29 August, 2012

New book: Scorpions of Cuba

Rolando Teruel and Frantisek Kovarik have published a new book, Scorpions of Cuba. Here is information about the book:

A new book in English by Rolando Teruel and Frantisek Kovarik. The island of Cuba hosts the most diverse scorpion fauna per area, and this book is the result of its long-range studies. Treated are all 54 species in the form of keys, comments on morphology,  habitats and distribution maps, 636 color photos depicting preseved as well as live specimens, their mating, parental care and localities, and presented are descriptions of two new taxa - Cryptoiclus rodriguezi gen. et sp. n. (Diplocentrinae) and Microtityus pusillus sp. n.
More information on the book can be obtained at http://kovarex.com/scorpio/, where 11 selected pages give an idea about the internal arrangement and appearance of the publication. The book can be ordered directly from the second author at kovarik.scorpio@gmail.com. The price is 60 euros (75 USD), which includes postage.

I have not seen the book yet, but I'm quite sure it will be great. I will write a review of the book as soon as I get it.

23 August, 2012

A major revision of Iurus with a new genus and two new species

In 2010, Soleglad, Fet, Kovarik & yagmur published a major revision on the genus Iurus Thorell, 1876 (Iuridae) from Greece and Turkey. The same authors have now published a new phylogenetic revision based on both morphological characteristics (especially from the hemispermatophore) and DNA studies. Several additional specimens from multiple geographical locations were used in the analysis.

Iurus is now split into two genera, based on the structure of the hemispermatophore.

Iurus Thorell, 1876

Protoiurus Soleglad, Fet, Kovarik & Yagmur, 2012

The two genera have now the following composition and distribution:

Iurus dekanum (Roewer, 1943), stat. nov. (Greece: Crete)

Iurus dufoureius (Brullé, 1832) (Greece: Peloponnese and Kythira Island)

Iurus kinzelbachi Kovařík, Fet, Soleglad & Yağmur, 2010 (Turkey: Aydın and Izmir Provinces; Greece: Samos Island)

Protoiurus asiaticus (Birula, 1903), comb. nov. (Turkey: Adana, Adıyaman, Kahramanmaraş, Mersin and Niğde Provinces)

Protoiurus kadleci (Kovařík, Fet, Soleglad & Yağmur, 2010), comb. nov. (Turkey: Antalya, and Mersin Provinces)

Protoiurus kraepelini (von Ubisch, 1922), comb. nov. (Turkey: Antalya, Isparta, Konya, Karaman, Mersin, and Muğla Provinces; Greece: Megisti Island)

Protoiurus rhodiensis Soleglad, Fet, Kovařík & Yağmur, sp. nov. (Greece: Rhodes Island)

Protoiurus stathiae Soleglad, Fet, Kovařík & Yağmur, sp. nov. (Greece: Karpathos Island)

The paper, which is freely available on the Internet, has a identification key and many illustrations and distribution maps.

Iurus populations from the Aegean area are studied, including the Greek islands of Crete, Karpathos, Kythira, Rhodes, and Samos. A new genus, Protoiurus gen. nov., and two new species, Protoiurus rhodiensis sp. nov. and P. stathiae sp. nov., are described. The two genera, Iurus and Protoiurus, are diagnosed by their hemispermatophore structure; a cladistic analysis based on this structure is presented. Genus Iurus Thorell, 1876 includes three species: I. dekanum, I. dufoureius, and I. kinzelbachi; genus Protoiurus includes five species: P. asiaticus comb. nov., P. kadleci comb. nov., P. kraepelini comb. nov., P. rhodiensis sp. nov., and P. stathiae sp. nov. The type specimen of Chaerilomma dekanum Roewer, 1943 has been studied and determined to be a valid species Iurus dekanum (Roewer, 1943) representing the population from Crete. New diagnoses for subfamilies Calchinae (genus Calchas) and Iurinae (genera Iurus and Protoiurus) are provided as well as keys to the species of Iurus and Protoiurus.

Soleglad ME, Fet V, Kovarik F, Yagmur EA. Etudes on iurids, V. Further revision of Iurus thorell, 1876 (scorpiones: Iuridae), with a description of a new genus and two new species. Euscorpius. 2012 (143):1-70. [Free full text]

Family Iuridae

20 August, 2012

Luc Ross - RIP

I got the sad news this morning from The American Tarantula Society that scorpion and tarantula researcher and enthusiasts Luc Ross has passed away. I was in contact with Luc from time to time for many years, and his arachnology knowledge will be missed.

Luc wrote many articles, both popular science and scientific. Here is a list of some of his papers that I was able to find in my archives:

1.    Ross LK, van der Ende TC. Geographic distribution and faunal listing of the family Buthidae C.L. Koch, 1837 (Arachnida: Scorpiones) in the Antilles, with notes on negative human impact in the region. Forum Magazine of the American Tarantula Society. 2010;18(2):11-7.
2.    Ross LK. Observational notes on early-instar Opisthacanthus maculatus (Lourenco & Goodman, 2006) (Scorpiones: Liochelidae). Forum Magazine of the American Tarantula Society. 2009;17(4):11-3.
3.    Ross LK. A short note on the care and maintenance of Paruroctonus becki (Gertsch & Allred, 1965) (Vaejovidae) in captivity. Forum Magazine of the American Tarantula Society. 2009;17(2):8-10.
4.    Ross LK. NOTES ON GESTATION PERIODS AND LITTER SIZE IN THE ARENICOLOUS BUTHID SCORPION Leiurus quinquestriatus (EHRENBERG, 1828) (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins Including Tropical Diseases. 2009;15(2):347-52.
5.    Ross LK. FREQUENCY OF SPERMATOPHORE PRODUCTION AND REGENERATION IN THE MALES OF Tityus (Atreus) magnimanus POCOCK, 1897 (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins Including Tropical Diseases. 2009;15(1):157-62.
6.    Ross LK. NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS ON COURTSHIP AND MATING IN Tityus (Atreus) magnimanus POCOCK, 1897 (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins Including Tropical Diseases. 2009;15(1):43-53.
7.    Ross LK. First report of random larval orientation in the genus Vaejovis C.L. Koch, 1836 (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae). Boletin de la SEA. 2009;45:531-2.
8.    Ross LK. A concise introduction to Androctonus australis (Linnaeus, 1758) (Scorpiones: Buthidae) and recommended care in captivity. Forum Magazine of the American Tarantula Society. 2008;16(3):15-22.
9.    Ross LK. A jumping spider feeding on an earthworm. Peckhamia. 2008;71.1:1-2.
10.    Ross LK. Predation on Platycryptus undatus (De Geer 1778) by Parasteatoda tepidariorum (C. L. Koch 1841) (Araneae: Salticidae, Theridiidae). Peckhamia. 2008;72.1:1-.
11.    Ross LK. Observations on newborn Opisthacanthus maculatus Lourenco & Goodman, 2006 (Scorpiones, Liochelidae) from Madagascar. Revista Iberica de Aracnologia. 2008;18:123-7.
12.    Ross LK. Confirmation of parthenogenesis in the medically significant, synanthropic scorpion Tityus stigmurus (Thorell, 1876) (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Revista Iberica de Aracnologia. 2008;18:115-21.
13.    Ross LK. Brief notes on three broods of Babycurus jacksoni (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Forum Magazine of the American Tarantula Society. 2007;16(2):15-7.
14.    Ross LK. Development & care of early-instar Pandinus imperator (Scorpiones: Scorpionidae). Forum Magazine of the American Tarantula Society. 2007;16(1):24-8.
15.    Ross LK. The golden scorpion of China: Mesobuthus martensii (Karsch, 1879) (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Forum Magazine of the American Tarantula Society. 2006;15(1):11-4.
16.    Ross LK. The Cuban burrowing cockroach, Byrsotria fumigata (Guerin), as prey for captive scorpions. Forum Magazine of the American Tarantula Society. 2006;15(2):7-9.
17.    Ross LK, West RC. A listing of male theraphosids which lack tibial apophyses. Journal of the British Tarantula Society. 2005;20(3):81-.
18.    Ross LK. The striped bark scorpion Centruroides vittatus. Forum Magazine of the American Tarantula Society. 2005;14(3):92-5.
19.    Ross LK. An alternative approach to keeping Poecilotheria species in captivity. Forum Magazine of the American Tarantula Society. 2005;14(1):11-3.
20.    Ross LK. A case of autotomy and regeneration of non-functional appendages in a female theraphosid spider. Journal of the British Tarantula Society. 2005;20(4):102-4.
21.    Ross LK. On female Augacephalus breyeri. Forum Magazine of the American Tarantula Society. 2003;12(3):102-3.
22.    Ross L. Notes and observations of behavioural variance between two sibling male specimens of Hysterocrates gigas Pocock, 1897. Journal of the British Tarantula Society. 2003;19(1):22-6.
23.    Ross LK. The emperor scorpion, Pandinus imperator (C.L. Koch) in captivity. Part 1: basic care and maintenance. Journal of the British Tarantula Society. 2002;17(2):40-5.
24.    Ross LK. The emperor scorpion, Pandinus imperator (C.L. Koch) in captivity. Part II: breeding and contributions to conservation. Journal of the British Tarantula Society. 2002;17(4):108-11.
25.    Ross LK. Captive care and maintenance of arboreal baboon spiders (Stromatopelma and Heteroscodra). Journal of the British Tarantula Society. 2001;16(3):95-102.
26.    Ross LK. Introductory guidelines for terrestrial Asiatic theraphosids in captivity. Journal of the British Tarantula Society. 2001;16(4):116-9.
27.    Ross LK. New World arboreal tarantulas 101. Journal of the British Tarantula Society. 2001;17(1):6-16.
28.    Ross L. Feeding New World arboreal spiderlings. Forum Magazine of the American Tarantula Society. 1999;8(1):6-7.
29.    Ross L. The basics on keeping New World arboreal tarantulas. Forum Magazine of the American Tarantula Society. 1999;8(2):45-6.

My thoughts are with Luc's family. The family has asked that people with stories, antidotes or comments to post them on his Facebook account:



Jan Ove Rein
Editor of The Scorpion Files

16 August, 2012

A new Euscorpiops from Vietnam

A pregnant female of Euscorpiops thaomischi Kovarik, 2012 from Vietnam (Photo: Michael Misch)

Frantisek Kovarik has published a new species of Euscorpiops Vachon, 1980 (Euscorpiidae) from Vietnam.

Euscorpiops thaomischi Kovarik, 2012

The new paper has a revised identification key for the genus.

Euscorpiops thaomischi sp. n. from Vietnam is described and compared with other species of the genus Euscorpiops Vachon, 1980. A key to the species of Euscorpiops is provided. In Euscorpiops thaomischi sp. n. external trichobothria on the patella number 18 (5 eb, 2 esb, 2 em, 4 est, 5 et) and ventral trichobothria on the patella number 11 or 12. Pedipalp fingers of both sexes are flexed without sexual dimorphism.

Kovarik F. Euscorpiops thaomischi sp. n. from Vietnam and a key to species of the genus (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae: Scorpiopinae). Euscorpius. 2012(142):1-8. [Free full text]

Thanks to Michael Misch for sharing his pictures with The scorpion Files and to Michael and Thao Ho for sharing their scorpion findings with scorpion scientists and thereby increasing our knowledge of the scorpion fauna of the world.

Family Euscorpiidae

14 August, 2012

A new humiculous scorpion in the genus Ananteris from French Guiana

There are some very small scorpions dwelling in the humus layer in some areas with a very cryptozoic behavior. These are often called humiculous scorpions. Only a few species are known globally from Africa, Madagascar and tropical America. In a forthcoming paper Wilson Lourenco is describing a new species in the genus Ananteris Thorell, 1891 (Buthidae) from French Guiana.

Ananteris intermedia Lourenco, 2012

A new species of humicolous buthid scorpion is described on the basis of a single male specimen collected in a rainforest in French Guiana. The collection was performed by extraction with the use of Winkler methods. New considerations about the ecology and biogeography of micro-scorpions of the ‘Ananteris group’ (sensu subfamily Ananterinae Pocock, 1900), are proposed in relation to their possible evolution from endogeous to epygean environments.

Lourenço WR. Humiculous scorpions: On the genera Ananteris Thorell, 1891 and Microananteris Lourenço, 2004 (Scorpiones: Buthidae), with the description of a new species from French Guiana. Comptes Rendus Biologies. 2012;In Press.doi: 10.1016/j.crvi.2012.06.005 [Subscription required for full text]

Family Buthidae

09 August, 2012

An updated review on scorpion envenomation

Bawaskar & Bawaskar have recently published an updated review on scorpion venom, envenomation and treatment. The paper has a special emphasis on Indian scorpionism, but observations and studies from other parts of the world is also presented.

Please note that the scorpion taxonomy in the paper is not up to date for all taxa mentioned (e.g. Mesobuthus tamulus is used for Hottentotta tamulus and Palamneus gravimanus is used for Heterometrus gravimanus).

Scorpion envenomation is an important public health hazard in tropical and sub-tropical regions. Envenomation by scorpions can result in a wide range of clinical effects, including, cardiotoxicity, neurotoxicity and respiratory dysfunction. Out of 1500 scorpion species known to exist, about 30 are of medical importance. Although a variety of different scorpion species exist, majority of them produce similar cardiovascular effects. Scientists and clinicians have studied patho physiology of scorpion envenomation by critical observations of clinical, neurotransmitters studies, radioisotope studies, echocardiography and haemodynamic patterns. Regimen including scorpion antivenom, vasodilators, intensive care management have been tried to alleviate the systemic effects of envenoming. In spite of advances in patho-physiology and therapy the mortality remains high in rural areas due to lack of access to medical facilities, moreover the medical attendee from developing tropical countries may not be aware of the advances in the treatment of scorpion sting. Since the advent of scorpion Antivenom, vasodilators, dobutamine and intensive care facilities, the fatality due to severe scorpion sting has been significantly reduced in areas where these treatment modalities are used.

Bawaskar HS, Bawaskar PH. Scorpion sting: update. J Assoc Physicians India. 2012;60:46-55. [Free full text]

08 August, 2012

Ecology of Microtityus jaumei in Cuba

Franklyn Cala-Riquelme and Marco Colombo have published a study on the ecology of the small scorpion Microtityus jaumei Armas, 1974 (Buthidae) in Sierra de Canasta in Cuba.

An assessment of the population dynamics of Microtityus jaumei Armas (Scorpiones: Buthidae) on the slopes south of Sierra de Canasta, Guantánamo Province, Cuba show an increase in activity over the year (≤ 0.05). The activity peak is related to the reproductive period from June to November. The abundance of scorpions was significantly related to density of the canopy and thickness of the substrate.

Cala-Riquelme F, Colombo M. Ecology of the scorpion, Microtityus jaumei in Sierra de Canasta, Cuba. Journal of Insect Science (Tucson). 2011;11(Article 86):1-10. [Free full text]

Evidence of female pheromonal signaling in Paruroctonus utahensis

Those of us that have kept scorpions of both sexes have seen how males sometimes react quite strongly  when touching substrate that previously has been visited by a female. Matthew Taylor and co-workers have now published an interesting study presenting evidence for the existence of a highly stable female pheromone in Paruroctonus utahensis (Williams, 1968) (Vaejovidae) with low polarity. This is an important step in our understanding of how chemical communication guides male scorpion mate-searching behavior.

Behavioral evidence suggests that, in some scorpion species, females deposit a pheromone that attracts mates. To date, however, no pheromone has been identified. The goal of our study was to isolate a pheromone from female desert grassland scorpions, Paruroctonus utahensis (Williams, 1968) (Scorpiones:Vaejovidae). We took in situ cuticular washes from female P. utahensis in a chloroform-methanol solution; the extract stratified into aqueous and organic layers. In controlled laboratory experiments, most males exposed to female extract (aqueous and organic fractions combined) exhibited pre-courtship behavior, whereas those exposed to the solvent control (2:1 chloroform-methanol) showed no change in behavior. When extract fractions were separately tested, males initiated pre-courtship behavior when exposed to the organic fraction but not when exposed to the aqueous fraction. These data are the first experimental evidence of a  female pheromone in this species and are important early steps toward characterizing any scorpion pheromone.

Taylor MS, Cosper CR, Gaffin DD. Behavioral evidence of pheromonal signaling in desert grassland scorpions Paruroctonus utahensis. J Arachnol. 2012;40(2):240-4. [Free full text]

03 August, 2012

The impact of military bases on scorpion populations in Afghanistan

Alexander Stewart has published an unusual, but very interesting article in the latest issue of The Journal of Arachnology. The aim of the paper is to see how coalition military bases have impacted on local scorpion populations (density and diversity), and it seems that this actually is the case for some species.

Coalition military bases in Afghanistan are increasing in area, infrastructure and population due to increased military efforts. From 2004 to 2010, a 40-hectare base in Ghazni, Afghanistan transitioned from a montane shrubland to a small, modern ‘‘village.’’ This shift comprised an over 50-fold increase in hardcover and a 20-fold increase in the human population. I searched the base with UV light (n 5 43.6 h) for scorpions, especially Mesobuthus Vachon 1950, an established, opportunistic scorpion found in Ghazni City, 5 km north. I completed my searches along two tracks (. 5 km total length) and considered all habitats for this scorpion. Anthropogenic microhabitats comprised concrete walls, concrete barriers, gabions or sandbags, each in contact with a dirt or gravel substrate (eight possible); all were thermally appealing (mean 5 2.3uC warmer than ambient temperature). Despite the population of Mesobuthus caucasicus Nordmann 1840 in Ghazni City and the increase in thermally attractive microhabitats on the base, I found no scorpions. I propose that the rapid anthropogenic change due to base improvements outpaces the capacity of this scorpion to disperse to a new, albeit satisfactory, environment. Here, I report my observations of scorpion diversity and abundance in east-central Afghanistan and the Hindu Kush Mountains, with a focus on the impact of increasing anthropogenic change upon the environment.

Stewart AK. Military base growth in Afghanistan: a threat to scorpion populations? J Arachnol. 2012;40(2):245-8. [Free full text]

01 August, 2012

A new Centruroides species from San Andres Island, Columbia

Luis de Armas and co-workers have described a new species of Centruroides Marx, 1890 (Buthidae) from the island of San Andres, Columbia.

Centruroides sanandres Armas, Sarmiento & Florez, 2012

The distribution of the genus Centruroides in Columbia is also discussed and the presence of C. gracilis in Columbia (Latreille, 1804) is confirmed. A identification key for the genus in Colombia is given.

A new species of the genus Centruroides Marx, 1890 is described fram San Andres Island, and the presence in Colombia of C. gracilis (Latreille, 1804), possibly by introduction, is confirmed. New data on C. margaritatus (Gervais, 1841) and C. edwardsii (Gervais, 1843) are given, and a key is provided for the identitication of the four Colombian species belonging to this genus.

de Armas LF, Sarmiento DL, Florez D E. Composicion de genero Centruroides Marx, 1890 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) en Colombia, con la descripcion de una nueva especie. Boletin de la SEA. 2012(50):105-14.

Family Buthidae