26 April, 2010

A new Lychas from India

Zeeshan Mirza and Rajesh Sanap have recently published a new species in the genus Lychas (Buthidae) from India:

Lychas aareyensis Mirza & Sanap, 2010

A new species of buthid scorpion belonging to the genus Lychas C.L. Koch, 1845 is described from the degraded scrub of Aarey Milk Colony (Mumbai). Lychas aareyensis sp. nov. is similar to L. nigristernis, but can be differentiated based on a combination of morphological characters. Notes on natural history are also presented.

Mirza ZA, Sanap RV. Description of a new species of scorpion of the genus Lychas C. L. Koch, 1845 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Maharashtra, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 2010;2(4):789-96. [Free fulltext]

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for sending me this paper!

Family Buthidae

A major revision of Iurus is published

Frantisek Kovarik, Victor Fet, Michael Soleglad and Ersen Yagmur have now published a major revision of the genus Iurus Thorell, 1876 (Iuridae). After examining a large number of specimens from Greece and Turkey they have reached the following conclusions:

Iurus asiaticus Birula, 1903 are raised to species status. This species is limited to the eastern Anatolian mountains.

Iurus dufoureius (Brullé, 1832) is restricted to mainland Greece and the islands of Crete, Kythira and Gavdos.

Iurus kadleici Kovarik, Fet, Soleglad & Yagmur, 2010 is a new species restricted to Antalya and Mersin Provinces.

Iurus kinzelbachi Kovarik, Fet, Soleglad & Yagmur, 2010 is a new species that occupy a limited range in western Anatolia. Interestingly, this species seems to be more related to the Greek Iurus dufoureius than the other Turkish species.

Iurus kraepelini von Ubisch, 1922 is restored from synonymi with Iurus dufoureius asiaticus and given species status. Most of the southern Anatolian populations belong to this species.

In addition to the systematics of Iurus, this extensive paper also provides information about reproduction, breeding, embryo morphology, ecology and biogeography.

Because of the size of this paper, the Publisher provides an option to download the paper in parts in addition the whole paper in one file (80 mb).

This revision is based on a comprehensive analysis of largely new, very extensive material encompassing 341 specimens (58 from Greece and 283 from Turkey). The type species Iurus dufoureius (Brullé, 1832) is restricted to Greece. Iurus asiaticus Birula, 1903 is confirmed as a distinct species, limited to eastern Anatolia. Most widespread in southern Turkey is another species, Iurus kraepelini von Ubisch, 1922, which is here restored from synonymy. We also describe two new species from Turkey: Iurus kadleci, sp. nov. from Antalya and Mersin Provinces (sympatric with I. kraepelini), and Iurus kinzelbachi, sp. nov. from İzmir and Aydın Provinces; therefore, fauna of Turkey includes four species of Iurus. Neotypes of I. dufoureius and I. kraepelini, and lectotype and paralectotypes of I. asiaticus are designated. Status of Iurus populations from the eastern Aegean islands of Greece (Fourni, Karpathos, Kasos, Rhodes, Samos, Saria) remains to be determined. A map of the distribution of Iurus is presented, based on 198 localities (79 in Greece and 119 in Turkey).

Kovarik F, Fet V, Soleglad ME, Yagmur EA. Etudes on iurids, III. Revision of the genus Iurus Thorell, 1876 (Scorpiones: Iuridae), with a description of two new species from Turkey. Euscorpius. 2010(95):1-212. [Free fulltext. Go to issue 95 to download paper in parts or in one file]

Family Iuridae

19 April, 2010

Courtship and mating in Scorpiops luridus

Jiao & Zhu has studied courtship and mating in Scorpiops luridus Zhu, Lourenco & Qi, 2005 (Euscorpiidae) and have now published a description of the behavior components involved.

In the current work, the courtship and mating of Scorpiops luridus Zhu Lourenço & Qi, 2005 (Euscorpiidae) from Xizang province (Tibet), China, were studied for the first time in the laboratory. Most of the mating behaviors in Scorpiops luridus are not remarkably different from those exhibited by other scorpions. However, for the first time a male pulling a female with its chelicerae to rapidly accomplish the sperm uptake was observed. Additionally, the sexual stinging behavior displayed by the male occurred in the initial stage, not during the promenade stage as previously described in several scorpion species. Through observation and analysis, we speculate that venom injection during sexual stinging is selective, possibly relying on the status shown by the stung scorpion (passive or aggressive). In order to clearly describe the process of courtship and mating, both sequences are represented in a flow chart, while the main behavior components of these processes were identified, analyzed and discussed.

Jiao GB, Zhu MS. Courtship and mating of Scorpiops luridus Zhu, Lourenco & Qi, 2005 (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae) from Xizang Province, China. Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins. 2010;16(1):155-65. [Free fulltext]

Family Euscorpiidae

Sensory processing in scorpion peg sensilla

Douglas Gaffin is the leading man in scorpion sensory physiology and he has now published an analysis of sensory processing in scorpion peg sensilla.

Primary chemosensory afferents within each peg sensillum on scorpion pectines contain a dense plexus of synaptic contacts of unknown importance to informational processing within this simple sensory structure. These connections probably contribute to the processing of chemical signals from the substrate to the encoded pattern of spike activity ascending the pectinal nerves to the CNS. A key finding of earlier studies of this system was the apparent existence of strong and longlasting inhibitory interactions between one identifiable unit – type ‘‘B’’ cells – and at least two other sensory neurons – identified as ‘‘A1’’ and ‘‘A2’’ – cells within the same sensillum. Because peripheral synaptic interactions are rarely observed between primary sensory neurons, it is important to reject the alternative non-synaptic mechanism to account for the unusual spike waveform of inhibitory B units, namely, that it is derived from coincident discharge of the A1 and A2 units it is presumed to inhibit. High resolution waveform analysis of two or more units firing in close temporal proximity (within about 5 ms) showed unequivocally that type B units occur within the post excitatory period when the A units would be refractory to re-excitation. Furthermore, the number of these B/A1 or B/A2 doublets was in line with the number predicted for the observed spontaneous firing frequency of the B, A1, and A2 units in the peg. This analysis corroborates the original conclusion that B unit activity is the electrophysiological signature of an inhibitory processing event, one that strikingly transforms the information encoded and passed from each peg sensillum to the central nervous system.

Gaffin DD. Analysis of sensory processing in scorpion peg sensilla. Journal of Arachnology. 2010;38(1):1-8. [Subscription required for fulltext, but free fulltext after 12 months].

15 April, 2010

Malaria medicine against pain from scorpion stings

Chloroquine is a famous antimalarial agent that has been used for many years in the treatment and prevention of malaria. Edwin Yenli and co-workers in Ghana have now published a surprising new property for this drug. Injection of Chloroquine in patients with pain after scorpion sting caused rapid (within 5 min.) pain relief in the six patient tested. The effect was much more rapid than seen with the use of traditional analgesics like Lidocaine.

The mechanism of action of Chloroquine is unknown, but it may contain a antitoxic property.

It is important to note that this is a small observational study on six patients and that more testing is probably necessary before we know for sure about the effects of Chloroquine against pain from scorpion stings.

Yenli EMT, Ziem JB, Hillah B, Wegdam HHJ. Managing scorpion stings in the tropics: Chloroquine as an effective drug. Tropical Doctor. 2010;40(2):119-20.

14 April, 2010

Liocheles nigripes in India

We know quite a lot about the fauna of India (much summed in the book "Fauna of India - Scorpionida" by Tikader & Bastawade (1983)), but the knowledge of the fauna of India is far from complete.

Maqsood Javed and co-workers have now published the first finding of Liocheles nigripes (Hemiscorpiidae) in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The paper also has a checklist of the scorpions in this state.

No abstract - see free fulltext for more info about the content.

Maqsood Javed SM, Mirza ZA, Sanap RV, Tampal F. First record of Liocheles nigripes Pocock, 1897 (Scorpiones: Hemiscorpiidae) from Andhra Pradesh with a checklist of scorpions of the state. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 2010;2(3):783-5. [Free fultext]

12 April, 2010

Sting use in prey capture

One of the conclusions from my master thesis many years ago was that sting use is probably costly for scorpions and because of this they will only use their stinger if the prey is large and/or the prey resists capture.

Now, Martin Edmunds and Richard Sibly have published a similar study with similar conclusions, using Hadrurus spadix Stahnke, 1940 (Caraboctonicae).

Since venom is costly to produce and stinging is not obligatory in prey capture for scorpions, the need to optimize use of resources suggests that venom should be reserved for prey that cannot otherwise be overpowered, (i.e., larger and/or more active prey). In accordance with these predictions, sting use by Hadrurus spadix Stahnke 1940 increased with prey size, reaching 100% once prey items were longer than the scorpion’s pedipalp patella length, and with prey activity, which we manipulated by varying prey temperature. Surprisingly, the scorpions were slower to capture less active (cooler) prey than those that exhibited higher rates of activity. We suggest this is because prey are located by vibrations in the substrate, with less active prey producing fewer vibrations.

Edmunds MC, Sibly RM. Optimal sting use in the feeding behavior of the scorpion Hadrurus spadix. Journal of Arachnology. 2010;38(1):123-5. [Subscription required for fulltext, but free fulltext after 12 months].

09 April, 2010

A new scorpion book for the hobbyist

Gerard Dupre and Nicole Lambert have recently published a scorpion book in English for those keeping and breeding scorpions in captivity.

The book has an updated list of families, genera and species and presents a review on the available data on scorpion reproduction and life history. General information about captive care is also presented.

The book can be ordered from the publisher Edizioni Wild.

Gerard Dupre & Nicole Lambert (2010)
Scorpions - Guide to Captive Care.
Edizioni Wild, Milano.
ISBN 978-88-903334-2-2

07 April, 2010

A new Mesobuthus from China

The scorpion fauna of China is growing. This time Sun, Zhu & Lourenco have described a new species from Xinjiang Province of China.

Mesobuthus bolensis Sun, Zhu & Lourenco, 2010 (Buthidae)

In the same paper they transfer Mesobuthus songi Lourenco, Qi & Zhu, 2005 to Hottentotta. The same decision was very recently published by Teruel & Rein (2010).

A new species, Mesobuthus bolensis from the Province of Xinjiang, in the Western region of China, is described. The new species can be defined by a densely granular carapace; carinae, granulation, and metasomal segment V without any dark pigmentation; carinae of carapace and pedipalp patella dispersively granular. Furthermore, restudy of the characters of Mesobuthus songi Lourenc¸o, Qi & Zhu 2005, described from the southern region of Pulan, Xizang (Tibet), China led us to accommodate this species in the genus Hottentotta Birula, as a new combination Hottentotta songi (Lourenc¸o, Qi & Zhu 2005).

Sun D, Zhu M-S, Lourenco WR. A new spcies of Mesobuthus (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Xinjiang, China, with notes on Mesobuthus songi. Journal of Arachnology. 2010;38:35-43 [Subscription required for fulltext, but free fulltext after 12 months].

Family Buthidae

06 April, 2010

A new genus and species from Kenya

Wilson Lourenco and co-workers have recently discovered a new buthid scorpion from Northern Kenya that have made them create a new genus, Riftobuthus Lourenco, Duhem & Cloudsley-Thompson, 2010.

Riftobuthus inexpectatus Lourenco, Duhem & Cloudsley-Thompson, 2010 (Buthidae)

The species name inexpectatus was chosen because the authors never expected to find such a new taxa in Kenya.

A new genus and species of peri-Saharian buthid scorpion is described on the basis of single specimen collected in the Great Rift Valley, North of Kenya. This new scorpion taxon represents yet another endemic relict element for the faunas of the peri-Saharian regions. Comments are also included on the evolution of the Sahara and peri-Saharian regions and its possible consequences on the distribution of the extant scorpion fauna.

Lourenço WR, Duhem B, Cloudsley-Thompson JL. A new relictual buthid scorpion from the region of the Great Rift Valley in Kenya (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Comptes Rendus Biologies. 2010;333(3):280-5. [Subscription required for fulltext]

Family Buthidae

01 April, 2010

A new Hottentotta from Afghanistan

A few years ago I recceived a couple of live Hottentotta from a Belgian soldier in Afghanistan. I belived these to belong to Hottentotta alticola. Last year I sent a specimen to my good friend Rolando Teruel, who discovered that these specimens actually didn't match the description of any known species. Now, I'm proud to present my first paper (together with Rolando, of course :) describing a new scorpion species:

Hottentotta flavidulus Teruel & Rein, 2010 (Buthidae)

In this paper we also transfer Mesobuthus songi Lourenco, Qi & Zhu, 2005 to Hottentotta. New name is Hottentotta songi (Lourenco, Qi & Zhu, 2005).

A new species of Hottentotta Birula, 1908 is described from the Kabul area in Afghanistan; this addition represents the fifth species of this genus confirmed for this Middle East country. It is a member of the “Indian group” of the genus (the first one recorded from Afghanistan), and is most closely related to Hottentotta jabalpurensis Kovařík, 2007, Hottentotta stockwelliHottentotta tamulus (Fabricius, 1798) and Hottentotta songi (Lourenço, Qi et Zhu, 2005) n. comb., which is herein demonstrated to be a member of Hottentotta and is thus formally transferred to this genus.

Teruel R, Rein JO. A new Hottentotta Birula, 1908 from Afghanistan, with a note on the generic position of Mesobuthus songi Lourenco, Qi & Zhu, 2005 (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2010 (94):1-8. [Free fulltext]

Family Buthidae