31 August, 2011

Distribution of dangerous scorpions in Brazilian Amazonia

It is well known that the scorpion fauna of South America and Brazil hosts scorpions of medical importance, particularly in the genus Tityus C. L. Koch, 1836 (Buthidae). The number of species listed as potential dangerous in the medical literature has been (and is) quite low. This is problematic as the number of new species in this region has increased considerably in the last four decades. It is highly probable that the number of species of medical importance is higher than previously suggested.

Wilson Lourenco address this problem in a recently published article. Here he presents a list of potential dangerous species in the genus Tityus (subgenus Atreus) in Brazilian Amazonas and their distribution. Information on how to identify the different species is also given.

A geographical survey is proposed to thirteen species of the genus Tityus C. L. Koch, subgenus Atreus Gervais, distributed in Brazilian Amazonia. Since several of these species are of medical importance, their diagnoses are proposed and geographical distribution is discussed.

Lourenco WR. The distribution of noxious species of scorpions in Brazilian Amazonia: the genus Tityus C. L. Koch, 1836, subgenus Atreus gervais, 1843 (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Entomol Mitt Zool Mus Hamburg. 2011;15(185):287-301.

Thanks to professor Lourenco for sending me this paper!

29 August, 2011

A new species of Hemiscorpius from Somaliland (Somalia)

Kovarik & Mazuch have published a paper presenting a new species of Hemiscorpius Peters, 1861 (Hemiscorpiidae) from Somaliland (Somalia):

Hemiscorpius novaki Kovarik & Mazuch, 2011

Hemiscorpius novaki sp. n. from Somaliland is described and compared with other African species of the genus. The new species is characterized chiefly by the total length of 40–46 mm; yellow to yellowish-brown color with pedipalp fingers reddish brown to black, darker than the chela; slightly longer metasoma in the male than in the female. These characters distinguish H. novaki sp. n. from H. somalicus Lourenço, 2011. The third African species of the genus, H. tellinii Borelli, 1904, is known only from the female holotype, which differs from females of H. novaki sp. n. in having much less pronounced granulation of dorsal carinae on the first through fourth metasomal segments and in shape of the genital operculum.

Kovarik F, Mazuch T. Hemiscorpius novaki sp. n. from Somaliland (Scorpiones: Hemiscorpiidae). Euscorpius. 2011(126):1-9. [Free fulltext]

Thanks to Tomas Mazuch for sending me the paper!

Family Hemiscorpiidae

20 August, 2011

An update on the Chinese Scorpiops

Zhi-Young Di and co-workers have published an update on the status of Scorpiops Peters, 1861 (Euscorpiidae) in China and an updated identification key for the genus in China.

The genus Scorpiops (Euscorpiidae) is recorded for the first time in Central China. Two immature specimens of a form belonging to Scorpiops hardwickii (Gervais, 1843) “complex” were collected from Huzhaoshan Mountains in Hubei Province. A discussion of Chinese species of genus Scorpiops is provided, as well as a key of Scorpiops from China.

Di Z-Y, He Y-W, Cao Z-J, Wu Y-L, Li W-X. The first record of the family Euscorpiidae (Arachnida: Scorpiones) from Central China, with a key of Chinese species of the genus Scorpiops. Euscorpius. 2011(118):1-9. [Free fulltext]


15 August, 2011

Growth and longevity in Nebo hierochonticus

Professor M. R. Warburg has published an interesting article where he discuss the problems of researching growth and longevity in scorpions. In the paper he presents results of own long term studies of Nebo hierochonticus Simon, 1872 (Scorpionidae) in captivity. Interestingly, female N. hierochonticus can at least reach 18 years (and maybe longer because the specimens was alive when Warburg studies were ended).

During a long-term study of scorpions, it was possible to follow for 15 years the growth (increase in mass) in the laboratory of adult Nebo hierochonticus (Simon, 1875). The groth rate is highest during the first years (0.75 g/yr), dropping with age to 0.1 g/yr. During this long captivity period it also became possible to study their longevity. Longevity of two females was 15 and 18 years. Problems involved in the various methods used to assess growth and to estimate longevity are discussed.

Warburg MR. Growth and longevity of Nebo hierochonticus in the laboratory: a long term study (Scorpiones, Diplocentridae). Bull Br Arach Soc. 2011;15(5):168-72.

14 August, 2011

Scorpions in ancient Egypt

For those interested in scorpions in myths and history, Hisham El-Hennaway has written an excellent paper summing up what is known about scorpions in ancient Egypt. The paper is illustrated with many great pictures. Enjoy!

The ancient Egyptians knew the scorpion and its toxicity, and venerated it since pre-dynastic era. They used the scorpion as a king's name, a name of a nome (county), and a symbol to their goddess, Serqet, that protects the body and the viscera of the dead, and that accompanies them in their journey to the afterlife. They had medical prescriptions and magical spells to heal the stings. Since the 5th dynasty, the title of a “Follower of Serket” was given to clever physicians. Scorpions are most famously depicted on Horus Cippus, a talisman featuring Horus the Child holding in his hands figures of serpents, scorpions, and dangerous animals. A drawing of a scorpion with two metasomas was found in the tomb of the pharaoh Seti I (1290–1279 BC), probably the first record of this abnormality, more than 13 centuries before Pliny the Elder.

El-Hennawy H, K. Scorpions in ancient Egypt. Euscorpius. 2011(119):1-12. [Free fulltext]

11 August, 2011

A new Diplocentrus from Mexico

Contreras-Felix and Santibanez-Lopez have described a new species in Diplocentrus Peters, 1861 from Jalisco, Mexico.

Diplocentrus bicolor Contreras-Felix & Santibanez-Lopez, 2011 (Scorpionidae)

Diplocentrus bicolor sp. n. from Huejuquilla el Alto, in northern Jalisco and two nearby localities in Zacatecas is described. It is compared to its geographically closer species from Zacatecas, Aguascalientes and Nayarit. A map with its known distribution is provided.

Contreras-Felix G, Santibanez-Lopez CE. Diplocentrus bicolor sp. n. (Scorpiones: Diplocentridae) from Jalisco, Mexico. Zootaxa. 2011(2992):61-8. [free fulltext?]

Thanks to dr. Santibanez-Lopez for sending me this paper!

Family Scorpionidae

10 August, 2011

Jean-Henri Fabre and Buthus occitanus

Marco Colombo has written a very interesting article on the french naturalist Jean-Henri Fabre and his contributions to the knowledge of the Languedoc Yellow Scorpion, Buthus occitanus (Amoreuxi, 1789).

Jean-Henri Casimir Fabre (1823–1915) has probably been one of the most important entomologists of the world in the last two centuries, leaving to posterity a huge amount of manuscripts and books. The Languedoc yellow scorpion, Buthus occitanus (Amoreaux, 1789), has been one of his objects of study: many of its behaviours, including the famous “promenade a deux”, have been described by the careful eye of the French entomologist, giving an interesting contribution to modern scorpiology.

Colombo M. On Fabre's traces: an important contributor to the knowledge of Buthus occitanus (Amoreux, 1789). Euscorpius. 2011(117):1-10. [Free fulltext]

By the way, Marco is a great wildlife photographer. Check out his gallery page.

08 August, 2011

Orthochirus in Africa and three new species

Wilson Lourenco and Elise-Anne Leguin have studied Orthochirus Karsch, 1891 (Buthidae) material from Africa and have revised the descriptions for O. aristidis (Simon, 1882) and O. innesi Simon, 1910. In addition, they have described three new species in the genus from northern Africa.

Orthochirus atarensis Lourenco & Leguin, 2011 (Mauritania)
Orthochirus cloudsleythompsoni Lourenco & Leguin, 2011 (Morocco)
Orthochirus tassili Lourenco & Leguin, 2011 (Algeria)

A key to the five African species of Orthochirus is given.

New considerations are proposed regarding the African species of the genus Orthochirus Karsch, 1891. Two species, Orthochirus aristidis (Simon, 1882) and Orthochirus innesi Simon, 1910 have been the subject of several publications in the past decades; however, doubts remain about their exact identity and range of geographical distribution. In this note, their taxonomic status is reinvestigated. The type material is revised and the lectotype and paralectotypes are designated for O. aristidis. Revised diagnoses and illustrations are proposed for both species, and these are confirmed as valid. Three new species are described from Algeria, Morocco, and Mauritania. The total number of African species is raised to five.

Lourenco WR, Leguin E-A. Further considerations on the species of the genus Orthochirus Karsch, 1891 from Africa, with description of three new species (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius 2011:1-19. [Free fulltext]

Family Buthidae

“SCORPIONS 2011” John L. Cloudsley-Thompson 90th Birthday Commemorative Volume

The online Journal Euscorpius is celebrating scorpionology's grand old man John L. Cloudsley-Thompson's 90th Birthday by publishing a special volume with 10 articles by 19 authors. I'm going to report the results of the research articles in the days to come, but those who can not wait can click on the link below and browse down issues 116-125 in the bottom of the page.


04 August, 2011

A new Buthus from Morocco

Touloun & Boumezzough have described a new species of Buthus Leach, 1815 (Buthidae) from Morocco:

Buthus boumalenii Touloun & Boumezzough, 2011

A new species of the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 (Scorpiones, Buthidae) belonging to the "Buthus occitanus” complex is described from the region of Boumalene in Morocco. The description of Buthus boumalenii sp. n. raises the total number of Buthus species known from Morocco to fourteen and confirms that this complex is an isolated group of species, "the Atlas group".

Touloun O, Boumezzough A. Une nouvelle espece du genre Buthus Leach, 1815 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) du Maroc. Boletin de la SEA. 2011(48):183-7.

Family Buthidae

03 August, 2011

A new Centruroides from Honduras

Rolando Teruel has recently described a new Centruroides (Buthidae) from Honduras:

Centruroides hirsuticauda Teruel, 2011

A identification key for the genus in Honduras is provided.

A new species of the genus Centruroides Marx 1890 is herein described from the west-central region of Honduras, which has been previously confused with Centruroides margaritatus (Gervais 1841). This species can be distinguished from the remaining members of the "margariatus" group by its relatively small size and the abundant metasomal setation, among other features. A key for the identification of the four Honduran members of this group is included.

Teruel R. Una nueva especie de Centruroides Marx 1890 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) de Honduras, America Central. Boletin de la SEA. 2011(48):61-6.

Family Buthidae