30 August, 2010

Two new species of Vachoniolus from Oman

Graeme Lowe has published a study of the Vachoniolus Levy et al., 1973 (Buthidae) from Oman and two new species are described:

Vachoniolus batinahensis Lowe, 2010
Vachoniolus gallagheri Lowe, 2010

Vachoniolus globimanus Levy et al., 1973 is also confirmed from Oman.

All Vachoniolus are psammophiles or ultra-psammofiles (species living on fine sand/sand dunes).

The paper has an identification key for the genus.

Study of new material collected in Oman by ultraviolet detection revealed three species of Vachoniolus, an unusual genus of psammophilous buthid scorpion distinguished by grossly swollen male pedipalp chelae. The presence of the type species, V. globimanus Levy, Amitai et Shulov, 1973, in Oman is confirmed, and two new species are described: V. batinahensis sp. nov. from the Al Batinah coastal plain north of the Al Hajar mountains, and V. gallagheri sp. nov. from desert alluvial fans south and west of the Al Hajar mountains. The number of Vachoniolus species is thereby raised to four, including V. iranus Navidpour et al., 2008, from northwestern Iran. Of these four, V. batinahensis appears the most plesiomorphic, with 7 external patellar trichobothria, femoral trichobothrium d5 either proximal or distal to e2, and complete retention of tibial spurs. It could be a relict descendent of an ancestral Vachoniolus population that evolved in the Tigris-Euphrates river drainage at a time when the Arabian Gulf was dry. A novel tarsal structure, the ‘spine comb’, is described in juvenile Vachoniolus, Apistobuthus and Odontobuthus. Possible mechanisms of sexual selection in the evolution of the enlarged male pedipalp chelae of Vachoniolus are discussed.

Lowe G. The genus Vachoniolus (Scorpiones: Buthidae) in Oman. Euscorpius. 2010(100):1-37. [Free fultext]

Family Buthidae

26 August, 2010

Revision of the granulatus group of Urophonius with a new species

Andres Ojanguren-Affilastro and co-workers have now published a revision of the granulatus group of Urophonius (Bothriuridae). One new species from Chile is described:

Urophonius granulatus Ojanguren-Affilastro, Ochoa, Mattoni & Prendini, 2010

Other species in the group are redescribed using modern standards. An identification key for the group is provided.

A systematic revision of the granulatus group of the bothriurid scorpion genus Urophonius Pocock, 1893 is presented. Urophonius pizarroi, n. sp., a new species from central Chile, is described. Urophonius granulatus Pocock, 1898, Urophonius somuncura Acosta, 2003, and Urophonius tregualemuensis Cekalovic, 1981, are redescribed using modern standards. The adult males of U. somuncura and U. tregualemuensis are described for the first time. A distribution map and key to the species of the granulatus group are provided, along with a discussion of their phenology.

Ojanguren-Affilastro AA, Ochoa JA, Mattoni CI, Prendini L. Systematic revision of the granulatus group of Urophonius Pocock, 1893 (Scorpiones, Bothriuridae), with description of a new species from Central Chile. American Museum Novitates. 2010(3695):1-40. [Free fulltext]

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for sending me this paper!

Family Bothriuridae

25 August, 2010

Parthenogenesis confirmed for Tityus stigmurus

Luc Ross has published a study confirming parthenogenesis in the medical important species Tityus stigmurus (Thorell, 1876) (Buthidae). This is important knowledge as this species has large populations in urbanized areas in several regions in Brazil. T. stigmurus is considered among the three most toxic species in the genus and the presence of parthenogenetic populations allows rapid colonization, dispersion and population growth, making this an important factor in public health.

Parthenogenesis (asexuality) or reproduction of viable offspring without fertilization by a male gamete is confirmed for the medically significant, synanthropic scorpion Tityus (Tityus) stigmurus (Thorell, 1876) (Buthidae), based on the litters of four virgin females (62.3–64.6 mm) reared in isolation in the laboratory since birth. Mature females were capable of producing initial litters of 10–21 thelytokous offspring each; 93–117 days post-maturation. While Tityus stigmurus has been historically considered a parthenogenetic species in the pertinent literature, the present contribution is the first to demonstrate and confirm thelytokous parthenogenesis in this species.

Ross LK. Confirmation of parthenogenesis in the medical significant, synthropic scorpion Tityus stigmurus (Thorell, 1876) (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Revista Iberica de Arachnologia. 2010;18:115-21.

Thanks to Luc Ross for sending me this paper!

Family Buthidae

17 August, 2010

Chaerilus borneensis restored as species

Wilson Lourenco and co-workers have looked into the Chaerilus species described by Eugene Simon from Indonesia. One of the main conclusions of the paper is that Chaerilus borneensis Simon, 1880 (Chaerilidae) is restored from previous synonymy and given species status.

Two species of Chaerilus, C. variegatus Simon, 1877 and C. borneensis Simon, 1880 are confirmed for the Indonesian islands of Java and Borneo (Kalimanian). ln the present note, revised diagnoses are proposed for both species in the light of the type material and several specimens collected in these two islands. These two species are confirmed as valid and distinct and are most certainly endemic elements respectively to Java and Borneo. Some comments are also given on the other species of Chaerilus distributed in the Indonesian islands and nearby geographic regions.

Lourenco WR, Duhem B, Leguin E-A. About the species of the genus Chaerilus Simon, 1877 (Scorpiones, Chaerilidae) described by Eugene Simon. Boletin Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa. 2010(46):335-40.

Family Chaerilidae

New taxonomical data on Centruroides limpidus

Eliezer Martin-Frias and co-workers have recently published a research note with new data on the taxonomy of Centruroides limpidus (Karsch, 1879) (Buthidae).

A female specimen of Centruroides limpidus (Karsch, 1879), collected in Catemaco, Veracruz State, Mexico, has a well developed spinoid subaculear tubercle. New data are also given on pectinal tooth variation among this scorpion population.

Martin-Frias E, de Armas LF, Olguin L. Nuevos datos taxonomico sobre Centruroides limpidus (Karsch, 1879) (Scorpiones: Buthidae) del estado de Veracruz, Mexico. Boletin Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa. 2010(46):188.

Family Buthidae

13 August, 2010

First report of Centruroides tapachulaensis from Guatemala

Luis de Armas and co-workers have recently published the first finding of Centruroides tapachulaensis (Buthidae) from Guatemala.

Centrureides tapachulaensis Hoffmann, 1932. previously known from the Mexican State of Chiapas, is recorded for the first time from Guatemala. The new records are from the southern departments of San Marcos, Solola, Suchitepéquez, Escuintla, El Progreso, Guatemala and Santa Rosa. new find raises to six the number of Centruroldes species known from Guatemala, for whose identification a dichotomic key is given.

de Armas LF, Trujillo RE, Viquez C, Agreda EO. Primer registro de Centruroides tapachulaensis Hoffmann, 1932 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) para Guatemala. Boletin Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa. 2010(46):261-6.

Family Buthidae

09 August, 2010

New species of Isometrus from Vietnam

Lourenco & Duhem reports of a new species of Isometrus (Buthidae) from Vietnam.

Isometrus deharvengi Lourenco & Duhem, 2010

The new species can only be considered as a possible troglophile, as it has been found both inside and outside caves.

A new species, Isometrus (Reddyanus) deharvengi sp. n., is described from caves of the region of Hon Chong, Kien Giang in southern Vietnam. Comments are also added about the scorpion fauna of Southeast Asia and cave dwelling buthid scorpions.

Lourenco WR, Duhem B. Buthid scorpions found in caves; a new species of Isometrus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Scorpiones, Buthidae) from southern Vietnam. C R Biol. 2010 Aug;333(8):631-6. [Subscription required for fulltext]

Family Buthidae

06 August, 2010

New species biography in SF - Grosphus grandidieri

Michiel Cozijn has again written a very informative species biography for The Scorpion Files:

Grosphus grandidieri (Kraepelin, 1900) (Buthidae) species biography

A big thanks to Michiel for another great contribution to The Scorpion Files!

Species biographies in The Scorpion Files

04 August, 2010

Bird eating scorpion

In the latest issue of the Bulletin of the British Arachnological Society, Leonard Vincent and Ty Breitman report an interesting observation of the South African scorpion, Cheloctonus jonesii Pocock, 1892 (Hemiscorpiidae) catching small birds of the species Red-Billed Quelea (Quelea quelea).

It is impossible to conclude from this observation if this scorpion regularly catch this bird as prey, or if this was a one time chance event. Hopefully, future investigations will reveal if we really do have a bird eating scorpion.

Scorpions are reported for the first time predating on birds. In Kruger National Park, South Africa, we observed, in an area of approximately 20 m2, eight Cheloctonus jonesii Pocock, 1892. Each scorpion was in its burrow and had captured, by a leg, a juvenile red-billed quelea Quelea quelea (Linnaeus, 1758).

Vincent LS, Breitman T. The scorpion Cheloctonus jonesii Pocock, 1892 (Scorpiones, Liochelidae) as a possible predator of red-billed quelea, Quelea quelea (Linnaeus, 1758). Bull Br Arach Soc. 2010;15(2):59-60.

03 August, 2010

Cleaning behavior in scorpions

Guo Jiao and the late Mingssheng Zhu have recently published a study on the cleaning beahvior in four scorpion species.

Scorpions rely predominantly on mechanosensory and chemosensory organs to guide their orientation behaviors. Once sensory organs are affected by the presence of dirt such as clay or prey bodily fluid, scorpions may display a cleaning behavior to reduce or eliminate its influence on their sensory capabilities. In the laboratory, cleaning behaviors of two buthid species, Mesobuthus eupeus (Koch, 1839) and Mesobuthus caucasicus (Nordmann, 1840), and one euscorpiid species, Scorpiops luridus Zhu Lourenço & Qi, 2005 from China, were observed before and after feeding. Moreover, two distinct cleaning behaviors in Scorpiops luridus and three in Heterometrus petersii (Thorell, 1876) (Scorpionidae) were noted for several times during daily activities. Based on these observations, we were able to conclude that different tools and the same tool with diverse applications are used for cleaning the same object in numerous scorpion species.

Jiao GB, Zhu MS. Cleaning behaviors in four scorpion species. Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins Including Tropical Diseases. 2010;16(2):375-81. [Free fulltext]