23 December, 2013

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

I wish you alle a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

See you all in 2014 with new and interesting scorpion news.

Best wishes

Jan Ove Rein
Editor of The Scorpion Files

19 December, 2013

The evolution of scorpion venom

An artcile on the origin and diversification of scorpion venom has been recently published by Kartik Sunagar and co-workers.
All scorpions possess venom and and a few species have venom which can cause death or serious symptoms in humans. The venom of one species is a cocktail of different toxins and there is such a cocktail for each scorpion species. But how did these different venoms evolve?

Kartik Sunagar and co-workers have now published a study on scorpion venom evolution. Lacking biochemistry and molecular biology in my education this article is a little over my head, so I just refer to the abstract for the conclusions :)

Abstract:
The episodic nature of natural selection and the accumulation of extreme sequence divergence in venom-encoding genes over long periods of evolutionary time can obscure the signature of positive Darwinian selection. Recognition of the true biocomplexity is further hampered by the limited taxon selection, with easy to obtain or medically important species typically being the subject of intense venom research, relative to the actual taxonomical diversity in nature. This holds true for scorpions, which are one of the most ancient terrestrial venomous animal lineages. The family Buthidae that includes all the medically significant species has been intensely investigated around the globe, while almost completely ignoring the remaining non-buthid families. Australian scorpion lineages, for instance, have been completely neglected, with only a single scorpion species (Urodacus yaschenkoi) having its venom transcriptome sequenced. Hence, the lack of venom composition and toxin sequence information from an entire continent’s worth of scorpions has impeded our understanding of the molecular evolution of scorpion venom. The molecular origin, phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary histories of most scorpion toxin scaffolds remain enigmatic. In this study, we have sequenced venom gland transcriptomes of a wide taxonomical diversity of scorpions from Australia, including buthid and non-buthid representatives. Using state-of-art molecular evolutionary analyses, we show that a majority of CSα/β toxin scaffolds have experienced episodic influence of positive selection, while most non-CSα/β linear toxins evolve under the extreme influence of negative selection. For the first time, we have unraveled the molecular origin of the major scorpion toxin scaffolds, such as scorpion venom single von Willebrand factor C-domain peptides (SV-SVC), inhibitor cystine knot (ICK), disulphide-directed beta-hairpin (DDH), bradykinin potentiating peptides (BPP), linear non-disulphide bridged peptides and antimicrobial peptides (AMP). We have thus demonstrated that even neglected lineages of scorpions are a rich pool of novel biochemical components, which have evolved over millions of years to target specific ion channels in prey animals, and as a result, possess tremendous implications in therapeutics.

Reference:
Sunagar K, Undheim E, Chan A, Koludarov I, Muñoz-Gómez S, Antunes A, et al. Evolution Stings: The Origin and Diversification of Scorpion Toxin Peptide Scaffolds. Toxins. 2013;5(12):2456-87. [Free full text]

Thanks to Bryan Fry for sending me this article!

A new Pseudouroctonus from Nevada, USA

A new species of Pseudouroctonus has been found in Spring Mountains in Nevada, USA.

In the last years there have been published several new species from isolated mountain areas in the USA. Amanda Tate and co-workers have now published a new species of Pseudouroctonus Stahnke, 1974 (Vaejovidae) from the Spring Mountains in Nevada, USA.

Pseudouroctonus peccatum Tate, Riddle, Soleglad & Graham, 2013

Abstract:
A new scorpion species is described from the Spring Mountain Range near Las Vegas, Nevada. The new species appears to be geographically isolated from other closely related species of Uroctonites Williams & Savary and Pseudouroctonus Stahnke. We tentatively place the new species in Pseudouroctonus and provide detailed descriptions and illustrations of type material. We compare the new species to 17 congeneric taxa, briefly discuss the taxonomic history of Pseudouroctonus, and provide DNA barcodes for two paratypes to assist ongoing research on the systematics of family Vaejovidae.


Reference:
Tate A, Riddle R, Soleglad M, Graham M. Pseudouroctonus peccatum, a new scorpion from the Spring Mountains near "Sin City," Nevada (Scorpiones, Vaejovidae). ZooKeys. 2013;364:29-45. [Free full text]

Thanks to Matthew Graham for sending me this article!

Family Vaejovidae

17 December, 2013

A major redefinition and generic revision of the North American vaejovid scorpion subfamily Syntropinae is published

A major revision of the subfamily Syntropinae in Vaejovidae is published by Edmundo Gonzalez-Santillan and Lorenzo Prendini.
A huge paper revising the subfamily Syntropinae in Vaejovidae is recently published. This is a very extensive work, making many changes within the family Vaejovidae. Six new genera are described and one genus is abolished (synonymized). Also, I count six new species (many restored from subspecies or synonymization status). Because of the complexity of this paper I refer to the abstract below for a summary of the main taxonomical conclusions. The changes have been included in The Scorpion Files. Details can also be found in The Scorpion Files' Vaejovidae updates file.

Abstract:
The endemic North American vaejovid scorpion subfamily Syntropinae Kraepelin, 1905, is redefined and its component genera revised, based on a simultaneous phylogenetic analysis of 250 morphological characters and 4221 aligned DNA nucleotides from three mitochondrial and two nuclear gene markers. Tribe Stahnkeini Soleglad and Fet, 2006, is removed from Syntropinae. Tribe Paravaejovini Soleglad and Fet, 2008, and subtribe Thorelliina Soleglad and Fet, 2008, are abolished: Paravaejovini Soleglad and Fet, 2008 5 Syntropinae Kraepelin, 1905, syn. nov.; Thorelliina Soleglad and Fet, 2008 5 Syntropinae Kraepelin, 1905, syn. nov. Eleven genera, six newly described, are recognized within Syntropinae: Balsateres, gen. nov.; Chihuahuanus, gen. nov.; Kochius Soleglad and Fet, 2008; Konetontli, gen. nov.; Kuarapu Francke and Ponce-Saavedra, 2010; Maaykuyak, gen. nov.; Mesomexovis, gen. nov.; Paravaejovis Williams, 1980; Syntropis Kraepelin, 1900; Thorellius Soleglad and Fet, 2008; Vizcaino, gen. nov. Hoffmannius Soleglad and Fet, 2008, is abolished: Hoffmannius Soleglad and Fet, 2008 5 Paravaejovis Williams, 1980, syn. nov. Lissovaejovis Ponce-Saavedra and Beutelspacher, 2001 [nomen nudum] 5 Paravaejovis Williams, 1980, syn. nov. Ten species, formerly placed in Hoffmannius, are transferred to Paravaejovis: Paravaejovis confusus (Stahnke, 1940), comb. nov.; Paravaejovis diazi (Williams, 1970), comb. nov.; Paravaejovis eusthenura (Wood, 1863), comb. nov.; Paravaejovis flavus (Banks, 1900), comb. nov. [nomen dubium]; Paravaejovis galbus (Williams, 1970), comb. nov.; Paravaejovis gravicaudus (Williams, 1970), comb. nov.; Paravaejovis hoffmanni (Williams, 1970), comb. nov.; Paravaejovis puritanus (Gertsch, 1958), comb. nov.; Paravaejovis spinigerus (Wood, 1863), comb. nov.; Paravaejovis waeringi (Williams, 1970), comb. nov. Paravaejovis schwenkmeyeri (Williams, 1970), comb. nov., is removed from synonymy. Four species, formerly placed in Kochius, are transferred to Chihuahuanus, gen. nov.: Chihuahuanus cazieri (Williams, 1968), comb. nov.; Chihuahuanus crassimanus (Pocock, 1898), comb. nov.; Chihuahuanus kovariki (Soleglad and Fet, 2008), comb. nov.; Chihuahuanus russelli (Williams, 1971), comb. nov. Four species, formerly placed in Kochius, Thorellius, or Vaejovis C.L. Koch, 1836, are transferred to Mesomexovis, gen. nov.: Mesomexovis atenango (Francke and Gonza´ lez-Santilla´n, 2007), comb. nov.; Mesomexovis oaxaca (Santiba´n˜ ez-Lo´pez and Sissom, 2010), comb. nov.; Mesomexovis occidentalis (Hoffmann, 1931), comb. nov.; Mesomexovis subcristatus (Pocock, 1898), comb. nov. Mesomexovis variegatus (Pocock, 1898), comb. nov., is reinstated to its original rank as species. Four subspecies are newly elevated to species: Kochius barbatus (Williams, 1971), stat. nov.; Kochius cerralvensis (Williams, 1971), stat. nov.; Kochius villosus (Williams, 1971), stat. nov.; Mesomexovis spadix (Hoffmann, 1931), comb. et stat. nov. Three subspecies are synonymized: Vaejovis diazi transmontanus Williams, 1970 5 Paravaejovis diazi (Williams, 1970), syn. nov.; Vaejovis bruneus loretoensis Williams, 1971 5 Kochius villosus (Williams, 1971), syn. nov.; Vaejovis hoffmanni fuscus Williams, 1970 5 Paravaejovis hoffmanni (Williams, 1970), syn. nov.

Reference:
Gonzalez-Santillan E, Prendini L. Redefinition and generic revision of the North American vaejovid scorpion subfamily Syntropinae Kraepelin, 1905, with descriptions of six new genera. Bulletin of The American Museum of Natural History. 2013 (382):1-71. [Free full text]

Thanks to Edmundo Gonzalez-Santillan for informing me about his impressive work!

Family Vaejovidae

12 December, 2013

Rhopalurus feeding on large centipedes

A Cuban Rhopalurus feeding on a Scolopendra centipede.
Centipedes and scorpions are top invertebrate predators in many ecosystems and will prey on each other when the opportunity arises. Size and the venom potency of the involved species are probably key in determinating the outcome of these encounters.  Alejandro Barro and Tamara Cherva has published a research note describing Rhopalurus predation on Scolopendra centipedes in Cuba.

Abstract:
No abstract.

Reference:
Barro A, Cherva T. Depredación de Scolopendra alternans (Chilopoda: Scolopendromorpha) por Rhopalurus junceus (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Revista Cubana de Ciencias Biologicas. 2013;2(2):77-8.[Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Rolando Teruel for sending me this paper.

New data on the distribution of Rhopalurus in the Caribbean

New reccords of Rhopalurus laticauda in the southern Caribbean islands is presented in a recently published study.
Rolando Teruel and Michiel Cozijn have recently published a paper on the distribution of the buthid genus Rhopalurus in the southern Caribbean islands.

Abstract:
In the present note, we report on the occurrence of the genus Rhopalurus Thorell, 1898, in the southern Caribbean islands offshore Venezuela. The only published records are from Isla Margarita and Los Roques, but our study of new specimens (including an important collection assembled by the late Pieter Wagenaar Hummelinck) proved this genus to be widely distributed along several archipelagos such as Los Testigos, Los Frailes, and Los Hermanos, as well as the larger, separate islands of Margarita, Cubagua, La Tortuga, and Coche. These specimens are tentatively referred here to Rhopalurus laticauda Thorell, 1876, but their precise identity still warrants further study.

Reference:
Teruel R, Cozijn MAC. On the distribution of the genus Rhopalurus Thorell, 1876 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) in the southern Caribbean islands. Euscorpius. 2013 (179):1-7. [Free full text]

11 December, 2013

Phylogeography of the highly complex genus Buthus

Phylogenetic relationships of Buthus in a recently published study in African Zoology.
The genus Buthus Leach, 1815 is probably one of the most speciose, widespread and taxonomical complex taxa in the family Buthidae. In recent years, many species have been described, but the taxonomic and phylogenetic status of the genus is far from resolved.

Diana Pedroso and co-workers have now published an extensive phylogeographic analysis of the genus Buthus based on genetic studies. One conclusion of this study is that there is a lack of congruence between morphologically defines species and the genetic lineages identified in this study. This is a major hindrance in the study of the complex Buthus genus.

Abstract:
The distribution of the scorpion genus Buthus Leach, 1815 includes southwestern Europe, North and Central Africa and extends east towards the Arabian Peninsula. Phylogenetic relationships within the genus are complex and remain partially unresolved despite several previous assessments. A set of three mitochondrial markers, 12s, 16s and CO1, revealed the presence of five well-supported clades: three clades endemic to Morocco, one clade distributed across the Maghreb region and southwestern Europe and one endemic to Tunisia and Algeria. Morocco presents high levels of endemism and appears to be the centre of diversity for the genus. Further differentiation was found within the clade distributed in Tunisia and Algeria, with the discovery of new phylogenetic patterns. In addition, a phylogeny combining all published CO1 data for the genus emphasized the ongoing complex situation regarding the genus’ taxonomy. Highly similar sequences were attributed to different species by different authors throughout the tree, and no differentiated monophyletic species could be resolved. This lack of congruence between morphologically defined species and genetic lineages is a major hindrance in the study of the highly complex genus Buthus.

Reference:
Pedroso D, Sousa P, Harris DJ, Van der meijden A. Phylogeography of Buthus Leach, 1815 (Scorpiones: Buthidae): a multigene molecular approach reveals a further complex evolutionary history in the Maghreb. African Zoology. 2013;48(2):298-308. [Free full text]

Thanks to Arie Van der Meijden for sending me his paper!

A new species of Babycurus from northern Cameroon

The genus Babycurus from Western Africa is one of the most complex buthid genera in that region. A new species is now described from northern Cameroon.

Wilson Lourenco has recently published a description of a new species of Babycurus Karsch, 1886 (Buthidae) from northern Cameroon.

Babycurus prudenti Lourenco, 2013

Abstract:
A new scorpion species, Babycurus prudenti sp. n., is described from the region of Garoua in the north of Cameroon. The new species is characterized by a smaller total body size as compared to the other species of the genus, and a general golden yellow to orange-testaceous coloration with some very diffuse fuscosity. This species, a possible endemic element from the savannah formation of northern Cameroon, provides further evidence regarding the unsuspected scorpion richness of this region.

Reference:
Lourenco W. A new species of Babycurus Karsch, 1886 from northern Cameroon (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Arthropoda Selecta. 2013;22(4):343-8.

Thanks to professor Lourenco for sending me his paper!

Family Buthidae

09 December, 2013

A new species of Tityus from Suriname and Guyana

Tityus carolineae is a new species from Suriname and Guyana.
Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers have recently described a new species of Tityus C. L. Koch, 1836 (Buthidae) from Suriname and Guyana.

Tityus carolineae Kovarik, Teruel, Cozijn & Seiter, 2013

Abstract:
Tityus carolineae sp. n. from Suriname and Guyana is described and compared with other species of the "Tityus metuendus" complex, inside the "Tityus asthenes" group. Tityus carolineae sp. n. is the largest species of this com-plex, with total length of males 82–100 mm.

Reference:
Kovarik F, Teruel R, Cozijn MAC, Seiter M. Tityus carolineae sp. n. from Suriname and Guyana (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2013 (178):1-9. [Free full text]

Family Buthidae

05 December, 2013

On the endemic Galapagos scorpion Centruroides exsul

The holotype of the endemic Galapagos scorpion Centruroides exsul (Meise, 1933).
Markus Lambertz has recently published a paper discussing the publication date for the endemic Galapagos scorpion Centruroides exsul (Meise, 1933) (Buthidae). Based on his investigations, he concludes that this species was described in 1933 and not in 1934 as previously thought.

Interestingly for me, this is one of probably very few scorpions that have been published in a Norwegian journal (and it was also collected by a Norwegian zoologist).

Abstract:
There are conflicting statements in the literature about the date and organ of publication for the endemic Gala´pagos scorpion Centruroides exsul (Scorpiones: Buthidae) by Wilhelm Meise. In contrast to what the current authoritative taxonomic references suggest, this species was not described in 1934 but rather in 1933. Before the article containing the description finally was included in Volume 74 of the Norwegian journal Nyt Magazin for Naturvidenskaberne in 1934, it was distributed as a preprint in the form of Volume 39 of the separately issued series Meddelelser fra det Zoologiske Museum, Oslo in 1933. The latter publication, in full agreement with Article 21.8 of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, has priority over the former and consequently has to be referred to when citing the original taxonomic reference. The present contribution furthermore reviews the distribution of this species and, due to loss and mislabeling, revises its type material.

Reference:
Lambertz M. On the date and organ of publication for the endemic Galápagos scorpion Centruroides exsul (Scorpiones: Buthidae) by Wilhelm Meise, with a revision of its distribution and type material. Journal of Arachnology. 2013;41(3):412-4. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Michael Seiter and Gerard Dupre for sending me this paper!

Family Buthidae

03 December, 2013

An updated review of the scorpions of Saudi Arabia

A new review of the scorpions of Saudi Arabia is published.
Abdulrahman Khazim Al-Asmari and co-workers have recently published a review of the scorpions of Saudi Arabia. Distribution in major regions are listed. Most species are illustrated with color pictures.

Abstract:
The scorpions of Saudi Arabia were surveyed in the major regions of Jazan, Al-Medina, Al-Baha, Hail, and Riyadh, in addition to nine provinces surveyed more superficially. Jazan (1,440 specimens) had 10 buthids and two scorpionid species and subspecies; Al-Medina (867) had seven buthid and two scorpionid species and subspecies, one of which, the scorpionid Scorpio maurus (palmatus?), needs further confirmation of identity. The Al-Baha region (2421 specimens) contained five buthids and two scorpionid species and subspecies; Hail (1,921) had eight buthid and two scorpionid species and subspecies - the most common subspecies here was Scorpio maurus kruglovi. Androctonus crassicauda and Leiurus quinquestriatus were only found in Hail and Al-Baha; Androctonus bicolor was newly recorded in Hail and Riyadh. Riyadh (4,164 specimens) had nine buthid, one scorpionid and at least two hemiscorpiid species and subspecies. The Saudi fauna was found to comprise at least 28 species and subspecies of the families Buthidae, Scorpionidae and Hemiscorpiidae.

Reference:
Al-Asmari AK, Al-Saif, Abdulaziz Abdalla, Abdo, Nasreddien Mohammed, Al-Moutaery KR, Al-Harbi NO. A review of the scorpion fauna of Saudi Arabia. Egyptian Journal of Natural History. 2013;6:1-21. [Free full text]

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for sending me this paper!

21 November, 2013

A new species of Androctonus from northwestern Egypt

The new species of Androctonus from Egypt was collected in two cotal areas of northwestern Egypt.
Rolando Teruel, Frantisek Kovarik and Carlos Turiel have described a new species of Androctonus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Buthidae) from northwestern Egypt.

Androctonus tenuissimus Teruel, Kovarik & Turiel, 2013

The paper doesn't say anything about the venom potential of the new species, but it is probably in the same range as its close relative A. bicolor Ehrenberg, 1828. The new species should be treated as a potential dangerous scorpion until further research is done.

Abstract:
Androctonus  tenuissimus  sp.  n.  from  two  coastal  localities  placed  in  northwestern  Egypt  is  herein  described,  an addition that represents the fifth species of this genus confirmed to occur in this  North African country. It is most  closely related only to Androctonus bicolor Ehrenberg, 1828, which is widely distributed across northeast Africa and  the Middle East and also occurs in Egypt. Both are the only species in the genus whose adults of both se xes show  the  following  combination  of  three  diagnostic  characters:  coloration  uniformly  blackish,  pedipalp  chelae  con spicuously narrower than patella in adults, and pedipalp fingers with basal lobe/notch combination entirely absent.  However, these two taxa can readily be distinguished by very marked differences in appendage attenuation, body  sculpture and counts of principal rows of denticles on pedipalp fingers, among other characters.

Reference:
Teruel R, Kovarik F, Turiel C. A new species of Androctonus Ehrenberg, 1828 from northwestern Egypt (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2013 (177):1-11. [Free full text]

Family Buthidae

20 November, 2013

A new species of Buthacus from Algeria

Buthacus armasi is a new species described by professor Wilson Lourenco from Algeria.
A new species of Buthacus Birula, 1908 (Buthidae) from Tassili n'Ajjer, Algeria has recently been described by professor Wilson Lourenco.

Buthacus armasi Lourenco, 2013

Abstract:
Three Buthacus species were previously recorded from the mountains of Tassili n’ Ajjer in the South of Algeria by Vachon: Buthacus foleyi Vachon, 1948, B. arenicola (Simon, 1885) and B. leptochelys (Ehrenberg, 1829). This last one is now confirmed as a new species. The description is based on one adult male and two female specimens recently collected in Tassili n’Ajjer, and on one of the specimens previously cited from this region by Vachon as B. leptochelys. The new species is presumably endemic to Tassili n’Ajjer.

Reference:
Lourenco WR. The Buthacus Birula, 1908 populations from Tassili n’Ajjer, Algeria (Scorpiones, Buthidae) and description of a new species. Entomologische Mitteilungen aus dem Zoologischen Museum Hamburg. 2013;16(190):89-99.

Thanks to professor Wilson Lourenco for sending me his article!

Family Buthidae

A new Ananteris species from Guyana

A species of Ananteris has been discovered by professor Wilson Lourenco in Guyana.
Professor Wilson Lourenco has recently published a new species of Ananteris Thorell, 1891 (Buthidae) from the Guayana region of Guyana.

Ananteris michaelae Lourenco, 2013

Abstract:
A new species of the genus Ananteris Thorell, 1891 has been discovered in Guyana. Ananteris michaelae sp. n. is described from a single male collected in the region South of Mount Roraima, NE of the town of Normandia, located in the border between the state of Roraima in Brazil and Guyana. This is the first species of the genus described from Guyana and the second record of an Ananteris species from this country. This new description brings the total number of Ananteris species described or recorded from the Guayana region to nine.

Reference:
Lourenco WR. The genus Ananteris Thorell, 1891 (Scorpiones, Buthidae) in the Guayana region and a description of a new species from Guyana. Entomologische Mitteilungen aus dem Zoologischen Museum Hamburg. 2013;16(190):101-9.

Thanks to professor Lourenco for sending me his paper!

Family Buthidae

18 November, 2013

Defensive behavior in scorpions

Arie van der Meijden and co-workers have been provoking different types of scorpions to see how their defense behavior varies in the recently published study.

Arie va der Meijden and co-workers have recently published a study on scorpion defensive behavior related to morphology, performance and evolution.

Abstract:
Morphology can be adaptive through its effect on performance of an organism. The effect of performance may, however, be modulated by behavior; an organism may choose a behavioral option that does not fully utilize its maximum performance. Behavior may therefore be decoupled from morphology and performance. To gain insight into the relationships between these levels of organization, we combined morphological data on defensive structures with measures of defensive performance, and their utilization in defensive behavior. Scorpion species show significant variation in the morphology and performance of their main defensive structures; their chelae (pincers) and the metasoma (‘‘tail’’) carrying the stinger. Our data show that size-corrected pinch force varies to almost two orders of magnitude among species, and is correlated with chela morphology. Chela and metasoma morphology are also correlated to the LD50 of the venom, corroborating the anecdotal rule that dangerously venomous scorpions can be recognized by their chelae and metasoma. Analyses of phylogenetic independent contrasts show that correlations between several aspects of chela and metasoma morphology, performance and behavior are present. These correlations suggest co-evolution of behavior with morphology and performance. Path analysis found a performance variable (pinch force) to partially mediate the relationship between morphology (chela aspect ratio) and behavior (defensive stinger usage). We also found a correlation between two aspects of morphology: pincer finger length correlates with the relative ‘‘thickness’’ (aspect ratio) of the metasoma. This suggests scorpions show a trade-off between their two main weapon complexes: the metasoma carrying the stinger, and the pedipalps carrying the chelae.

Reference:
van der Meijden A, Lobo Coelho P, Sousa P, Herrel A. Choose your weapon: defensive behavior is associated with morphology and performance in scorpions. PLoS One. 2013;8(11):e78955. [Free full text]

15 November, 2013

A new species of Odontobuthus from Eastern Iran

Thorough analysis confirm the presence of a new species of Odontobuthus i eastern Iran.
Omid Mirshamsi and co-workers have surveyed the scorpion fauna of eastern Iran, which has not been thoroughly sampled previously. This study resulted in the discovery of a new species of Odontobuthus Vachon, 1950 (Buthidae).

Odontobuthus tirgari Mirshamsi, Azghadi, Navidpour, Aliabadian & Kovarik, 2013

The paper has an identification key for the genus.

Abstract:
A new species of scorpions in the genus Odontobuthus (Scorpiones, Buthidae) is described from Khorasan Province, Iran. Currently, Odontobuthus includes two species in Iran, Odontobuthus doriae Thorell, 1876, which is restricted to high elevations of the central Iranian Plateau and Odontobuthus bidentatus Lourenço & Pezier, 2002 from the Zagros Mountains. The results of morphological comparisons, univariate and multivariate statistical analyses and phylogenetic analysis of COI sequence data clearly confirm a deep split between populations from the eastern Iranian Plateau and O. bidentatus Lourenço & Pezier, 2002 and O. doriae Thorell, 1876. Therefore, according to comparative morphological and molecular analyses, a new species, Odontobuthus tigari sp. nov. (♀♂) was described from eastern Iran. This addition represents the third species of this genus from Iran.

Reference:
Mirshamsi O, Azghadi S, Navidpour S, Aliabadian M, Kovařík F. Odontobuthus tirgari sp. Nov. (scorpiones, buthidae) from the eastern region of the iranian plateau. Zootaxa. 2013;3731(1):153-70. [Subscription required for full text]

Family Buthidae

14 November, 2013

A new species of Vaejovis from Arizona, USA

Richard Ayrey has discovered a new Vaejovis species in Arizona, USA.

Richard Ayrey has recently published a new species of Vaejovis C. L. Koch, 1836 (Vaejovidae) from the Mogollon Rim of northern Arizona.

Vaejovis trinityae Ayrey, 2013

Interestingly, this is the first species if the "vorhiesi" group (15 species) that do not have a lithophilic life style (preferring a sloping or vertical rock habitat). The new species is found on the trunk of dead and live pine trees.

Abstract:
A  new scorpion species,  Vaejovis trinityae    sp. nov.  is described. This small brown  species is  found along the  Mogollon  Rim  above  Strawberry,  Arizona.  This  is  the  first  description  of  a  new  species  of  the  “vorhiesi”  group  scorpions  whose  DNA  phylogenetic  analysis  was  published  (Bryson  et  al.,  2013);  based  on  DNA  data,  the  new  species is most related to  V. lapidicola Stahnke  and  V. crumpi  Ayrey et Soleglad. It represents one of the “twentyseven geographically cohesive lineages inferred from the mtDNA tree”. A unique characteristic of this species is  that it exhibits arboreal behavior, being frequently found on Ponderosa pine trees.

Reference:
Ayrey RF. A new species of Vaejovis from the Mogollon Rim of northern Arizona (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae) Euscorpius. 2013 (176):1-13. [Free full text]

Family Vaejovidae

11 November, 2013

Yet another Euscorpius from Turkey

Another previously "hidden" species of Euscorpius, this time from south western Turkey.
Ersen Yagmur, Gioele Tropea and Faith Yesilyurt have recently discovered yet another species of Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 (Euscorpiidae) from south western Turkey.

Euscorpius lycius Yagmur, Tropea & Yesilyurt, 2013

There is now five Euscorpius species in Turkey, but I'm quite sure that we will see some more species when someone start looking into the "Euscorpius mingrelicus species complex".

Abstract:
A new scorpion species, Euscorpius lycius sp. n., is described based on specimens collected from Muğla and Antalya Provinces, in southwestern Turkey. It is characterized by a standard trichobothrial pattern (Pv= 8/9, et= 6, em=4, eb= 4), small size and light brown/reddish coloration. With the description of Euscorpius lycius sp. n., the number of valid species of the genus Euscorpius in Turkey increases to 5.

Reference:
Yagmur EA, Tropea G, Yesilyurt F. A new species of Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 (Scorpiones, Euscorpiidae) from south western Turkey. ZooKeys. 2013;348:29-45. [Free full text]

Thanks to Ersen and Gioele for almost simultaneously sending me their paper :)

Family Euscorpiidae

08 November, 2013

A new species of the small, Asian genus Thaicharmus

A new species of Thaicharmus Kovarik, 1995 is described from Goa State in India by Frantisek Kovarik.

Frantisek Kovarik has recently published a review of the small, Asian genus Thaicharmus Kovarik, 1995 (Buthidae) and described a new species from India.

Thaicharmus indicus Kovarik, 2013

The article has an identification key for the three species in the genus.

Abstract:
Thaicharmus indicus sp. n. from India (Goa State) is described and compared with  T. mahunkai Kovařík, 1995 from  Thailand  and  T.  lowei  Kovařík,  Soleglad  et  Fet,  2007  from  India.  The  genus  Thaicharmus  Kovařík,  1995  is  discussed and a key is provided. Photos of male T. mahunkai are published for the first time.

Reference:
Kovarik F. A Review of Thaicharmus Kovařík, 1995, with Description of Thaicharmus indicus sp. n. from India (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2013 (175):1-9. [Free full text]

Family Buthidae

A new species of Butheoloides from Cameroon

A new species of the little known genus Butheoloides Hirst, 1925 is described from Cameroon in a forthcoming issue of the journal Comptes Rendus Biologies.
Wilson Lourenco is presenting a new species of Butheoloides Hirst, 1925 (Buthidae) from Cameroon  in a forthcoming issue of Comptes Rendus Biologie.

Butheoloides savanicola Lourenco, 2013

The special distributional pattern of the genus in North Africa is also discussed.

Abstract:
A new species belonging to the genus Butheoloides Hirst, 1925 (subgenus Butheoloides Hirst, 1925) (Scorpiones, Buthidae) is described from northern Cameroon, a region of transition between savannahs and the Sahel. With the description of Butheoloides (Butheoloides) savanicola sp. n., the peri-Saharan pattern of distribution presented by the species of this genus is confirmed.

Reference:
Lourenço WR. The remarkable peri-Saharan distribution of the genus Butheoloides Hirst (Scorpiones, Buthidae), with the description of a new species from Cameroon. Comptes Rendus - Biologies. 2013;In Press.[Subscritpion required for full text]

Family Buthidae

07 November, 2013

A popular science review of the genus Androctonus

All you need to know about the genus Androctonus Ehrenberg, 1828 in the latest issue of Arachne.
Carlos Turiel has recently published a very thorough and informative review of the genus Androctonus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Buthidae) in the latest issue of the journal Arachne.The article is written in a popular science style, but is based on scientific facts and is therefor a very important reading for those of us who want to read all about Androctonus in one place.

The article covers taxonomy, identification, species description and distribution and is well illustrated with good color pictures, many illustrating difficult morphological characters important in identifying some of the species. An identification key is also provided.

The article is in German. My limited knowledge of German makes it possible for me to read this great article, but I must admit I would love an English version in the future as I'm quite sure that there is a large crowd of English speaking scorpion enthusiasts out there who very much would like to read this article.

Reference:
Turiel C. Die Gattung Androctonus Ehrenberg, 1828. Arachne. 2013;18(5):4-23.

Thanks to Carlos for sending me his article!

06 November, 2013

Two new species of Centruroides from Mexico

Christmas News: Rudolph the red-nose reindeer has gotten his own scorpion species in a new article describing two new species of Centruroides from Mexico.

Carlos Santibanez-Lopez and Gerardo Contreras-Felix have recently published a paper describing two new species of Centruroides Marz, 1890 (Buthidae) from Oaxaca, Mexico.

Centruroides franckei Santibanez-Lopez & Contreras-Felix, 2013

Centruroides rodolfoi Santibanez-Lopez & Contreras-Felix, 2013

Fun fact: The species name rodolfoi is dedicated to Santa Claus faithful reindeer Rudolph (you know, the one with the red nose). Rudolph is Rodolfo in Spanish. Christmas is early this year! :)

Abstract:
Centruroides franckei, n. sp. and Centruroides rodolfoi, n. sp. are described from Oaxaca, Mexico. These species belong to the “striped” group within the genus. Thirteen species of the genus are reported for the state, six of them belonging to the “striped” group (infamatus-nigrovariatus subgroup). Both new species are compared to their most morphological similar species. A map with the six “striped” (infamatus-nigrovariatus subgroup) species in the state is also provided.

Reference:
Santibanez-Lopez CE, Contreras-Felix GA. Two new species of Centruroides Marx 1890 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Oaxaca, Mexico. Zootaxa. 2013;3734(2):130-40. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Oscar Francke for sending me this paper!

Family Buthidae

05 November, 2013

A review of the genus Hottentotta

My favorite Hottentotta, Hottentotta flavidulus Teruel & Rein, 2010. Originally described from Afghanistan, but now also reported from Pakistan. Photo: Rolando Teruel (C).
I'm still working myself through Kovarik & Ojanguren Affilastro's new book Illustrated Catalog of Scorpions, Part II. Bothriuridae; Chaerilidae; Buthidae I., genera Compsobuthus, Hottentotta, Isometrus, Lychas and Sassanidotus and here is the third taxonomical update from the book.

Taxonomical changes in Hottentotta Birula, 1908 (Buthidae):

 New species:

Hottentotta mazuchi Kovarik, 2013 (Kenya)

Hottentotta trailini Kovarik, 2013 (Ethiopia)

Hottentotta ugandaensis Kovarik, 2013 (Uganda)

New status:

Hottentotta fuscitruncus (Caporiacco, 1936) - Restored from synonymy with H. trilineatus (Peters, 1861)

Hottentotta minusalta Vachon, 1959 - Elevated from subspecies status: H. alticola minusalta Vachon, 1959

Synonymization:

Hottentotta mateui Lourenco, Duhem & Cloudsley-Thompson, 2012 is synonymized with H. minax (L. Koch, 1875)

Reference:
Kovarik F. Family Buthidae. In: Kovarik F, Ojanguren Affilastro AA, editors. Illustrated catalogue of scorpions Part II Bothriuridae: Buthidae I, genera Compsobuthus, Hottentotta, Isometrus, Lychas and Sassanidotus. Prague: Clarion Productions; 2013. p. 145-212.

Family Buthidae

01 November, 2013

A new Euscorpius from Western Balkans

The new species, Euscorpius feti, is named after leading Euscorpius expert professor Victor Fet.

Gioele Tropea is continuing his studies on the populations of Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 (Euscorpiidae) in Europe. Today's news is a new species of Euscorpius from Western Balkan (Western Bosnia & Herzegovina, southern Croatia, northwestern Montenegro).

Euscorpius feti Tropea, 2013

Abstract:
A new scorpion species, Euscorpius feti sp. n., is described from the western Balkans based on morphological evidence. It is characterized by long-limbed overall appearance, medium-large size, light brown to reddish color, and a high trichobothrial count (Pv = 11–12, et = 8, em = 4 and eb = 4).

Reference:
Tropea G. A New Species of Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 from the Western Balkans (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae). Euscorpius. 2013 (174):1-10. [Free full text]

Thanks to Gioele Tropea for sending me his article!

Family Euscorpiidae


30 October, 2013

A new buthid genus and species from the Horn of Africa

A new genus, Gint, has been discovered on the Horn of Africa. Gint means scorpion in the Ethiopian language Amharian.
Frantisek Kovarik has been on an expedition to the Horn of Africa and during this expedition a new genus in Buthidae was discovered.

Gint Kovarik, Lowe, Pliskova & Stahlavsky, 2013 (New genus)
Gint gaitako Lowe, Pliskova & Stahlavsky, 2013 (New species)

In additon, analysis of the previously little investigated species Buthacus calviceps (Pocock, 1900) showed that this species actually belongs the the new genus and is therefore transferred to Gint.

Gint calvipes (Pocock, 1900) (New combination)

The new genus is distributed in Ethiopia, Somalia and Somaliland.

Abstract:
A new scorpion genus is described, Gint gen. n., similar to genera Buthacus Birula, 1908 and Neobuthus Hirst, 1911 to which it is compared. Buthus calviceps Pocock, 1900 is transferred to the new genus, which includes only two species, Gint gaitako sp. n. from Ethiopia and Gint calviceps comb. n. from Somaliland and Somalia (Puntland). Information is provided on the localities and habitats of both species. In addition to morphological analysis we described also karyotype of male paratype of Gint gaitako sp. n., 2n=30.

Reference:
Kovarik F, Lowe G, Pliskova J, Stahlavsky F. A New Scorpion Genus, Gint gen. n., from the Horn of Africa (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2013 (173):1-19. [Free full text]

Family Buthidae

29 October, 2013

A review of the genera Compsobuthus and Sassanidotus

Compsobuthus sp. from Israel. Photo: Jan Ove Rein (C)

I'm working myself through the new book Illustrated Catalog of Scorpions, Part II. Bothriuridae; Chaerilidae; Buthidae I., genera Compsobuthus, Hottentotta, Isometrus, Lychas and Sassanidotus and here is the second taxonomical update from the book.

The following taxonomical updates have been done in the genera Compsobuthus Vachon, 1947 and Sassanidotus Farzanpay, 1987:

Compsobuthus becvari Kovarik, 2003 is synonymized with Sassanidotus gracilis (Birula, 1900).

Compsobuthus fuscatus Hendrixson, 2006 is synonymized with Compsubuthus manzonii (Borelli, 1915).

Compsobuthus kafkai Kovarik, 2003 is synonymized with Sassanidotus gracilis (Birula, 1900).

Compsobuthus lowei Lourenco & Duhem, 2012 is synonymized with Compsobuthus setosus Hendrixson, 2006.

Compsobuthus sobotniki Kovarik, 2004 is synonymized with Sassanidotus gracilis (Birula, 1900).

The following species is declared nomen dubium until further investigations:

Compsobuthus humaae Amir, Kamaluddin & Kahn, 2005

The book has an identification key to the valid species of the genus and a distributional table.

Reference:
Kovarik F. Family Chaerilidae. In: Kovarik F, Ojanguren Affilastro AA, editors. Illustrated catalogue of scorpions Part II Bothriuridae: Buthidae I, genera Compsobuthus, Hottentotta, Isometrus, Lychas and Sassanidotus. Prague: Clarion Production; 2013. p. 131-44.

There and back again: Suddenly the number of species in Buthidae fell below 1000.


Family Buthidae

The genome of Mesobuthus martensii mapped

The genes of Mesobuthus martensii are revealed in a major study in Nature Communications. Photo: Jan Ove Rein (C)
 In a recent publication in Nature Communication, a group of Chinese scientists present the first complete scorpion genome. It is the Chinese scorpion, Mesobuthus martensii (Karsch, 1879) (Buthidae), which has been under the magnifying glass. M. martensii, which is a common species in China and well known from traditional medicine, research and as a food item, was found to have the most protein-coding genes among all sequenced arthropods so far. The M. martensii genome reveals a unique adaptation model of arthropods, offering new insights into the genetic bases of the living fossils (as scorpions may be regarded as they have retained many of the primary features of Palezoic scorpions).

Abstract:
Representing a basal branch of arachnids, scorpions are known as ‘living fossils’ that maintain an ancient anatomy and are adapted to have survived extreme climate changes. Here we report the genome sequence of Mesobuthus martensii, containing 32,016 protein-coding genes, the most among sequenced arthropods. Although M. martensii appears to evolve conservatively, it has a greater gene family turnover than the insects that have undergone diverse morphological and physiological changes, suggesting the decoupling of the molecular and morphological evolution in scorpions. Underlying the long-term adaptation of scorpions is the expansion of the gene families enriched in basic metabolic pathways, signalling pathways, neurotoxins and cytochrome P450, and the different dynamics of expansion between the shared and the scorpion lineage-specific gene families. Genomic and transcriptomic analyses further illustrate the important genetic features associated with prey, nocturnal behaviour, feeding and detoxification. The M. martensii genome reveals a unique adaptation model of arthropods, offering new insights into the genetic bases of the living fossils.

Reference:
Cao Z, Yu Y, Wu Y, Hao P, Di Z, He Y, et al. The genome of Mesobuthus martensii reveals a unique adaptation model of arthropods. Nat Commun. 2013;4:2602. DOI: 10.10387ncomms3602. [Free full text]

Thanks to Drs. Wenxin Li & Zhiyong Di for sending me a copy of their paper!


25 October, 2013

A review of the genus Chaerilus

Pregnant female of Chaerilus sp. from Nepal. Photo: Jan Ove Rein (C)
I've finally gotten Frantisek Kovarik's and Andres Ojanguren Affilastro's great book Illustrated Catalog of Scorpions, Part II. Bothriuridae; Chaerilidae; Buthidae I., genera Compsobuthus, Hottentotta, Isometrus, Lychas and Sassanidotus and I will update you with the taxonomical updates from the book in the time to come.

The following taxonomical updates have been done in the family Chaerilidae:

Chaerilus anneae Lourenco, 2012 is synonymized with Chaerilus julietteae Lourenco, 2011.

Chaerilus dibangvalleycus Bastawade, 2006 is synonymized with Chaerilus assamensis Kraepelin, 1913.

Chaerilus phami Lourenco, 2011 is synonymized with Chaerilus petrzelkai Kovarik, 2000.

Chaerilus philippinus Lourenco & Ythier, 2008 is synonymized with Chaerilus celebensis Pocock, 1894.

Chaerilus spinatus Lourenco & Duhem, 2010 is synonymized with Chaerilus celebensis Pocock, 1894.

Chaerilus thai Lourenco, Sun & Zhu, 2010 is synonymized with Chaerilus celebensis Pocock, 1894.

The following species are declared nomen dubium until further investigations:

Chaerilus kampuchea Lourenco, 2012
Chaerilus lehtrarensis Khatoon, 1999
Chaerilus vietnamicus Lourenco & Zhu, 2008

The book has an identification key to the valid species of the genus and a distributional table.

Reference:
Kovarik F. Family Chaerilidae. In: Kovarik F, Ojanguren Affilastro AA, editors. Illustrated catalogue of scorpions Part II Bothriuridae: Buthidae I, genera Compsobuthus, Hottentotta, Isometrus, Lychas and Sassanidotus. Prague: Clarion Production; 2013. p. 131-44.

Family Chaerilidae

24 October, 2013

Burrows and burrowing in Scorpio maurus - and how to capture them

Burrowing in Scorpio maurus and how to capture this scorpion is presented in a recent issue of the journal Euscorius.

Mehmet Colak and Aysegül Karatas have recently published an article on burrrowing and burrows in Scorpio maurus Linnaeus, 1758 (Scorpionidae) in Turkey. The authors also present a method on how to capture burrowing scorpions.

Abstract:
Shapes of burrows built by Scorpio maurus in southern and south-eastern Turkey were investigated. S. maurus were observed to build burrows with average 20 cm depth and 30 cm length. The burrows were concentrated in agricultural fields, farms, near gardens, and in areas with 5–10% slope. 116 specimens were captured, 77.5% from underground burrows, and 22.5% from their burrows under stones. A new method was tried in order to drive Scorpio maurus, an obligate digger type of scorpions, out of their burrows. Water was poured into a burrow, and the scorpion, which came out near the entrance of the burrow, was captured by placing a shovelful of soil 10 cm behind the entrance. Habitats of Scorpio maurus were observed, and shapes of underground burrows and burrows built under stones were documented.

Reference:
Colak M, Karatas A. Shape of Burrows Built by Scorpio maurus L., 1758 (Scorpiones: Scorpionidae) from Turkey, with Description of Capture Methods. Euscorpius. 2013 (171):1-7. [Free full text]

23 October, 2013

A new Centruroides from Guatemala

Centruroides caral is a new species from Guatemala presented in the latest issue of the journal Euscorpius.

Luis de Armas and Rony Trujillo have recently described a new species of Centruroides Marz, 1890 (Buthidae) from Guatemala.

Centruroides caral Armas & Trujillo, 2013

Abstract:
A new species of the genus Centruroides Marx, 1890 is described from northeastern Guatemala on basis to an adult  male. By its general pattern and slight sexual dimorphism, the new species looks like  C. flavopictus (Pocock, 1898),  a  larger  species  from  Veracruz,  Mexico,  with  higher  pectinal  tooth  count  (males:  21  to  24  teeth)  and  stronger  subaculear tubercle. It also resembles Centruroides chamulaensis Hoffmann, 1932, from Chiapas, Mexico, a smaller  species  with  small  to  obsolete  subaculear  tubercle,  stronger  metasomal  carinae,  pedipalp  chelae  narrower  than  patella, and anterior margin of carapace almost straight (V-shaped in the new species).

Reference:
de Armas LF, Trujillo RE. A New Species of the Genus Centruroides Marx, 1890 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Guatemala. Euscorpius. 2013 (172):1-5. [Free full text]

Family Buthidae

22 October, 2013

Scorpions of Iran, Part IX - The Hormozgan Province (with a new species)

Part IX of a the major review project of the scorpions of Iran has been published in issue 170 of the journal Euscorpius.

The paper lists 20 species in three families from the Hormozgan Province and their distribution. A new species of Odontobuthus Vachon, 1950 (Buthidae).

Odontobuthus tavighiae Navidpour, Soleglad, Fet & Kovarik, 2013

An identification key for the genus Odontobuthus and for the species in the province is given. Good habitat pictures are also included.

Abstract:
Twenty species of scorpions belonging to three families are reported from the Hormozgan Province of Iran. Of these, eight species and subspecies are recorded from the province for the first time: Buthacus macrocentrus (Ehrenberg, 1828), Compsobuthus persicus Navidpour et al., 2008, Iranobuthus krali Kovařík, 1997, Mesobuthus eupeus persicus (Pocock, 1899), Mesobuthus phillipsii (Pocock, 1889), Odontobuthus bidentatus Lourenço & Pézier, 2002, Odontobuthus doriae (Thorell, 1876), and Razianus zarudnyi (Birula, 1903). Odontobuthus tavighiae sp. n. is described and compared with all species of the genus Odontobuthus Vachon, 1950. Paraorthochirus goyffoni Lourenco et Vachon, 1995 is synonymized with Orthochirus farzanpayi (Vachon et Farzanpay, 1987). Also presented are keys to all species of scorpions found in the Hormozgan province and all species of the genus Odontobuthus Vachon, 1950.
Reference:


Navidpour S, Soleglad ME, Fet V, Kovarik F. Scorpions of Iran (Arachnida, Scorpiones). Part IX. Hormozgan Province, with a description of Odontobuthus tavighiae sp. n. (Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2013 (170):1-29. [Free full text]


Family Buthidae

21 October, 2013

Hidden diversity of Euscorpius in Greece revealed

Phylogenetic analysis of Euscorpius populations in Greece reveals hidden diversity in a recent article in The Biological Journal of the Linnean Society.

Aristeidis Parmakelis and co-workers have recently published a major phylogenetic analysis of the genus Euscorpius  Thorell, 1876 (Euscorpiidae) across the Mediterranean region, focusing on the Greek fauna. The extensive study show high variation, deep clade divergences, many cryptic lineages, paraphyly, and sympatry. There are probably many hidden species in the study area and the authors conclude that the major character set used in the taxonomy of the genus (trichobothrial pattern) is only partially applicable for Euscorpius species in Greece.

No new species is described in this paper, but this study will be a cornerstone for the future studies of the taxonomy and distribution of Greek Euscorpius populations

Abstract:
Phylogenetic analysis of the genus Euscorpius (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae) across the Mediterranean region (86 specimens, 77 localities, four DNA markers: 16S rDNA, COI, COII, and ITS1), focusing on Greek fauna, revealed high variation, deep clade divergences, many cryptic lineages, paraphyly at subgenus level, and sympatry of several new and formerly known lineages. Numerous specimens from mainland and insular Greece, undoubtedly the least studied region of the genus’ distribution, have been included. The reconstructed phylogeny covers representative taxa and populations across the entire genus of Euscorpius. The deepest clades detected within Euscorpius correspond (partially) to its current subgeneric division, outlining subgenera Tetratrichobothrius and Alpiscorpius. The rest of the genus falls into several clades, including subgenus Polytrichobothrius and a paraphyletic subgenus Euscorpius s.s. Several cryptic lineages are recovered, especially on the islands. The inadequacy of the morphological characters used in the taxonomy of the genus to delineate species is discussed. Finally, the time frame of differentiation of Euscorpius in the study region is estimated and the distributional patterns of the lineages are contrasted with those of other highly diversified invertebrate genera occurring in the study region.

Reference:
Parmakelis A, Kotsakiozi P, Stathi I, Poulikarakou S, Fet V. Hidden diversity of Euscorpius (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae) in Greece revealed by multilocus species-delimitation approaches. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 2013;Early view. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to professor Victor Fet for sending me this paper!

16 October, 2013

A new species of Euscorpius from Greece

Euscorpius erymanthius is a new species from Peloponnese in Greece published in the last issue of the journal Euscorpius.

The work uncovering the scorpion secrets of Europe is still going on. Yet another previously "hidden" species of Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 (Euscorpiidae) from Greece has recently been described.

Euscorpius erymanthius Tropea, Fet, Parmakelis, Kotsakiozi & Stathi, 2013

With the new species the total number of Euscorpius species in Greece is 11.

Abstract:
A new scorpion species, Euscorpius (Euscorpius) erymanthius sp. n., is described from Peloponnese, Greece (Erymanthos Mts.), based on genetic and morphological evidence. It is characterized by small size, light brown to reddish color, and a standard trichobothrial pattern (Pv = 8–9, et = 7–6, em = 4 and eb = 4). In a phylogeny based on multiple DNA markers, the new species groups close with E. corcyraeus Tropea et Rossi, 2012 from Corfu (Kerkyra) Island.

Reference:
Tropea G, Fet V, Parmakelis A, Kotsakiozi P, Stathi I. A new species of Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 from Peloponnese, Greece (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae). Euscorpius. 2013 (169):1-11. [Free full text]

Thanks to Gioele Tropea for sending me his paper!

Family Euscorpiidae


15 October, 2013

Professor John Cloudsley-Thompson - RIP

I got the sad news this morning from ISA that that the eminent British zoologist and arachnologist, Professor John Cloudsley-Thompson, died on October 4th at the age of 92. Professor Cloudsley-Thompson is especially known for his work on scorpions and other desert arachnids, but he also worked on other animal groups.

Professor Cloudsley-Thompson also wrote several books, including the popular book Spiders, Scorpions, Centipedes and Mites from 1958.

When starting to search for literature for my masters thesis in 1987, I quickly found several interesting articles on scorpions in Africa by the professor. Later, I was able to meet him in a conference and gave him a copy of an article that I was a co-author of (my first scientific article). Some time later I very proudly discovered that he had cited the article in his book Ecophysiology of Desert Arthropods and Reptiles (Adaptations of Desert Organisms), published in 1991.

In 2011, the online Journal Euscorpius celebrated professor John L. Cloudsley-Thompson's 90th Birthday by publishing a special volume with 10 articles by 19 authors.

RIP

Jan Ove Rein
Editor of The Scorpion Files

07 October, 2013

Species number 1000 in Buthidae has been described!

Two new species of Androctonus have been described from India and Pakistan by Kovarik and Ahmed.
According to the species list in The Scorpion Files, species number 1000 in the family Buthidae has been described with the two new species mentioned in this blog post.

Frantisek Kovarik and Zubair Ahmed have described two new species of Androctonus Ehrenberg, 1828.

Androctonus cholistanus Kovarik & Ahmed, 2013 (India and Pakistan)
Androctonus robustus Kovarik & Ahmed, 2013 (Pakistan)

In adition, Androctonus finitimus (Pocock, 1897) is redescribed. An identification key to the species of Androctonus in Asia is provided.

Abstract:
We describe Androctonus robustus sp. n. and A. cholistanus sp. n. from Pakistan and India and compare them with A. finitimus (Pocock, 1897), whose holotype we have studied. These three species are closely related and form a group that has hitherto been considered one species. They share coloration and are close to each other in geographic range. However, these three species can be reliably distinguished morphologically, primarily based on morphometry of male metasoma, which is widest in A. robustus sp. n. and narrowest in A. cholistanus sp. n. 

Reference:
Kovarik F, Ahmed Z. A Review of Androctonus finitimus (Pocock, 1897), with Description of Two New Species from Pakistan and India (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2013(168):1-10. [Free full text]

Family Buthidae