.

Becker and Brown published a study in December on the factors affecting retreat sites in two species of Vaejovis C. L. Koch, 1836 (Vaejovidae) (V. cashi Graham 2007 and V. electrum Hughes 2011) in Arizona, USA.

The main conclusion is that both Vaejovis cashi and V. electrum selected larger retreat sites that had more stable thermal profiles. Se abstract for more conclusions from this study.

Abstract:
Sky island scorpions shelter under rocks and other surface debris, but, as with other scorpions, it is unclear whether these species select retreat sites randomly. Furthermore, little is known about the thermal preferences of scorpions, and no research has been done to identify whether reproductive condition might influence retreat site selection. The objectives were to (1) identify physical or thermal characteristics for retreat sites occupied by two sky island scorpions (Vaejovis cashi Graham 2007 and V. electrum Hughes 2011) and those not occupied; (2) determine whether retreat site selection differs between the two study species; and (3) identify whether thermal selection differs between species and between gravid and non-gravid females of the same species. Within each scorpion's habitat, maximum dimensions of rocks along a transect line were measured and compared to occupied rocks to determine whether retreat site selection occurred randomly. Temperature loggers were placed under a subset of occupied and unoccupied rocks for 48 hours to compare the thermal characteristics of these rocks. Thermal gradient trials were conducted before parturition and after dispersal of young in order to identify whether gravidity influences thermal preference. Vaejovis cashi and V. electrum both selected larger retreat sites that had more stable thermal profiles. Neither species appeared to have thermal preferences influenced by reproductive condition. However, while thermal selection did not differ among non-gravid individuals, gravid V. electrum selected warmer temperatures than its gravid congener. Sky island scorpions appear to select large retreat sites to maintain thermal stability, although biotic factors (e.g., competition) could also be involved in this choice. Future studies should focus on identifying the various biotic or abiotic factors that could influence retreat site selection in scorpions, as well as determining whether reproductive condition affects thermal selection in other arachnids.

Reference:
Becker JE, Brown CA. Reliable Refuge: Two Sky Island Scorpion Species Select Larger, Thermally Stable Retreat Sites. PLoS One. 2016;11(12):e0168105. [Open Access]

Thanks to Matt Simon for informing me about this article!

21 March, 2017

A checklist of the scorpion fauna of Vietnam


Dinh-Sac Pham and co-workers have recently published an updated checklist of the scorpion fauna of Vietnam.

Abstract:
A faunistic inventory is proposed for the known Vietnamese scorpion species. The aim of this contribution is to bring an up-to-date checklist of all known species in Vietnam, prior to a more detailed study of the Vietnamese fauna to be performed by one of the authors (T.- H.T.) in the context of the preparation of a doctoral degree. Final taxonomic decisions should be taken at the end of the doctoral dissertation.

Reference:
Pham DS, Tran TH, Lourenco WR. Diversity and endemicity in the scorpion fauna of Vietnam. A preliminary synopsis. C R Biol. 2017;340(2):132-7. [Open Access]

20 March, 2017

An update on the genus Tityus in Hispaniola, Greater Antilles


Rolando Teruel has been able to investigate types and additional materials of Tityus C. L. Koch, 1836 from Hispaniola, Greater Antilles. The investigation showed that many of the species are highly variable morphologically, that adults belonging to different size-classes can be easily mistaken as distinct species. Because of this, several species have wrongly been given species status.The paper's conclusions are:

Tityus anasilviae Armas & Abud, 2004 is synonymized with Tityus ottenwalderi Armas, 1999.

Tityus bahoruco Teruel & Armas, 2006 is synonymized with Tityus crassimanus (Thorell, 1876).

Tityus ebanoverde Armas, 1999 is synonymized with Tityus elii Armas & Marcano, 1992.

Tityus septentrionalis Armas & Abud, 2004 is synonymized with Tityus portoplatensis Armas & Marcano, 1992.

In addition, the following fossil taxa are synonymized:

Tityus azari Lourenço, 2013 and Tityus (Brazilotityus) hartkorni Lourenço, 2009 are both synonymized with Tityus geratus Santiago-Blay & Poinar, 1988.

Abstract:
In the present paper, the taxonomic status of several Hispaniolan members of the genus Tityus C. L. Koch, 1966 is revised after examination of almost all primary types and abundant supplementary material. This resulted in six new synonymies, which involve both extant and fossil species. The extant taxa herein synonymized are Tityus anasilviae Armas et Abud, 2004 under Tityus ottenwalderi Armas, 1999, Tityus bahoruco Teruel et Armas, 2006 under Tityus crassimanus (Thorell, 1876), Tityus ebanoverde Armas, 1999 under Tityus elii Armas et Marcano, 1992, and Tityus septentrionalis Armas et Abud, 2004 under Tityus portoplatensis Armas et Marcano, 1992. The fossil taxa herein synonymized are Tityus azari Lourenço, 2013† and Tityus (Brazilotityus) hartkorni Lourenço, 2009†, both under Tityus geratus Santiago-Blay et Poinar, 1988†. Updated distribution maps are given for all extant senior synonyms.

Reference:
Teruel R. Some Taxonomic Corrections to the Genus Tityus C. L. Koch, 1836 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) in Hispaniola, Greater Antilles. Euscorpius. 2917(242):1-9. [Open Access]

Thanks to Rolando for sending me his article!

Family Buthidae

16 March, 2017

Dangerous scorpions in Mexico and how to identify them


In the end of 2016, Javier Ponce-Saavedra and co-workers published a paper on scorpions of medical importance in Mexico. Mexico has many dangerous species, and the paper has an identification guide for species of medical importance, partly illustrated with good quality pictures. Data on distribution within Mexico is also presented. The paper also has epidemiological data for serious scorpion incidents from 1997 to 2015.

The article is in Spanish.

Abstract:
Scorpionism is one of the most important public health issues in Mexico. Intoxication by scorpion sting is in the first place among illnesses by poisonous animals and it is among the top twenty causes of mortality in the country, and in some states it is even among the top ten. An analysis of morbidity for the laps 2006-2015, and mortality during 1997-2013, by scorpion sting, is presented using data from Mexican health authorities. For each state the responsible scorpion species are reviewed, along with morbidity and mortality records. An identification key for species of medical importance in Mexico is included.

Reference:

Ponce-Saavedra J, Francke OF, Quijano-Ravell AF, Santillan RC. Alacranes (Arachnida: Scorpiones) de importancia para la salud pública en México. Folia Entomológica Mexicana (nueva serie). 2016;2(3):45-70. [Open Access]


Thanks to Dr. Oscar F. Francke for sending me this article!


14 March, 2017

A new species of Grosphus from Madagascar


Wilson Lourenco and co-workers have recently described a new species of Grosphus Simon, 1880 from northern Madagascar.

Grosphus ganzhorni Lourenco, Wilme & Waeber, 2016

Abstract:
A new species, associated with Grosphus annulatus Fage, 1929, is described from the Akarana Massif in the north of Madagascar. Some comments on biogeographical aspects linking the new species with its possible vicariant are also included.

Reference:
Lourenco WR, Wilme L, Waeber PO. One more vicariant new species of Grosphus Simon, 1880 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Madagascar. Revista Iberica de Arachnologia. 2016(29):45-50. [Subscription required for full text]

Family Buthidae

09 March, 2017

A new species of Opisthacanthus from South-East Madagascar


Wilson Lourenco and co-workers have investigated new hormurid materials from Madagascar and a new species of Opisthacanthus Peters, 1861 (Hormuridae) has been described from the Lavasoa forest in south-eastern Madagascar..

Opisthacanthus lavasoa Lourenco, Wilme & Waeber, 2016

The geographic distribution, biogeography and ecology of the Malagasy species of Opisthacanthus  is also discussed.

Abstract:
A new species, Opisthacanthus lavasoa sp. n., is described from the Lavasoa Forest, in south-eastern Madagascar. The new species shows affinities with both Opisthacanthus madagascarensis Kraepelin, 1894, known from the western portion of the island, and Opisthacanthus ambanja Lourenco, 2014, known only from the extreme north of the island. The new species and O. madagascarensis have similar external morphologies, whereas with O. ambanja the new species shares a similar morphology of the hemispermathophores. Moreover, O. madagascarensis is exclusively found in spiny forest thickets and svannah-like formations, whereas the new species was found in a humid forest. The total number of species in Madagascar is now raised to eleven.

Reference:
Lourenco WR, Wilme L, Waeber PO. One more new species of Opisthcanthus Peters, 1861 (Scorpiones: Hormuridae) from the Lavasoa Forest, South-Eastern Madagascar. Revista Iberica de Arachnologia. 2016(29):9-17. [Subscription required for full text]

Family Hormuridae

07 March, 2017

The true taxonomic identity of Centruroides tenuis from Hispaniola, Greater Antilles


The title is "stolen" from a recent paper by Rolando Teruel. In this, paper the taxonomic status of Centruroides tenuis Thorell, 1876 and Centruroides zayasi Armas, 1976 from the Caribbean is investigated. The conclusion is that C. tenuis is a valid species and that C. zayasi is a junior synonym of the former.

Abstract:
The precise taxonomic identity of two taxa, Centruroides tenuis (Thorell, 1876) and Centruroides zayasi Armas, 1976, which has been the subject of prolonged controversy, is finally clarified. The study of three syntypes of the first taxon and the holotype of the second taxon has revealed that the syntypes correspond to two species which are the second taxon’s potential junior synonyms, Centruroides marcanoi Armas, 1981 and C. zayasi. One of the syntypes, the best preserved female adult, is here designated as the lectotype of C. tenuis. Consequently, the following nomenclatural change is proposed: Centrurus tenuis Thorell, 1876 = Centruroides zayasi Armas, 1976, syn. nov.

Reference:
Teruel R. The true taxonomic identity of Centruroides tenuis (Thorell, 1876) and Centruroides zayasi Armas, 1976 (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Revista Iberica de Arachnologia. 2016(29):91-3. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Rolando for sending me his article!

Family Buthidae

02 March, 2017

Centruroides platnicki discovered in Hispaniola, Greater Antilles


Teruel & Seiter have recently reported about the discovery of the buthid Centruroides platnicki Armas 1981 (Buthidae) in the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. C. platnicki has probably been collected from the island in the past, but have been misidentified as Centruroides nitidus (Thorell, 1876).

Abstract:
The Buthid scorpion Centruroides platnicki Armas 1981 is recorded for the first time from the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. The species was so far known only from the southern Bahamas (including the Turks and Caicos Islands). Numerous adult and juvenile specimens of both sexes were found at two localities of Montecristi province (north-western Dominican Republic), always in desert vegetation on alluvial clayey soils.

Reference:
Teruel R, Seiter M. Centruroides platnicki Armas, 1981 (Scorpiones: Buthidae), a new addition to the scorpion fauna of Hispaniola, Greater Antilles. Revista Iberica de Arachnologia. 2016(29):76-8. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Rolando for sending me their article!

01 March, 2017

New data on the distribution of two buthid species from India


India hosts at least 117 species (according to Scorpiones.pl), but the scorpion fauna in this large and diverse country is far from thoroughly investigated. K. Aswathi and co-workers have now published an article with new distributional data for the buthids Buthoscorpio indicus Lourenço, 2012 and Lychas biharensis Tikader & Bastawade, 1983.

Abstract:
Among the genera of the family Buthidae, the genus Buthoscorpio remains rare. Only five species have so far been reported from the world. Two species, Buthoscorpio indicus Lourenço, 2012 and Lychas biharensis Tikader & Bastawade, 1983 were collected from a tiger reserve forest in Odisha State, India. Since both species were only previously known from their type locality, the present study reveals new distributional records for both species outside their type locality. The male of the first species is described.

Reference:
Aswathi K, Sureshan PM, Lourenco WR. New distributional records of two scorpion species (scorpiones: Buthidae) with the description of the male Buthoscorpio indicus Lourenço, 2012 from Odisha, India. Revista Iberica de Arachnologia. 2016(29):37-40.

Thanks to Dr. Aswathi for sending me their article!

First report of parthenogenesis in the family Vaejovidae.


Richard Ayrey described Serradigitus miscionei (Vaejovidae) in 2011, but was not able to find any males. Now he has examined 187 specimens and all turned out to be females. In 15 examined broods, all 2nd instars were found to be females.This provides a strong evidence that this species reproduces by thelytokous parthenogenesis (has all-female broods).

This is the first reported case of parthenogenesis in the family Vaejovidae.

Abstract:
Thelytokous parthenogenesis (all-female broods) is strongly suggested for the vaejovid species Serradigitus miscionei (Vaejovidae) from southern Arizona, USA. This conclusion is based on the examination of 187 specimens and 15 broods, all determined as females.

Reference:
Ayrey RF. Serradigitus miscionei, the First Vaejovid Scorpion to Exhibit Parthenogenesis. Euscorpius. 2017(241):1-7. [Open Access]

27 February, 2017

Heteronebo news from Cuba


Rolando Teruel and Tomás M. Rodríguez-Cabrera have recently published an article presenting the first findings of the genus Heteronebo Pocock, 1899 (Scorpionidae) on Isla de Pinos, southwestern Cuba.

After investigation of Henetonebo materials from Cuba, Heteronebo morenoi (Armas, 1973) is raised to species status (previous status Heteronebo bermudezi morenoi (Armas, 1973)). Both H. morenoi (Armas, 1973) and H. bermudezi (Moreno, 1938) will be more thoroughly described in a forthcomming paper.

Abstract:
The diplocentrine scorpion genus Heteronebo Pocock, 1899 is recorded herein for the first time from Isla de Pinos, southwestern Cuba. A total of 15 specimens of Heteronebo bermudezi (Moreno, 1938) were collected in two nearby localities of the southern coast of the island, where it occurs in exactly the same habitat previously known for this species in Guanahacabibes Peninsula and two cays of Canarreos Archipelago. The allegedly polytypic status of this species is also revised and full species rank is restored to the subspecies Heteronebo bermudezi morenoi (Armas, 1973). An updated distribution map of H. bermudezi is provided.

Reference:
Teruel R, Rodriguez-Cabrera TM. The Missing Piece of the Puzzle Solved: Heteronebo Pocock, 1899 (Scorpiones: Scorpionidae) Occurs at Isla de Pinos, Cuba. Euscorpius. 2017(240):1-4. [Open Access]

Family Scorpionidae

21 February, 2017

A new Hottentotta species from India


Kuruppalath Aswathi and co-workers have recently described a new species of Hottentotta Birula, 1908 (Buthidae) from the Kerala region in India.

Hottentotta keralaensis Aswhati, Sureshan & Lourenço, 2016

Abstract:
A new species of scorpion, Hottentotta keralaensis sp. n. is described. The type material was collected in a Thorn Scrub forest, a part of Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary. The description of the new species raised the total number of Hottentotta Birula, 1908 species into two in the Kerala state, South of India.

Reference:
Aswhati K, Sureshan PM, Lourenço WR. One more new species of Hottentotta Birula, 1908 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from the State of Kerala in South of India. Aracnida - Rivista Arachnologica Italiana. 2016;2(10):34-44.

Thanks to Kuruppalath Aswathi for sending me their paper!

Family Buthidae

16 February, 2017

New study suggest that the widely distributed Aussi scorpion Urodacus yaschenkoi is a species complex


Australian scorpions have received less attention that scorpions from other continents. Karen Luna-Ramirez and co-workers have recently published a study of the widely distributed scorpion Urodacus yaschenko (Birula, 1903) (Scorpionidae). Both genetic and morphological data suggest that U. yaschenkoi is a species complex, consisting of three or more species. More specimens from different areas should be studied and a revision of the species should be made in the future before final conclusions can be made.

Abstract:
Background. Australian scorpions have received far less attention from researchers than their overseas counterparts. Here we provide the first insight into the molecular variation and evolutionary history of the endemic Australian scorpion Urodacus yaschenkoi. Also known as the inland robust scorpion, it is widely distributed throughout arid zones of the continent and is emerging as a model organism in biomedical research due to the chemical nature of its venom.

Methods. We employed Bayesian Inference (BI) methods for the phylogenetic reconstructions and divergence dating among lineages, using unique haplotype sequences from two mitochondrial loci (COXI, 16S) and one nuclear locus (28S). We also
implemented two DNA taxonomy approaches (GMYC and PTP/dPTP) to evaluate the presence of cryptic species. Linear Discriminant Analysis was used to test whether the linear combination of 21 variables (ratios of morphological measurements) can predict individual's membership to a putative species.


Results. Genetic and morphological data suggest that U. yaschenkoi is a species complex. High statistical support for the monophyly of several divergent lineages was found both at the mitochondrial loci and at a nuclear locus. The extent of mitochondrial divergence between these lineages exceeds estimates of interspecific divergence reported for other scorpion groups. The GMYC model and the PTP/bPTP approach identified major lineages and several sub-lineages as putative species. Ratios of several traits that approximate body shape had a strong predictive power (83 100%) in discriminating
two major molecular lineages. A time-calibrated phylogeny dates the early divergence at the onset of continental-wide aridification in late Miocene and Pliocene, with finer-scale phylogeographic patterns emerging during the Pleistocene. This structuring dynamics is congruent with the diversification history of other fauna of the Australian arid zones.


Discussion. Our results indicate that the taxonomic status of U. yaschenkoi requires revision, and we provide recommendations for such future efforts. A complex evolutionary history and extensive diversity highlights the importance of conserving U. yaschenkoi populations from different Australian arid zones in order to preserve patterns of endemism and evolutionary potential.


Reference:
Luna-Ramirez K, Miller AD, Rasic G. Genetic and morphological analyses indicate that the Australian endemic scorpion Urodacus yaschenkoi (Scorpiones: Urodacidae) is a species complex. PeerJ. 2017;5:e2759. [Open Access]

A scorpion from Guatemala on a visit to England


Scorpions sneaking into luggage, goods etc. and ending up as stowaways in non-scorpion countries is quite common. Several cases have been documented in journals and newspapers. A recent case from England was published by Rony E. Trujillo and co-workers. In this case, a female Centruroides thorellii (Kraepelin, 1891) (Buthidae) from Guatemala was found in the luggage of a family in England (that recently had visited Guatemala).

Abstract:
We recorded a pregnant female of the Central American bark stripped scorpion Centruroides thorellii (Kraepelin, 1891), which arrived to England as a stowaway in the bag of a woman that previously visited the Departments of Sacatepéquez, Sololá and San Marcos, Guatemala. On January 2, this C. thorellii female had a litter of three off-spring and three infertile eggs, but she has eaten them, probably as consequence of the stress caused by the hard travel and the environmental changes. We provide a map with the geographical distribution of this species and photos of the female detected in a British train.

Reference:
Trujillo RE, De Armas LF, Mansfield D. Centruroides thorellii (Scorpiones: Buthidae): Traveling from Guatemala to England Without a Passport. Euscorpius. 2017(239):1-4. [Open Access]

Thanks to Rony E. Trujillo for sending me his paper!

09 February, 2017

A major review of the genus Pandinus Sensu Lato and new species from the Horn of Africa


In the last years several there have been several studies on the genus Pandinus Sensu Lato and several new genera and species have been described. In October, 2016, Lorenzo Prendini published an review article, trying to sort out the situation for Pandinus Sensu Lato and criticized some of the previous work on this taxa.

In a recent article in the series "Scorpions of the Horn of Africa", Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers follow up on Prendini's criticism and present a new taxonomy for Pandinus Sensu Lato based on new materials from the Horn of Africa. This is a major review with many taxonomical changes and four new species. This is the main taxonomical conclusions of this article:

New species/status:

Pandiborellius Rossi, 2015 - Raised from subgenus status.
Pandiborellius awashensis (Kovarik, 2012) - Previous status Pandinus awashensis Kovarik, 2012.
Pandiborellius igdu Kovarik, Lowe, Soleglad & Pliskova, 2017 - New species from Ethiopia.
Pandiborellius insularis Kovarik, Lowe, Soleglad & Pliskova, 2017 - New species from Eritrea.
Pandiborellius lanzai (Rossi 2015) - Previous status Pandinus lanzai Rossi 2015.
Pandiborellius magretti (Borelli, 1901) - Previous status Pandinus magretti (Borelli, 1901).
Pandiborellius meidensis (Karsch, 1879) - Previous status Pandinurus meidensis (Karsch, 1879).
Pandiborellius nistriae (Rossi, 2014) - Previous status Pandinurus nistrae (Rossi, 2014).
Pandiborellius percivali (Pocock, 1902) - Previous status Pandinurus percivali (Pocock, 1902).
Pandiborellius somalilandus (Kovarik, 2012) - Previous status Pandinurus somalilandus (Kovarik, 2012).

Pandinopsis Vachon, 1974 - Returned to subgenus status in Pandinus (Thorell, 1876).

Pandinurus afar Kovarik, Lowe, Soleglad & Pliskova, 2017 - New species from Ethiopia.
Pandinurus citernii (Borelli, 1919) - Restored from synonymy with P. phillipsii (Pocock, 1896).
Pandinurus intermedius (Borelli, 1919) - Restored from synonymy with P. phillipsii (Pocock, 1896).
Pandinurus mazuchi (Kovarik, 2011) - Previous status Pandinus mazuchi Kovarik, 2011.
Pandinurus oromo Kovarik, Lowe, Soleglad & Pliskova, 2017 - New species from Ethiopia.
Pandinurus phillipsii (Poocock, 1896) - Restored from synonymy.
Pandinurus smithi (Pocock, 1897) - Previous status Pandinus smithi (Pocock, 1897).
Pandinurus trailini (Kovarik, 2013) - Previous status Pandinus trailini Kovarik, 2013.

Pandinus dictator (Pocock, 1888) - Previous status  Pandinopsis dictator (Pocock, 1888).
Pandinus lowei Kovarik, 2012 - Previous status  Pandinurus lowei (Kovarik, 2012).
Pandinus viatoris (Pocock, 1890) - Previous status  Pandinurus viatoris (Pocock, 1890).

Synonymizations:

Pandinurus bottegoi Rossi 2015 - Synonymized with Pandinurus platycheles (Werner, 1916). 
Pandinurus cianferonii Rossi 2015 - Synonymized with Pandinurus pallidus (Kraepelin, 1894).
Pandinurus riccardoi Rossi 2015 - Synonymized with Pandinurus platycheles (Werner, 1916).
Pandinus sabbadinii Rossi 2015 - Synonymized with Pandiborellius magretti (Borelli, 1901).
Pandinurus vachoni Rossi 2014 - Synonymized with Pandinurus sudanicus (Hirst, 1911). 

The article also present several identification keys and also high quality photos of both species and habitats.

Abstract:
We introduce a new system of classification for the subfamily Scorpioninae Latreille, 1802 which includes genera Heterometrus Ehrenberg, 1828, Opistophthalmus C. L. Koch, 1837, Pandiborellius Rossi, 2015 stat. n., Pandinoides Fet, 1997, Pandinops Birula, 1913, Pandinurus Fet, 1997, Pandinus (Pandinus) Thorell, 1876, Pandinus (Pandinopsis) Vachon, 1974 stat. n., Pandinus (Pandipalpus) Rossi, 2015 stat. n., and Scorpio Linné, 1758. We provide a checklist of 41 valid species and their synonyms of Pandinus sensu lato. We revise Horn of Africa genera Pandiborellius stat. n. and Pandinurus; all species are fully complemented with color photos of live and preserved specimens, as well as their habitat. Included are morphological keys to the subfamily Scorpioninae and genera Pandiborellius stat. n. and Pandinurus. Several new characters in trichobothrial pattern, granulation of pedipalp movable and fixed fingers and spiniform formula of tarsomeres of legs are used and discussed. Described herein are Pandiborellius igdu sp. n. from Ethiopia, Pandiborellius insularis sp. n. from Eritrea, Pandinurus afar sp. n. from Ethiopia, and Pandinurus oromo sp. n. from Ethiopia. Pandinurus citernii (Borelli, 1919) comb. n. and Pandinurus intermedius (Borelli, 1919) comb. n. are restored from synonymy. Pandinurus (Pandipavesius) Rossi, 2015 is synonymized with Pandiborellius Rossi, 2015 stat. n.; Pandinus (Pandinoirens) Rossi, 2015 is synonymized with Pandinurus Fet, 1997; Pandinurus (Pandiborellius) sabbadinii Rossi, 2015 is synonymized with Pandiborellius magrettii (Borelli, 1901) comb. n.; Pandinurus (Pandinurus) cianferonii Rossi, 2015 is synonymized with Pandinurus pallidus (Kraepelin, 1894); Pandinus (Pandinoirens) riccardoi Rossi, 2015 and Pandinus (Pandinoirens) bottegoi Rossi, 2015 are synonymized with Pandinurus platycheles (Werner, 1916); Pandinus (Pandinurus) vachoni Rossi, 2014 is synonymized with Pandinurus sudanicus (Hirst, 1911); and Pandinurus (Pandipalpus) pygmaeus Rossi, 2015 is synonymized with Pandinus (Pandipalpus) lowei Kovařík, 2012 comb. n.. Hemispermatophores of Pandiborellius insularis sp. n., Pandinurus afar sp. n. and Pandinurus oromo sp. n are illustrated and described, and morphology of Pandinus sensu lato hemispermatophores is discussed.

Reference:
Kovarik F, Lowe G, Soleglad ME, Pliskova J. Scorpions of the Horn of Africa (Arachnida: Scorpiones). Part X. Pandiborellius stat. n. and Pandinurus (Scorpionidae) with Description of Four New Species from Eritrea and Ethiopia, and Review of Pandinus Sensu Lato Taxonomy. Euscorpius. 2017(238):1-103. [Open Access]

Family Scorpionidae

31 January, 2017

Some biological aspects of the genus Brachistosternus in Chile


Andres Ojanguren Affilastro and co-workers recently published an article with new data on prey capture and habitat of the genus Brachistosternus Pocock, 1893 (Bothriruidae) in Chile. In addition, a new type of pedipalp macroseta was described.

Abstract:
New data about several aspects of the biology of scorpions of genus Brachistosternus of the Atacama Desert are provided. Predatory techniques on tenebrionid larvae, and large spiders in their burrows are described, as well as the method used to transport large preys. The habitat of Brachistosternus mattonii Ojanguren-Affilastro 2005, by the tide line, is described for the first time. Finally a new type of pedipalp macroseta of Bothriuridae is described.

Reference:
Ojanguren Affilastro AA, Botero-Trujillo R, Castex A, Pizarro-Araya J. Biological aspects of the genus Brachistosternus (Bothriuridae) in the Atacama Desert (Chile), with the description of a new type of pedipalp macroseta. Gayana. 2016;80(2):169-74. [Open Access]

Thanks to Andres Ojanguren Affilastro for sending me their paper!

23 January, 2017

A new study on the anatomy of the scorpion stinger


Arie van der Meijden and Thomas Kleinteich have recently published a study on the diversity of the scorpion stinger. The stinger is an essential tool for scorpions and there is a great diversity in both anatomy and the use of the stinger. This study shows that scorpion stingers may be biomechanically optimized, and this may indicate different usage of the stinger in different species.

Abstract:
Scorpions have elongated metasomas that bear a telson, which is used as a stinger for venom injection. There is a remarkable diversity in the use of the stinger among scorpions, comprising defensive behavior, prey subjugation and mating. This diversity could be reflected by the shape of the telson, as different stinging behaviors will result in very different functional demands. Here we explored the diversity of telson shapes in scorpions by providing morphological measurements, such as curvature and tip angle, as well as by testing stingers under load using finite element analysis (FEA). FEA models were loaded with forces scaled to the surface area of the models, to allow comparison of the relative strain energy based on shape alone. Load force angle was rotated to identify the optimal stinging angle based on the lowest strain energy. Aculeus length and mean aculeus height correlated with minimal strain energy. Optimal stinging angle correlated with tip angle, and differed from the tip angle by about 28.4 6.22 °. We found that species that are more venomous have long aculei (stinger barbs) with a larger radius of curvature. FEA models of these longer aculei showed basal stress concentrations, indicating a potential greater risk of basal breakage due to shape alone. Telsons with shorter and thicker aculeus shapes showed stress concentrations at the tip only. Despite these marked differences in shape, we found no difference in the scaled strain energy between groups of species that are more venomous and less venomous groups of species. These results show that scorpion stingers may be biomechanically optimized, and this may indicate different usage of the stinger in different species.

Reference:
van der Meijden A, Kleinteich T. A biomechanical view on stinger diversity in scorpions. J Anat. 2016. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Arie van der Meijden for sending me their article!

18 January, 2017

Scorpions inhabiting islands or archipelagos


Gerard Dupre has recently published a literature review listing all scorpion species that inhabit islands or archipelagos around the world. The article is in French.

Abstract:
The scorpions are spread across the continents in various biogeographical zones, confirming their extreme ecological plasticity. However, a number of them are quite deeply rooted outside the continental areas, namely on islands or archipelagos in numerous seas and oceans. We consulted many scientific texts of various authors about their distribution in the islands.

Reference:
Dupre G. Etude preliminaire de la faune scorpionique insulaire. Aracnida - Rivista Arachnologica Italiana. 2016;2(10, Supplemento):3-80.

Thanks to Gerard for sending me his article!

A checklist of the scorpion fauna of Vietnam



The scorpion fauna of Vietnam has previously received little attention. Dinh-Sac Pham and co-workers have now published a checklist of the scorpion fauna of Vietnam based on the available literature. The aim of the study is to make ready for future taxonomic studies of the scorpions of Vietnam.

In the article the authors raise the subgenus Vietscorpiops (Lourenço and Pham, 2015) (Euscorpiidae) to genus status and the species Scorpiops dentidactylus Lourenço and Pham, 2015 is moved to the new genus (as Vietscorpiops dentidactylus (Lourenço and Pham, 2015) ).

Abstract:
A faunistic inventory is proposed for the known Vietnamese scorpion species. The aim of this contribution is to bring an up-to-date checklist of all known species in Vietnam, prior to a more detailed study of the Vietnamese fauna to be performed by one of the authors (T.- H.T.) in the context of the preparation of a doctoral degree. Final taxonomic decisions should be taken at the end of the doctoral dissertation.

Reference:
Pham DS, Tran TH, Lourenco WR. Diversity and endemicity in the scorpion fauna of Vietnam. A preliminary synopsis. C R Biol. 2016. [Open Access]

Family Euscorpiidae

17 January, 2017

A review on scorpions living in high altitudes

Some of the Euorpean Euscorpius species can be found in high altitudes with snow in periods of the year. Photo: Stelios Kokkas (C).

Gerard Dupre recently published a literature review summing up the available knowledge on scorpions living in higher altitudes. He found 227 species from 56 genera living at 2000 meters or above (some living permanently in this height, while others having their distribution area touching these heights).

The height record is being held by the bothriurid Orobothirurus huascaran Ochoa, Ojanguren Affilastro, Mattoni & Predini, 2011, found at 4910 meters. A previous record (5560 meters) reported for Pachakutej crassimanus (Maury, 1975) is considered to be erroneous.

Abstract:
Très peu d'études sur les scorpions d'altitude ont été menées. La seule synthèse est celle de Goyffon (1993). Par la suite ce sont des synthèses partielles par région comme par exemple sur les espèces andines (Ochoa, Ojanguren-Affilastro & Prendini, 2011; Mattoni, Ochoa, Ojanguren-Affilastro & Prendini, 2012) ou himalayennes (Zambre, Sanap & Mirza, 2014). Nous avons consulté la presse scientifique de plus de deux siècles pour aboutir à cette synthèse qui ne prétend pas à l'exhaustivité.

Reference:
Dupre G. Les scorpions d'altitude. Arachnides. 2016(79):20-36.

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for sending me his article!

On the venom of Superstitionia donensis


There has been and is a lot of research on scorpion venoms, but the majority of these studies have been on species in the family Buthidae. Several families are not represented in the venom literature at all. Carlos E. Santibáñez-López and co-workers have now published a study on the venom of the enigmatic scorpion Superstitionia donensis Stahnke, 1940 (Superstitioniidae).

Abstract:
Venom gland transcriptomic and proteomic analyses have improved our knowledge on the diversity of the heterogeneous components present in scorpion venoms. However, most of these studies have focused on species from the family Buthidae. To gain insights into the molecular diversity of the venom components of scorpions belonging to the family Superstitioniidae, one of the neglected scorpion families, we performed a transcriptomic and proteomic analyses for the species Superstitionia donensis. The total mRNA extracted from the venom glands of two specimens was subjected to massive sequencing by the Illumina protocol, and a total of 219,073 transcripts were generated. We annotated 135 transcripts putatively coding for peptides with identity to known venom components available from different protein databases. Fresh venom collected by electrostimulation was analyzed by LC-MS/MS allowing the identification of 26 distinct components with sequences matching counterparts from the transcriptomic analysis. In addition, the phylogenetic affinities of the found putative calcins, scorpines, La1-like peptides and potassium channel toxins were analyzed. The first three components are often reported as ubiquitous in the venom of different families of scorpions. Our results suggest that, at least calcins and scorpines, could be used as molecular markers in phylogenetic studies of scorpion venoms.

Reference:
Santibanez-Lopez CE, Cid-Uribe JI, Batista CV, Ortiz E, Possani LD. Venom Gland Transcriptomic and Proteomic Analyses of the Enigmatic Scorpion Superstitionia donensis (Scorpiones: Superstitioniidae), with Insights on the Evolution of Its Venom Components. Toxins (Basel). 2016;8(12). [Open Access]

Thanks to Carlos E. Santibáñez-López for sending me their article!

16 January, 2017

Two new species of Razianus from Pakistan


Correction: Publication date for this article has been corrected to 2014.

T. Muhammad Tahir and co-workers published an article on the little known genus Razianus Farzanpay, 1987 (Buthidae) in Iraq, Iran and Pakistan last summer. In addition to a redescription of Razianus zarudnyi (Birula, 1903), the paper describes two new species from Pakistan.

Razinaus birulai Tahir, Navidpour & Prendini, 2014

Razinaus farzanpayi Tahir, Navidpour & Prendini, 2014

An identification key for the four species known from Iraq, Iran and Pakistan is presented.

Abstract:
The scorpion fauna of Pakistan, like that of the rest of the Indian subcontinent, is poorly known and many new species may await discovery. We describe two new species of the buthid genus Razianus Farzanpay, 1987, i.e., Razianus birulai, sp. nov., and Razianus farzanpayi, sp. nov., the first records of this genus from Pakistan, raising the number of species in the genus to four and extending its distribution southeast. In addition, we redescribe the type species, Razianus zarudnyi (Birula, 1903), report the first record from Iraq, extending the distribution of Razianus further west, plot the known locality records of the three species occurring in Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan, and provide a key to their identification.

Reference:
Muhammad Tahir H, Navidpour S, Prendini L. First reports of Razianus (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Iraq and Pakistan, descriptions of two new species, and redescription of Razianus zarudnyi. American Museum Novitates. 2014(3806):1-26. [Open Access]

Thanks to Joel Hallan for informing me about these two missing species from The Scorpion Files!

Family Buthidae