18 September, 2017

A new, extinct species of Centruroides found in amber from Mexico


Wilson Lourenco has recently described a new species of Centruroides Marx, 1890 (Buthidae) found in amber from Chiapas, Mexico.

Centruroides knodeli Lourenco, 2017

The new species is extinct. Please note that this species is not listed in The Scorpion Files as the species list only list extant species.

The article also includes criticisms of a recent article published by Rolando Teruel where two extinct species of Tityus C. L. Koch, 1836 (Buthidae) also found in amber were synonymized with Tityus geratus Santiago-Blay & Poinar, 1988. The following two species are restored as valid species.

Tityus azari Lourenço, 2013

Tityus (Brazilotityus) hartkorni Lourenço, 2009

Abstract:
Centruroides knodeli sp. n., a new species of fossil scorpion, is described from a specimen in amber from Chiapas, Mexico. The new species is clearly related to the extant fauna of the Neotropical region and is placed in the genus Centruroides Marx, 1890, presently distributed in North, Central and South America and in the Caribbean region. Also, the fossil species Tityus hartkorni Lourenço, 2009 and Tityus azari Lourenço, 2013, described from Dominican amber and inappropriately regarded by Rolando Teruel as junior synonyms of Tityus geratus Santiago-Blay & Poinar, 1988, are herein restored as valid taxa.

Reference:
Lourenco WR. A new species of Centruroides Marx, 1890 from Chiapas amber, Mexico (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Revista Iberica de Arachnologia. 2017(30):100-6.

14 September, 2017

Two new species of Grosphus from Madagascar


Wilson Lourenco and co-workers have recently published an article describing two new species of Grosphus Simon, 1880 (Buthidae) from Madagascar.

Grosphus halleuxi Lourenço, Wilme, Soarimalala & Waeber, 2017

Grosphus rakotoariveloi Lourenço, Wilme, Soarimalala & Waeber, 2017

Grosphus simoni Lourenco, Goodman & Ramilijaona, 2004 is redescribed. The biogeography of the mentioned species is also discussed.

Abstract:
A reanalysis of the type material of Grosphus simoni Lourenço, Goodman & Ramilijaona, 2004, associated with new material of this species from the northeast of Madagascar, has led to the conclusion that the male paratype of G. simoni belongs to a new, undescribed species. A large series of specimens collected in the Ambatovy-Analamay-Torotorofotsy humid forests, at around 1000 m, revealed the presence of another new species, also associated to G. simoni. Thanks to the supplementary material, with males and females, a new diagnosis is proposed for G. simoni and two new species are here described. Some general comments on the biogeography of the two new species and G. simoni are also provided.

Reference:
Lourenco WR, Wilme L, Soarimalala V, Waeber PO. Species of Grosphus Simon, 1880 associated to Grosphus simoni Lourenço, Goodman & Ramilijaona, 2004 with description of two new species (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Revista Iberica de Arachnologia. 2017(30):61-9.

Family Buthidae

12 September, 2017

A new species of Broteochactas from Brazil


Wilson Lourenco has recently described a new species of Brotheochactas Pocock, 1893 (Chactidae) from Brazilian Amazonia.

Broteochactas purus Lourenco, 2017

Abstract:
A new contribution to the knowledge of the scorpions belonging to the genus Broteochactas Pocock, 1893 is proposed and a new species is described, Broteochactas purus sp. n., based on one female specimen collected in the region of Beruri near the River Purus in the State of Amazonas, Brazil. The new species is characterized by a small size, an intense reddish to reddish yellow coloration, body and appendages with punctation and metasomal segment V and telson with conspicuous spinoid granulations.

Reference:
Lourenco WR. One more new species of Broteochactas Pocock, 1893 (Scorpiones: Chactidae) from Brazilian Amazonia. Revista Iberica de Arachnologia. 2017(30):11-4.

Family Chactidae

08 September, 2017

A new species of Ananteris from Brazil


Andre Felipe de Araujo Lira and co-workers have recently described a new species of Ananteris Thorell, 1891 (Buthidae) from the Caatinga biome in Brazil.

Ananteris otovianoi Lira, Pordeus & Ribeiro de Albuquerque, 2017

Abstract:
We describe a new species of scorpion from the Caatinga of the state of Pernambuco, Brazil. Ananteris otovianoi sp. nov. can be distinguished from other Ananteris by the following combination of characters: blackish brown spots up to the medical surface of the chelicerae; pectinal tooth count and some structures measurements. In addition, data on natural history are showed and discussed. 

Reference:
Lira AFA, Pordeus LM, Ribeiro de Albuquerque CM. A New species of Ananteris (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Caatinga biome, Brazil. Acta Arachnologica. 2017;66(1):9-15. [Open Access, but pdf for this issue is not yet available]

Thanks to Andre Lira for sending me their article!

Family Buthidae

05 September, 2017

The Scorpion Fauna of Mona Island, Puerto Rico and a few taxonomical changes


Rolando Teruel and co-workers have been able to examine new materials from Mona Island, Puerto Rico and have published an article with updates on the scorpion fauna of this island. In addition, the following taxonomical decissions have been made:

Centruroides mariaorum Santiago-Blay, 2009 is synonymized with C. bani Armas & Marcano Fondeur, 1988.

The previous synonymization of Rhopalurus virkkii Santiago-Blay, 2009 with Heteroctenus abudi (Armas et Marcano Fondeur, 1987) is confirmed.

Abstract:
The scorpion fauna of the small Mona Island (= Isla de Mona), located roughly midway between Hispaniola and Puerto Rico and administratively belonging to the latter, is herein revised. Three species are confirmed to occur: the buthids Centruroides bani Armas et Marcano Fondeur, 1987 and Heteroctenus abudi (Armas et Marcano Fondeur, 1987), plus the diplocentrine scorpionid Cazierius garridoi Armas, 2005. The previously recorded Heteronebo sp. is reexamined and deemed a mislabeled specimen of Heteronebo portoricensis Francke, 1978 from adjacent Puerto Rico. Also, Centruroides mariaorum Santiago-Blay, 2009 is demonstrated to be a junior synonym of C. bani (implying the first demonstrable records of the latter from both Mona Island and Puerto Rico) and Rhopalurus virkkii Santiago-Blay, 2009 is confirmed as a junior synonym of H. abudi. A thorough photographic complement and supplementary ecological and distributional data are provided for every species.

Reference:
Teruel R, Rivera MJ, Sanchez AJ. The Scorpion Fauna of Mona Island, Puerto Rico (Scorpiones: Buthidae, Scorpionidae). Euscorpius. 2017(250):1-15. [Open Access]

24 August, 2017

Differences in mating behavior between two geographically separated populations of Bothriurus bonariensis


Paola Olivero and co-workers have recently published a study of the mating behavior of two allopatric populations of the Neptropical scorpion Bothriurus bonariensis (C.L. Koch, 1842) (Bothriuridae).

The authors found significant differences in mating patterns, including differences in the frequency and duration of important stimulatory courtship behaviors. Another interesting finding was that most inter-population matings were unsuccessful.

Abstract:
Courtship and mating behavior generally evolve rapidly in diverging populations and species. The adaptation to different environments may cause behavioral divergence in characteristics involved in matechoice. Our objective in this study was to compare the sexual behavior of two distant populations of thescorpion Bothriurus bonariensis. This species has a broad distribution in South America, inhabiting Central Argentina, Uruguay and south-eastern Brazil. It is known that in this species there is a divergence in morphological patterns (body size, coloration, allometry and fluctuating asymmetry indexes) among distant populations. Considering the differences in environmental conditions between localities, we compare the sexual behavior in intra-population and inter-population matings from Central Argentina and southern Uruguay populations. We found significant differences in mating patterns, including differences in the frequency and duration of important stimulatory courtship behaviors. In addition, most inter-population matings were unsuccessful. In this framework, the differences in reproductive behavior could indicate reproductive isolation between these populations, which coincides with their already known morphological differences. This is the first study comparing the sexual behavior of allopatric populations of scorpions; it provides new data about the degree of intraspecific geographical divergence in the sexual behavior of B. bonariensis.

Reference:
Olivero PA, Mattoni CI, Peretti AV. Differences in mating behavior between two allopatric populations of a Neotropical scorpion. Zoology (Jena). 2017; Article in Press. [Subscription required for full text]

18 August, 2017

The holotype of Pandinus imperator has been rediscovered


The Emperor Scorpion, Pandinus imperator (C. L. Koch, 1841) (Scorpionidae), is probably the most famous scorpion species due to its impressive size and its history in the pet industry. The holotype was considered lost for a long time, but has now been rediscovered and redescribed by Joachim Holstein and co-workers in a recent article.

Abstract:
The holotype of the Emperor Scorpion Pandinus imperator (C.L. Koch, 1841) was long believed to have been lost. In 2015, as scientists at the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart were digitizing its entomological collections, they rediscovered the specimen on which Koch had based his description of the scorpion in 1841.

Reference:
Holstein J, Wendt I, Rossi A. The Emperor is back! Rediscovery and redescription of the holotype of Pandinus imperator (Scorpiones: Scorpionidae). Arachnologische Mitteilungen. 2017;54:44-7.

Thanks to Andrea Rossi and Ingo Wendt for both sending me this article!

Family Scorpionidae

15 August, 2017

A new species of Megacormus from Mexico


Edmundo Gonzalez-Santillan and co-workers have recently described a new species of Megacormus Karsch, 1881 (Euscorpiidae) from an oak-pine forest in Guanajuato, México.

Megacormus xichu Gonzalez-Santillan, Gonzalez-Ruiz & Escobedo-Morales, 2017

 The article has an updated indentification key for the genus.

Abstract:
The fifth species of the genus, Megacormus xichu sp. nov., is described and compared to the other species. An identification key to these species as well as a distributional map with localities taken from the literature are provided.

Reference:
Gonzalez-Santillan E, Gonzalez-Ruiz JM, Escobedo-Morales LA. A new species of Megacormus (Scorpiones, Euscorpiidae) from an oak-pine forest in Guanajuato, México with an identification key to the species in the genus. Zootaxa. 2017;4299(2):221-37. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Edmundo Gonzalez-Santillan for sending me their article!

09 August, 2017

Weapon of choice should reflect the level of threat


Several studies have directly or indirectly shown that at least some scorpion species abide by the venom optimization hypothesis both in sting and venom use. A scorpion's choice of weapon should reflect the level of threat (or the level of resistance of a prey).

Andre Lira and co-workers have recently published an article showing that Tityus stigimurus (Thorell, 1876) (Buthidae) reacts differently depending on the level of threat. Higher threat level caused a more aggressive behavior and more use of the main venom (instead of the metabolic more "cheaper" prevenom).

Abstract:
Venom demands high metabolic costs of the organisms that produce it because it is comprised of a complex mixture of various toxins. Due to this high cost, venomous animals modulate the amount or type of venom used depending on factors such as size of prey or intensity of predation threat. This paper shows that Tityus stigmurus, a prevalent scorpion species in the urban environment in the Northeast of Brazil, modulates its venom in response to different levels of stimuli. Sixty animals were collected in Vitória de Santo Antão, Pernambuco. The animals were subjected to either high or low levels of threats. During the tests, the animals were gently touched five times on the mesosoma with forceps at an interval of 5 s (high threat) or 5 min (low threat). The response varied significantly between intensity levels, with the animals exposed to low threat stinging in 70% of the observations and releasing a clear venom. In contrast, individuals subjected to a high level of threat stung in 83% of the observations and released a milky venom. Our results suggest that T. stigmurus reacts differently depending on the stimulus level. When the threat was considered high, the animal reacted more aggressively. Our results support the assumption that milky venom is only used when the animal is highly stressed because this venom represents higher metabolic costs than the production of clear venom.

Reference:
Lira AF, Santos AB, Silva NA, Martins RD. Threat level influences the use of venom in a scorpion species, Tityus stigmurus (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Acta Ethologica. 2017;Published online 03.08.17:1-5. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Andre Lira for sending me this article!

08 August, 2017

A new species of Hemiscorpius from Iran


Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers have recently published a new species in the medical significant genus Hemiscorpius Peters, 1861 (Hemiscorpiidae) from Iran.

Hemiscorpius shahii Kovarik, Navidour & Soleglad, 2017

Abstract:
Hemiscorpius shahii sp. n. from Iran, Hormozgan Province, is described and compared with other species of Hemiscorpius genus. The new species is characterized mainly by total length of 84 (female) to 110.7 (male) mm and unique trichobothrial pattern of pedipalp patella. The number of external trichobothria on patella is 17–18 (5 eb, 4 esb, 2–3 em, 3 est, 3 et); the number of ventral trichobothria on patella is 14–16. This distinguishes H. shahii sp. n. from all other species of genus Hemiscorpius, which have 3 or 10–12 ventral trichobothria on patella, one or two trichobothria in patella est series, and two or three trichobothria in esb series.

Reference:
Kovarik F, Navidpour S, Soleglad ME. Hemiscorpius shahii sp. n. from Iran (Scorpiones: Hemiscorpiidae). Euscorpius. 2017(249):1-9. [Open Access]

Family Hemsicorpiidae

04 August, 2017

The acid in the venom makes a scorpion's sting extra painful


Fortunately, most scorpions are harmless to humans. But getting stung usually hurt, and for many buthids it hurts a lot. It is known that special toxins (peptids) in the venom cocktail are responsible for the pain, but a new study by Shilong Yang, and co-workers shows that the acid in the venom increase the pain effects of the toxins significantly and thereby maximizing the toxin potency.

If you want to learn more about this study, check out this blog report from Phys Org that explains the mechanism more in detail.

Abstract:
Venomous animals use peptide toxins for hunting and self-defense. To achieve these goals, toxins need to bind to their targets with high affinity due to the small amount that a single bite or sting can deliver. The scorpion toxin BmP01 is linked to sting-induced excruciating pain; however, the reported minimum concentrations for activating TRPV1 channel or inhibiting voltage-gated potassium (Kv) channels (both in the micromolar range) appear too high to be biologically relevant. We show that the effective concentration of BmP01 is highly pH-dependent—it increases by about 10-fold in inhibiting Kv channels upon a 1-U drop in pH but decreases more than 100-fold in activating TRPV1. Mechanistic investigation revealed that BmP01 binds to one of the two proton-binding sites on TRPV1 and, together with a proton, uses a one-two punch approach to strongly activate the nociceptive channel. Because most animal venoms are acidic, proton-facilitated synergistic actionmay represent a general strategy for maximizing toxin potency.

Reference:
Yang S, Yang F, Zhang B, Lee BH, Li B, Luo L, et al. A bimodal activation mechanism underlies scorpion toxin–induced pain. Science Advances. 2017;3(8). [Open Access]

01 August, 2017

A new substitute name for Butheolus pallidus


Wilson Lourenco and Andrea Rossi have recently published an article with a new replacement name for Butheolus pallidus Lourenço & Duhem, 2012 (Buthidae). The reason for this is that it has been discovered that this name is preoccupied by Butheolus pallidus Pocock, 1897 (currently under the genus Orthochirus Karsch, 1891).

The new name for this species from Oman and United Arab Emirates is Butheolus hallani Lourenço & Rossi, 2017. [Author information corrected 17.08.17]

Abstract:
A nomen novum is proposed for Butheolus pallidus Lourenço et Duhem, 2012, a primary junior homonym of Butheolus pallidus Pocock, 1897 (currently Orthochirus pallidus).

Reference:
Lourenco WR, Rossi A. A new substitute name for Butheolus pallidus Lourenço et Duhem, 2012 (Scorpiones, Buthidae), species described from United Arab Emirates/Oman. Arachnida - Rivista Aracnologica Italiana. 2017;3(13):42-4.

Thanks to Joel Hallan for sending me this article!

Family Buthidae

31 July, 2017

A new species of Tityus from north-eastern Argentina


Andreas A. Ojanguren-Affilastro and co-workers have recently published a new species of Tityus C. L. Koch, 1836 (Buthidae) from north-eastern Argentina.

Tityus curupi Ojanguren-Affilastro, Adilardi, Cajade, Ramõarez, Ceccarelli & Mola, 2017

Abstract:
Tityus curupi n. sp., belonging to the bolivianus complex, is described from the biogeographically distinct area of Paraje Tres Cerros in north-eastern Argentina. We also present a molecular species delimitation analysis between Tityus curupi n. sp. and its sister species Tityus uruguayensis Borelli 1901 to confirm species integrity. Furthermore, a cytogenetic analysis is presented for these two species which contain different multivalent associations in meiosis, as a consequence of chromosome rearrangements, and the highest chromosome numbers in the genus.

Reference:
Ojanguren-Affilastro AA, Adilardi RS, Cajade R, Ramirez MJ, Ceccarelli FS, Mola LM. Multiple approaches to understanding the taxonomic status of an enigmatic new scorpion species of the genus Tityus (Buthidae) from the biogeographic island of Paraje Tres Cerros (Argentina). PLoS One. 2017;12(7):e0181337. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

28 July, 2017

A review of the taxonomy of the large buthid genus Buthus


The genus Buthus Leach, 1815 is one of the largest genera in the family Buthidae with species in 17 countries in Western Europe, North-, Central-, and Eastern Africa and the Middle East. The taxonomy of this complex genus has been confusing, but in the last 20 years there have been many studies and the number of species in the genus has increased 10-fold. Several of the African species have medical significance.

Pedro Sousa and co-workers have now published a review of the taxonomy of Buthus and present an overview of the history of Buthus taxonomy, an updated species list and distribution of the genus. Two taxa are raised to species status (from subspecies status):

Buthus nigrovesiculosus Hirst, 1925

Buthus parroti Vachon, 1949

In addition, Buthus barbouri Werner, 1932  is transferred to the genus Androctonus Ehrenberg, 1828:

Androctonus barbouri (Werner, 1932),

Check abstract or the article for other taxonomical updates.

If you are interested in the genus Buthus, this is the article to read.

Abstract:
Since the publication of the ground-breaking “Catalogue of the scorpions of the world (1758–1998)” (Fet et al. 2000) the number of species in the scorpion genus Buthus Leach, 1815 has increased 10-fold, and this genus is now the fourth largest within the Buthidae, with 52 valid named species. Here we revise and update the available information regarding Buthus. A new combination is proposed: Buthus halius (C. L. Koch, 1839), comb. n. from Portugal and Spain. B. halius is removed from junior synonymy with Buthus occitanus (Amoreux, 1789), and proposed as a senior synonym of B. ibericus Lourenço & Vachon, 2004, syn. n. Moreover, following I.C.Z.N. article 23.9.2 we propose to maintain as valid B. ibericus (nomen protectum) and to consider the disued B. halius as a nomen oblitum. Buthus europaeus tridentatus Franganillo, 1918 is proposed as a junior synonym of B. occitanus (Amoreux, 1789), syn. n. Buthus sabulicola Touloun, 2012 is proposed as a junior synonym of Buthus bonito Lourenço & Geniez, 2005, syn. n. Buthus occitanus tunetanus neeli Gysin, 1969 is proposed as an informal senior synonym of Buthus tassili Lourenço, 2002, informal syn. n. Two taxa are rised to species rank, Buthus nigrovesiculosus Hirst, 1925, stat. n. and Buthus parroti Vachon, 1949, stat. n.. We further confirm the restricted distribution of B. occitanus that is confined to southeastern France and northwestern Iberian Peninsula and does not occur in North Africa. Additionally, Androctonus barbouri (Werner, 1932), comb. n. from the Agadir region of Morocco, is hereby transferred to the genus Androctonus. We summarize and provide a critical appraisal of the diagnostic characters currently in use for the genus. The catalogue section considers the names for species, subspecies and varieties that have been used for Buthus scorpions. Information about types, including collection numbers and localities are included when available. Finally, an annotated listing of synonymies and an updated bibliography are given.

Reference:
Sousa P, Arnedo MA, Harris DJ. Updated catalogue and taxonomic notes on the Old-World scorpion genus Buthus Leach, 1815 (Scorpiones, Buthidae). ZooKeys. 2017(686):15-84. [Open Access]

Thanks to Pedro Sousa for sending me his article!

Family Buthidae


26 July, 2017

Scorpionism in Jordan


Scorpions are a public health problem in the Middle East with several buthid species in the genera Leiurus Ehrenberg, 1828 and Androctonus Ehrenberg, 1828 causing cases of death and serious morbidity every year.

Zuhair Amr and co-workers have recently published an epidemiological study on scorpion envenomations in Jordan between 2006 and 2012. The main conclusion is that scorpion stings remain a medical problem in Jordan as they are in other countries in the region.

Abstract:

Objective

Scorpionism is an endemic public health problem in Jordan encountered by health providers in all parts of the country. This study updates epidemiological data on scorpion sting encounters in Jordan.

Methods

Data on scorpion sting encounters were obtained from government and military hospitals around the country, and the National Drug and Poison Information Center (NDPIC). P values and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using SPSS Professional Statistics Package version 22 (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY) program.

Results

Epidemiological data on 1205 scorpion sting cases reported between 2006 and 2012 are reported. Male to female ratio was 1.18:1, aged 23.3±16 (mean±SD) and 26.4±16.9 years for males and females, respectively. Age groups between 1 to 20 years old constituted 44.6% of the total sting encounters, while adults aged >30 years constituted 30%. Scorpion sting encounters peaked in July (22.5%) and August (23%), with the lowest numbers of recorded cases in February and January (1.6 and 1.9%, respectively). Scorpion stings occurred mostly outdoors (66%). Medical complications associated with scorpion sting cases included fever, difficulty in breathing, drowsiness and dizziness, and numbness, while severe complications include respiratory failure and tachycardia. Hospitalization required 1 to 3 days among admitted patients with no fatalities.

Conclusions

Scorpion stings remain a medical problem in Jordan that requires more attention by health providers. Reporting of scorpion sting cases should be enforced from all healthcare centers throughout the country to better understand the epidemiology and health implications of human encounters.

Reference:
Amr ZS, Al Zou'bi R, Abdo N, Bani Hani R. Scorpion Stings in Jordan: An Update. Wilderness Environ Med. 2017;In Press. [Subscription required for full text]

24 July, 2017

A new species of Buthacus from Algeria


Wilson Lourenco and co-workers recently published an article describing a new species of Buthacus Birula, 1908 (Buthidae) from the Tamanrasset region in Algeria.

Buthacus ahaggar Lourenco, Kourim & Sadine, 2017

Abstract:
In the last 1520 years, the genus Buthacus Birula, 1908 (family Buthidae) has been the subject of an important number of studies. Most of the species considered in these studies come from North Africa and more recently our studies were concentrated in the Central deserts of Algeria. With the present study, we start a new series of contributions to the knowledge of the scorpions distributed in the South range of the country. A new species of Buthacus is described from the southern Saharan Deserts of Algeria, raising the number of confirmed known species in this area to three and the total number of known species in Algeria to nine. This new discovery brings further evidence to the considerable degree of diversity found in the Algerian Saharan Desert but in particular suggests once again the presence in these deserts of microendemic populations.

Reference:
Lourenco WR, Kourim ML, Sadine SE. Scorpions from the region of Tamanrasset, Algeria. Part I. A new species of Buthacus Birula, 1908 (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Arachnida - Rivista Aracnologica Italiana. 2017;3(8):31-41.

Thanks to Salah Eddine Sadine for sending me their article!

Family Buthidae

21 July, 2017

A new genus and species from Myanmar (Burma)


Wilson Lourenco has recently published a new genus and species from a cave in Myanmar (Burma).

Plethoscorpiops Lourenço, 2017 (Scorpiopinae, Euscorpiidae*)

Plethoscorpiops profusus Lourenço, 2017 (Scorpiopinae, Euscorpiidae*)

* The author of this paper is treating Scorpiopinae as a valid family: Scorpiopidae

The new taxa has a unique trichobothrial pattern, but shows no special cave-adaptions (troglomorphic adaptions) like pigment and eye reductions.

Abstract:
Plethoscorpiops profusus gen. n., sp. n., belonging to the family Scorpiopidae Kraepelin, 1905 is described on the basis of two specimens, one adult female and one male juvenile collected in the Saddan Cave, in Kayin State, Hpa-An, Burma (Myanmar). This new scorpion taxon most certainly represents an endemic element for the fauna of Burma and seems to be strictly distributed inside the cave system. The new genus is characterized by a previously unknown and totally unique plethotaxic trichobothrial pattern within the family Scorpiopidae.

Reference:
Lourenco WR. A new genus and species of scorpion from Burma [Myanmar] (Scorpiones: Scorpiopidae): Implications for the taxonomy of the family. C R Biol. 2017; In Press. [Open Access]

Family Euscorpiidae

20 July, 2017

There and back again: Revalidation of three recently synonymized Cuban species of Heteroctenus


Luis de Armas recently published an article where he revalidated three recently synonymized Cuban species of Heteroctenus Pocock, 1893 (Buthidae) (the three species previously belonged to Rhopalurus Thorell, 1876). This means that the following species are considered valid:

Heteroctenus aridicola (Teruel et Armas, 2012)

Heteroctenus melloleitaoi (Teruel et Armas, 2006)

Heteroctenus granulimanus (Teruel, 2006)

In addition, the buthid subfamily Rhopalurusinae Bücherl, 1971 is regarded as a junior synonym of Centruroidinae Kraus, 1955.

For more information about the synonymization of the three species, see my blog post from yesterday.

Abstract:
The scorpion genus Heteroctenus Pocock, 1893 was restored from synonymy with Rhopalurus in a recent revision by Esposito et al. (2017). Here, we restore two eastern Cuban species Heteroctenus melloleitaoi (Teruel et Armas, 2006) and H. aridicola (Teruel et Armas, 2012) as valid species. They were synonymized by Esposito et al. (2017) under Heteroctenus junceus (Herbst, 1800), without examination of corresponding specimens and with erroneous interpretations of some aspects of the original descriptions. Heteroctenus granulimanus (Teruel, 2006) is also restored as a valid species. The subfamily Rhopalurusinae Bücherl, 1971 is regarded as a junior synonym of Centruroidinae Kraus, 1955.

Reference:
De Armas LF. Revalidation of Three Recently Synonymized Cuban Species of Heteroctenus Pocock, 1893 (Scorpiones: Buthidae: Centruroidinae). Euscorpius. 2017(248):1-3.

Family Buthidae

19 July, 2017

A systematic revision of the neotropical club-tailed scorpions, Physoctonus, Rhopalurus, and Troglorhopalurus has been published


Lauren Esposito and several co-workers have recently published a major systematic revision of the neotropical club-tailed scorpions, Physoctonus Mello-Leitao, 1934, Rhopalurus Thorell, 1876 and Troglorhopalurus Lourenço, Baptista & Giupponi, 2004 (Buthidae). This is a major study with many taxonomical changes. I have tried to sum up the main results here:

New genera:

Ischnotelson Esposito, Yamaguti, Souza, Pinto da Roacha & Prendini, 2017 (Brazil).

Jaguajir Esposito, Yamaguti, Souza, Pinto da Roacha & Prendini, 2017 (North and northeastern South America).

Heteroctenus Pocock, 1893 (revalidated from synonymization).

New species:

Ischnotelson peruassu Esposito, Yamaguti, Souza, Pinto da Roacha & Prendini, 2017 (Brazil).

Physoctonus striatus Esposito, Yamaguti, Souza, Pinto da Roacha & Prendini, 2017 (Brazil).

Rhopalurus ochoai Esposito, Yamaguti, Souza, Pinto da Roacha & Prendini, 2017 (Venezuela).

New combinations:

All of these species previously belonged to the genus Rhopalurus Thorell, 1876.

Heteroctenus abudi (Armas and Marcano Fondeur, 1987)

Heteroctenus bonettii (Armas, 1999)

Heteroctenus garridoi (Armas, 1974)

Heteroctenus gibarae (Teruel, 2006)

Heteroctenus princeps (Karsch, 1879)

Ischnotelson guanambiensis (Lenarducci et al., 2005)

Jaguajir agamemnon (C.L. Koch, 1839)

Jaguajir pintoi (Mello-Leitão, 1932)

Jaguajir rochae (Borelli, 1910)

Troglorhopalurus lacrau (Lourenço and Pinto-da-Rocha 1997)

Synonymizations:

"=" means "synonymized with".

Rhopalurus crassicauda Caporiacco, 1947 = Rhopalurus laticauda Thorell, 1876.

Rhopalurus amazonicus Lourenço, 1986 = Rhopalurus laticauda Thorell, 1876.

Rhopalurus crassicauda paruensis Lourenço, 2008 = Rhopalurus laticauda Thorell, 1876.

Rhopalurus brejo Lourenço, 2014 = Troglorhopalurus lacrau (Lourenço and Pinto-da-Rocha, 1997).

Rhopalurus acromelas
Lutz and Mello, 1922 = Jaguajir agamemnon (C.L. Koch, 1839).

Rhopalurus melleipalpus Lutz and Mello, 1922 = Jaguajir agamemnon (C.L. Koch, 1839).

Rhopalurus iglesiasi Werner, 1927 = Jaguajir agamemnon (C.L. Koch, 1839).

Rhopalurus lambdophorus Mello-Leitão, 1932 = Jaguajir agamemnon (C.L. Koch, 1839).

Rhopalurus dorsomaculatus Prado, 1938 = Jaguajir agamemnon (C.L. Koch, 1839).

Rhopalurus goiasensis Prado, 1940 = Jaguajir agamemnon (C.L. Koch, 1839).

Rhopalurus aridicola Teruel and Armas, 2012 = Heteroctenus junceus (Herbst, 1800).

Rhopalurus melloleitaoi Teruel and Armas, 2006 = Heteroctenus junceus (Herbst, 1800).

Rhopalurus granulimanus Teruel, 2006 = Heteroctenus gibarae (Teruel, 2006).

Rhopalurus virkkii Santiago-Blay, 2009 = Heteroctenus abudi (Armas and Marcano Fondeur, 1987).

The article has an updated identification key for the involved taxa.

Abstract:


Reference:
Esposito LA, Yamaguti HY, Souza CA, Pinto da Rocha R, Prendini L. Systematic revision of the neotropical club-tailed scorpions, Physoctonus, Rhopalurus, and Troglorhopalurus, revalidation of Heteroctenus, and descriptions of two new genera and three new species (Buthidae: Rhopalurusinae). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 2017(415):1-134. [Open Access]

Thanks to Ricardo Pinto-da-Rocha and Carlos Turiel for sending me this article!

Family Buthidae

17 July, 2017

A second record of a relict Akrav israchanani from Israel


One of the more fascinating scorpion discoveries in the last 20 years was the discovery of a new scorpion family, genus and species in a closed cave system in Israel. Unfortunately, only dead specimens represented by exoskeletons of A. israchanani Levy, 2007 (Akravidae) were found, and the species is considered extinct.

Victor Fet and co-workers have now published the findings of new, relict specimens of this troglobitic species from a new cave-system. This second record indicates a wider distribution of this unique cave scorpion, which, however, is extinct in both caves. There is still no evidence that live populations of this species exist.

Abstract:
We report the remnants of five new scorpion specimens discovered dead in Levana Cave in Israel in December 2015. We confirm that they belong to the relict scorpion Akrav israchanani Levy, 2007 (Akravidae), famously described from the neighboring Ayyalon Cave, also from dead specimens. The details of morphology of the new specimens are given; they match completely the characters of A. israchanani redescribed by Fet, Soleglad & Zonstein (2011). This second record indicates a wider distribution of this unique cave scorpion, which, however, is extinct in both caves. There is still no evidence that live populations of this species exist.

Reference:
Fet V, Soleglad ME, Zonstein SL, Naaman I, Lubaton S, Langford B, et al. The Second Record of a Relict Akrav israchanani Levy, 2007 (Scorpiones: Akravidae) from Levana Cave, Israel. Euscorpius. 2017(247):1-12. [Open Access]

Family Akravidae

22 June, 2017

On the phylogeny of diplocentrid scorpions


Carlos E. Santibáñez-López and co-workers have recently published an article on the phylogeny of diplocentrid scorpions. I have to be honest and say that this stuff is very much over my head and I just have to ask you to check out the abstract and the article for more details. Unfortunately, phylogeny and molecular taxonomy was not on the curriculum when I got my zoology educations in the previous millenium.

In a revision of the higher scorpion systematics, Soleglad & Fet (2003) abolished the family Diplocentridae and included all genera into Scorpionidae. This have been criticized by parts of the scorpion expert community, who treat this taxa as a valid family (Diplocentridae). This is also the case with the present article. The scorpion Files still lists Diplocentridae as a subfamily, but this is under consideration and may change in the time to come after I get input from my contacts in the scorpion expert community.

Abstract:
Morphology still plays a key role in the systematics and phylogenetics of most of the scorpion families and genera, including the Diplocentridae Karsch, 1880. The monophyly of this family, and the monophyly of its two subfamilies is supported by morphological characters; however, neither hypothesis has been tested using molecular data. The lack of a molecular phylogeny has prevented the study of the evolution of morphology within the family. Here, we examine the morphological evolution of several key character systems in diplocentrid systematics. We tested the monophyly of the Diplocentridae, and subsequently the validity of its two subfamilies using a five-locus phylogeny.We examined the variation and evolution of the shape of the carapace, the external surface of the pedipalp patella and the retrolateral surface of the pedipalp chelae of males and females. We also examined the phylogenetic signal of discrete and continuous characters previously reported. We show that Diplocentridae is monophyletic, but Nebinae is nested within Diplocentrinae. Therefore, Nebinae is synonymised with Diplocentrinae (new synonymy). Finally, we show that a new character system proposed here, tarsal spiniform and macrosetal counts, retains high phylogenetic signal and circumscribes independently evolving substructures within this character system.

Reference: 
Santibanez Lopez CE, Kriebel R, Sharma PP. eadem figura manet: Measuring morphological convergence in diplocentrid scorpions (Arachnida : Scorpiones : Diplocentridae) under a multilocus phylogenetic framework. Invertebrate Systematics. 2017;31:233-48. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Dr. Santibáñez-López for sending me their article!

Family Scorpionidae

21 June, 2017

On the phylogeography of the vaejovid scorpion Smeringurus vachoni


Matthew Graham and co-workers have recently published an article on the phylogeography of Smeringurus vachoni (Stahnke, 1961) (Vaejovidae) from the USA. One of the main conclusions is that Smeringurus vachoni does not comprise of two subspecies (S. v. vachoni and S. v. immanis), but instead consists of at least 11 mitochondrial clades. The authors synonymize S. v. vachoni and
S. v. immanis under the single species S. vachoni, but they encourage future taxonomic investigations using more rigorous species delimitation approaches. I refer to the abstract and the article for further details.

Abstract:
Recent syntheses of phylogeographical data from terrestrial animals in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts have revealed a complex history of geologic and climatic vicariance events. We studied the phylogeography of Smeringurus vachoni to see how vicariance events may have impacted a large, endemic rock scorpion. Additionally, we used the phylogeographical data to examine the validity of two subspecies of S. vachoni that were described using unconventional morphological characters. Phylogenetic, network and SAMOVA analyses indicate that S. vachoni consists of 11 clades mostly endemic to isolated desert mountain ranges. Molecular clock estimates suggest that clades diversified between the Miocene and early Pleistocene. Species distribution models predict a contraction of suitable habitat during the last glacial maximum. Landscape interpolations and Migrate-n analyses highlight areas of gene flow across the Colorado River. Smeringurus vachoni does not comprise two subspecies. Instead, the species represents at least 11 mitochondrial clades that probably diversified by vicariance associated with Pleistocene climate changes and formation of ancient lakes along the Colorado River corridor. Gene flow appears to have occurred from west to east across the Colorado River during periodic river avulsions.

Reference:
Graham MR, Wood DA, Henault JA, Valois ZJ, Cushing PE. Ancient lakes, Pleistocene climates and river avulsions structure the phylogeography of a large but little-known rock scorpion from the Mojave and Sonoran deserts. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 2017;Ahead of Print:1-14. [Subscription required for full text]

Family Vaejovidae

15 June, 2017

Scorpion exposures reported in the USA between 2005 and 2015


Kang & Brooks have recently published an epidemiological study on scorpion envenomations in the USA between 2005 and 2015.

Abstract:
Introduction: Previous studies of scorpion envenomation in the United States (US) have focused on Arizona and the bark scorpion, Centruroides sculpturatus. Although many other scorpion species live in the US, information about envenomations in other states is lacking.
Methods: Nationwide scorpion exposures from 2005 to 2015 were analyzed using the National Poison Data System.
Results: Of the 185,402 total exposures, Arizona (68.2%), Texas (10.3%), and Nevada (4.2%) were the top contributors. However, six other southern states reported greater than 100 cases annually, primarily during the warmer months and evening hours. Envenomations occurred most often in a home (97.8%) and were typically managed on-site (90.1%). Pain was the most common effect nationwide (88.7%). Arizona had the highest frequencies of sensory, neuromuscular, and respiratory effects along with higher hospitalization and ICU admission rates, although the latter appeared to drop over the study period. In contrast, local skin effects such as erythema and edema were more common outside of Arizona. Children under 10 years of age in Arizona and Nevada had the highest rates of systemic effects, hospitalization, and ICU admission.
Conclusions: Scorpion envenomations occurred throughout the southern US with similar seasonal and daily variations. Common clinical effects included pain, local edema, and erythema, except in Arizona and Nevada where severe systemic symptoms were more common. Systemic effects correlated with high rates of ICU admissions and intubations, especially in children under 10 years of age. 


Reference:
Kang AM, Brooks DE. Nationwide Scorpion Exposures Reported to US Poison Control Centers from 2005 to 2015. J Med Toxicol. 2017;13(2):158-65. [Subscription required for full text]

13 June, 2017

On the scorpion fauna of the Texas Panhandle



 Kari McWest and co-workers recently published an article on the scorpion fauna of the Central and Southern High Plains and associated breaks and canyonlands of northwestern Texas. The six species in the region are described and new records information about habitats are presented.

The articles has an identification key for the species in the region.

Abstract:
The scorpion fauna of the Central and Southern High Plains and associated breaks and canyonlands of northwestern Texas includes six species: Centruroides vittatus (Say, 1821), Chihuahuanus coahuilae (Williams, 1968), Ch. russelli (Williams, 1971), Maaykuyak waueri (Gertsch & Soleglad, 1972), Paruroctonus pecos Sissom & Francke, 1981, and Paruroctonus utahensis (Williams, 1968), Paruroctonus pecos Sissom & Francke, 1981 is recorded in northwestern Texas for the first time. Numerous new records and a key for identification are provided for all six nominal species recorded within the study area. Ecological and natural history notes are also presented, and species records are projected with GIS mapping.

Reference:
McWest KJ, Valois ZJ, Sissom WD. Scorpions (Arachnida) of the high plains and adjacent canyonlands of Northwestern Texas. Texas Journal of Science. 2017;67(1):3-38.

Thanks to Kari for sending me their article!

09 June, 2017

Microananteroides mariachiarae is a junior synonym of Akentrobuthus atakora


Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers have recently published an article where they present an investigation of the holotype of Microananteroides mariachiarae Rossi & Lourenço,
2015 (Buthidae). The authors conclude that this taxa is a junior synonym of Akentrobuthus atakora Vignoli & Prendini, 2008 (Buthidae).

Abstract:
The African monotypic scorpion genus Microananteroides Rossi et Lourenço, 2015 and its single species M. mariachiarae Rossi et Lourenço, 2015, from Ghana, are herein demonstrated to be junior synonyms, respectively, of Akentrobuthus Lamoral, 1976 and A. atakora Vignoli et Prendini, 2008 from neighboring Benin. We provide detailed high-resolution color photographs of the holotype of M. mariachiarae and further show its real trichobothrial pattern, which was incorrectly depicted in the original description.

Reference:
Kovarik F, Teruel R, Lowe G. Microananteroides mariachiarae Rossi et Lourenço, 2015 is a Junior Synonym of Akentrobuthus atakora Vignoli et Prendini, 2008 (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2017(246):1-7. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

08 June, 2017

On the taxonomy of some Amazonian scorpions


Rolando Teruel and co-workers have recently published an article commenting on the taxonomy of some Amazonian buthids.

The adult adult male of Ananteris ashaninka Kovařík, Teruel, Lowe & Friedrich, 2015 is described for the first time.

The following species are restored to species status after having been synonymized by Lourenco, 2016:

Tityus carolineae Kovařík, Teruel, Cozijn & Seiter, 2013 (previously in synonymy with T. metuendus Pocock, 1897).

Tityus dillerorum Kovařík, Teruel, Lowe & Friedrich, 2015 (previously in synonymy with T. gasci Lourenço, 1982).

Tityus wachteli Kovařík, Teruel, Lowe & Friedrich, 2015 (previously in synonymy with T. silvestris Pocock, 1897).

The article also discuss the principles of taxonomical decisions that should be the basis of modern scorpion systematics.

Abstract:
We describe and illustrate in detail the previously unknown adult male of Ananteris ashaninka Kovařík, Teruel, Lowe et Friedrich, 2015, based upon a specimen recently captured at the type locality. In addition, the taxonomic status of three Amazonian species of the genus Tityus C. L. Koch, 1836, is reevaluated and all are restored from unjustified synonymies: Tityus carolineae Kovařík, Teruel, Cozijn et Seiter, 2013, Tityus dillerorum Kovařík, Teruel, Lowe et Friedrich, 2015, and Tityus wachteli Kovařík, Teruel, Lowe et Friedrich, 2015.

Reference:
Teruel R, Kovarik F, Lowe G, Friedrich S. Complements to the Taxonomy of Some Amazonian Scorpions (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2017(245):1-7. [Open Acess]

Family Buthidae

06 June, 2017

A new species of Opisthacanthus from Suriname and Brazil


Wilson Lourenco has recently described a new species of Opisthacanthus Petters, 1861 (Hormuridae) from the border areas between Suriname and Brazil.

Opisthacanthus surinamensis Lourenco, 2017

The biogeography of the species of Opisthacanthus in the area is discussed.

Abstract:
A re-analysis of the geographical distribution of neotropical species of the genus Opisthacanthus Peters (Scorpiones: Hormuridae) is proposed. A new species, Opisthacanthus surinamensis sp. n., is described from the Region of the Serra do Tumucumaque in the border between Suriname and Brazil (Sipaliwini Savannah in Suriname). This is the first record of a species of the genus Opisthacanthus from Suriname and the third one from Brazil. The total number of species in the Neotropical region is now raised to 10, although some of the Venezuelan species may yet require confirmation. The known geographical distribution of the genus is also enlarged with a new location in the Guayana region (sensu MORI, 1991).

Reference:
Lourenco WR. Description of a new species of Opisthacanthus Peters (Scorpiones: Hormuridae) from Suriname/Brazil border with some biogeographic considerations. Acta Biologica Paranaense, Curitiba. 2017;46(1-2):9-22. [Open Access]

Thanks to Michiel Cozijn for sending me this article!

Family Hormuridae

16 May, 2017

First Record of Centruroides alayoni from Haiti


Luis de Armas has investigated scorpion materials from Haiti and concluded that the recently described new species from Haiti, Centruroides haitiensis Lourenco, 2016 (Buthidae), is a junior synonym of Centruroides alayoni Armas, 1999. The latter was previously known from the Dominican Republic, and this is the first record from Haiti.

Centruroides haitiensis Lourenco, 2016 has not been listed in The Scorpion Files or mentioned in the blog because I have not been able to get this article in full text. The reference for this article is listed below.

Abstract:
Centruroides haitiensis Lourenço, 2016, from Grande Cayemite, Haiti, is regarded as a junior synonym of Centruroides alayoni Armas, 1999, previously known from southern Pedernales Province (215 km east of Grande Cayemite), Dominican Republic. Consequently, C. alayoni is herein recorded for the first time from Haiti. The list of the Haitian species of the genus Centruroides Marx, 1890 is given.

References:
De Armas LF. First Record of Centruroides alayoni Armas, 1999 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Haiti, Greater Antilles. Euscorpius. 2017(244):1-3. [Open Access]

Lourenco WR. A new species of Centruroides Marx, 1890 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from the Island of ‘Grande Cayemite’ in Haiti. Arachnida - Rivista Aracnologica Italiana. 2016;8:16-23.

Family Buthidae


05 May, 2017

A new species of Buthacus from Algeria


Wilson Lourenco and co-workers have recently discovered a new species of Buthacus Birula, 1908 (Buthidae) from the Algerian Saharan Desert. The presence of microendemic populations in the region is also discussed.

Abstract:
For almost 20 years now, the genus Buthacus Birula, 1908 (family Buthidae) has been the subject of an important number of studies. Most of the species considered in these studies come from North Africa and more recently from Algeria. At present, one more new species of Buthacus is described from the Algerian Saharan Desert, raising the number of confirmed known species in Algeria to eight. This new discovery attests to a considerable degree of diversity found in the Algerian Saharan Desert but in particular suggests the presence in these deserts of microendemic populations.

Reference:
Lourenco WR, Sadine SE, Bissati S, Houtia A. The genus Buthacus Birula, 1908 in Northern and Central Algeria; description of a new species and comments on possible microendemic populations (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Arachnida - Rivista Aracnologica Italiana. 2017;3(XII):18-30.

Thanks to Dr. Sadine for sending me their article!

Family Buthidae

04 May, 2017

Two new species of Bothriurus from Northeastern Brazil


Andria de Paula Santos-Da-Silva and co-workers have recently published a study on Bothriurus Peters, 1861 in Northeastern Brazil. Two new species are described.

Bothriurus aguardente Santos-Da-Silva, Carvahlo & Brescovit, 2017

Bothriurus delmari Santos-Da-Silva, Carvahlo & Brescovit, 2017

Abstract:
Two new species of Bothriurid scorpions, Bothriurus delmari n. sp. and B. aguardente n. sp., are described from Bahia, Northeastern Brazil. These species are included in the asper group owing to the peculiar hemispermatophore morphology. These two newly described species increases to 47 the number of known and valid Bothriurus species. Additionaly, the known distribution of Bothriurus asper is updated.

Reference:
Santos-Da-Silva AdP, Carvahlo LS, Brescovit AD. Two new species of Bothriurus Peters, 1861 (Scorpiones, Bothriuridae) from Northeastern Brazil. Zootaxa. 2017;4258(3):238-56. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Dr. Andria de Paula and Dr. Paulo André Margonari Goldoni for sending me this article!

Family Bothriuridae

02 May, 2017

A new species of Diplocentrus from Mexico


Carlos E. Santibanez-Lopez and Edmundo Gonzalez-Santillan have recently described a new species of Diplocentrus Peters, 1861 (Scorpionidae) from Mexico.

Diplocentrus duende Santibanez-Lopez & Gonzalez-Santillan, 2017

Abstract:
Diplocentrus duende n. sp. is described based on adult males collected from a locality in the Tehuaca´n–Cuicatla´n Valley, Mexico. This species has punctate pedipalp surfaces, a condition present only in four other species of this specious genus. As suggested here, this condition has evolved independently in these species within the ‘‘mexicanus’’ group of Diplocentrus from the rest of the diplocentrids.

Reference:
Santibanez-Lopez CE, Gonzalez-Santillan E. A new species of Diplocentrus (Scorpiones: Diplocentridae) with punctate pedipalp surfaces, a diagnostic character within the "mexicanus" group. C R Biol. 2017; In Press. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Carlos for sending me their article!

Family Scorpionidae

A new phylogenetic study of the southernmost American buthids


Andrés A. Ojanguren-Affilastro and co-workers have recently published a dated molecular phylogeny of the southernmost American species of the family Buthidae. I refer to the abstract and the paper for details. The paper also discuss the colonization routes for the Buthidae into America in ancient time.

Abstract:
A dated molecular phylogeny of the southernmost American species of the family Buthidae, based on two nuclear and two mitochondrial genes, is presented. Based on this study, analyzed species of the subgenus Tityus (Archaeotityus) are neither sister to the remaining species of the genus Tityus, nor are they closely related to the New World microbuthids with decreasing neobothriotaxy. Analyzed species of the subgenus Tityus do not form a monophyletic group. Based on ancestral area estimation analyses, known geoclimatic events of the region and comparisons to the diversification processes of other epigean groups from the area, a generalized hypothesis about the patterns of historical colonization processes of the family Buthidae in southern South America is presented. Furthermore, for the first time, a Paleogene-African ingression route for the colonization of America by the family Buthidae is proposed as a plausible hypothesis.

Reference:
Ojanguren-Affilastro AA, Adilardi RS, Mattoni CI, Ramírez MJ, Sara Ceccarelli F. Dated phylogenetic studies of the southernmost American buthids (Scorpiones; Buthidae). Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2017;110:39-49. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Dr. Ojanguren-Affilastro for sending me their article!

A new species of Buthus from Ghana


Andrea Rossi has recently published a paper discussing the distribution of the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 (Buthidae) in the basin countries of the Gulf of Guinea, West Africa. A new species from Ghana is also presented.

Buthus danyii Rossi, 2017

Abstract:
The presence of the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 in the basin countries of the Gulf of Guinea was reported almost seventy years ago, but the precise identity of the species remained for a long time unknown. Up to now only three species of the genus Buthus are recorded in such region: Buthus prudenti Lourenço & Leguin, 2012 from Cameroon, Buthus elizabethae Lourenço, 2005 from Guinea (but also present in Senegal) and Buthus elhennawyi Lourenço, 2005 from Niger (but also present in Senegal). A fourth species, Buthus danyii sp. n., is now described from Ghana.

Reference:
Rossi A. The genus Buthus Leach, 1815 in the basin countries of the Gulf of Guinea with the description of a new species from Ghana (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Onychium. 2017;13:9-15. [Open Access]

Thanks to Dr. Rossi for sending me his article!

Family Buthidae


24 April, 2017

A new species of Babycurus from Central African Republic

Lourenco and Rossi have recently described a new species of Babycurus Karsch, 1886 (Buthidae) from North Savannah formations in Central African Republic.

Babycurus brignolii Lourenco & Rossi, 2017

Abstract:
A new species, Babycurus brignolii sp. n., is described from North Savannah formations in Central African Republic. This is the second record of a Babycurus species from Central African Republic. The new species is characterized by a small total body size, with respect to other species within the genus, and a general yellow to yellow-testaceous coloration with some diffuse fuscosity. This species, a possible endemic element from the savannah formations of Northern Central African Republic, provides further evidence regarding the unsuspected scorpion richness of this region.

Reference:
Lourenco WR, Rossi A. A new species of Babycurus Karsch, 1886 from dry Savannahs in Central African Republic (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Onychium. 2017;13:3-8. [Open Access]

Thanks to Andrea Rossi for sending me this article!

Family Buthidae

21 April, 2017

Scorpion defensive behaviour and its relation to morphology and performance


Scorpions are infamous for their tail and venomous sting. The sting is used for defense and prey capture, and in some cases during mating. The scorpions tail comes in many shapes and sizes. And different species use their tail different (they sting in different ways).

In a recent study, Pedro Coelho and co-workers have investigated the movement trajectory and kinematics of the defensive strike in seven species of scorpions from two families. Not surprisingly, they discovered that the defensive use of the sting varied between the species. The article try to explain the observed differences by looking at differences in morphology, habitat, behavior and other factors.

PS! Take a look at the excellent video on YouTube explaining the project!

Abstract:
1. Like many other venomous organisms, scorpions use their venom in defence against predators. Scorpions apply their venomous stinger by extending the caudal part of the body, the metasoma, forward towards the attacker. There are considerable differences in metasoma morphology among scorpion species, and these may afford differences in defensive strike performance.
2. We investigated the movement trajectory and kinematics of the defensive strike in seven species of scorpions, and how these variables are related to each other, and to morphology.
3. We recorded defensive strikes using high-speed video, and reconstructed the trajectory of the telson. From these trajectories, we calculated velocity, acceleration and other kinematic variables. To compare strike trajectory shapes, we used geometric morphometrics.
4. We have shown that the defensive strike differs in trajectory shape, speed, path length and duration between scorpion species. Body size is also an important factor affecting strike characteristics. Relative metasoma length and girth may also influence strike performance, as well as strike trajectory shape. Strikes with different trajectories have different kinematic properties: those with open trajectory shapes attain higher speeds.
5. Our results show that performance differences in defensive behaviour between different scorpion species may be partly mediated by morphology, binding together phenotypic, functional and behavioural diversity.


Reference:
Coelho P, Kaliontzopoulou A, Rasko M, van der Meijden A. A ‘striking’ relationship: scorpion defensive behaviour and its relation to morphology and performance. Functional Ecology. 2017; Early View. [Subscription required for full text]

19 April, 2017

What is the best treatment for scorpion envenomations?


Scorpions are still a significant cause for mortality, especially in developing countries. The are several treatment strategies available for serious scorpion stings. Some involves the use of anti-venom, while others are based on symptomatic treatment. Studies so far has shown that one treatment strategy works for some species, but are less effective for others.

Rodrigo and Gnanathasan have recently published a systematic review on scorpion envenomations trying to find the best evidence available for the efficiency of the different treatment strategies used against serious scorpion envenomation around the world.

The main conclusion is that the polyvalent antivenom against Centruroides sp. in USA/Mexico and the monovalent antivenom against Hottentotta tamulus in India are effective for rapid resolution of symptoms. Prazosin is useful as an add-on therapy for H. tamulus stings. I recommend reading the article for further details.

Abstract:
Background: Scorpion stings cause an estimated 3000 deaths per annum worldwide. We conducted a systematic review of all controlled clinical trials related to scorpion sting management.
Methods: We searched PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus, Web of Science and CINAHL and included controlled prospective clinical trials (randomized or non-randomized). The following interventions were assessed: adults and children with scorpion stings treated with (a) steroids vs. placebo, (b) different methods of pain relief, (c) antivenom vs. supportive treatment, (d) prazosin vs. supportive treatment, (e) antivenom vs. prazosin and (f) antivenom plus prazosin vs. prazosin alone. When trials had comparative outcomes, they were combined in a meta-analysis. Data was analysed with Review Manager 5. Dichotomous data were compared with relative risk (RR), and continuous data were compared with mean differences using a fixed effect model. There is no PROSPERO registration number for this study.
Results: Antivenom against Centruroides sp. are effective in reversing the clinical syndrome faster than no antivenom treatment in children (RR, 0.02; 95% CI, 0.01 to 0.06; 322 participants; three trials). Antivenom (against Mesobuthus tamulus) and prazosin combination is better than prazosin alone for faster resolution of symptoms (mean difference, −12.59 h; 95% CI, −14.01 to −11.17; 173 participants; three trials).
Conclusions: The polyvalent antivenom against Centruroides sp. in USA/Mexico and the monovalent antivenom against M. tamulus in India are effective for rapid resolution of symptoms. Prazosin is useful as an add-on therapy for M. tamulus stings.


Reference:
Rodrigo C, Gnanathasan A. Management of scorpion envenoming: a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials. Systematic Reviews. 2017;6(1):74. [Open Access]

07 April, 2017

A new species of Pandinurus from Somaliland


Frantisek Kovarik and his co-workers studying the scorpion fauna of The Horn of Africa recently published a new species in the genus Pandinurus Fet, 1997 (Scorpionidae).

Pandinurus kmoniceki Kovarik, Lowe, Mazuch, Pliskova & Stahlavsky, 2017

The article is well illustrated with color pictures.

Abstract:
Pandinurus kmoniceki sp. n. from Somaliland is described and fully complemented with color photos of live and preserved specimens, as well as its habitat. Hemispermatophore of P. kmoniceki sp. n. is illustrated and described. In addition to the analyses of external morphology and hemispermatophores, we also describe the karyotypes of P. kmoniceki sp. n. (2n=120).

Reference:
Kovarik F, Lowe G, Mazuch T, Pliskova J, Stahlavsky F. Scorpions of the Horn of Africa (Arachnida: Scorpiones). Part XI. Pandinurus kmoniceki sp. n. (Scorpionidae) from Somaliland. Euscorpius. 2017(243):1-14. [Open Access]

Family Scorpionidae

06 April, 2017

A new genus and species from the Argentinean Precordillera


Andres Ojanguren Affilastro and Camilo Mattoni have recently described a new genus and a new species from the Argentinean Precordillera.

Mauryius Ojanguren-Affilastro & Mattoni, 2017

Mauryius cuyanus Ojanguren-Affilastro & Mattoni, 2017

Abstract:
Mauryius n.gen., a new bothriurid scorpion genus from the Argentinean Precordillera, is described, and its phylogenetic position is discussed based on a phylogenetic analysis of morphological data. Mauryius n.gen. is the first scorpion genus endemic to the Argentinean Precordillera. It is most closely related to Pachakutej Ochoa, 2004 from the inter-Andean valleys of Peru and to Rumikiru Ojanguren-Affilastro, Mattoni, Ochoa & Prendini, 2012 from the Atacama Desert in Chile. Mauryius cuyanus n.sp., the only known species of the genus, is described. Biogeographical implications of Mauryius relationships are discussed.

Reference:
Ojanguren-Affilastro AA, Mattoni C. Mauryius n.gen. (Scorpiones: Bothriuridae), a new neotropical scorpion genus. Arthropod Systematics & Phylogeny. 2017;75(1):125-39.[Open Access]

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for sending me this article!

Family Bothriuridae

28 March, 2017

An update on the scorpion fauna of Kerala, India


Information about the scorpion fauna is important and we still have a lot of undiscovered taxa or populations in many areas of the world. Aswathi & Sureshan recently published the results of a survey of the scorpion fauna of Kerala, India, also including a checklist and an identification key for the taxa in this region.

Abstract:
Two species of scorpions (Arachnida: Scorpiones) Lychas laevifrons (Pocock), and Heterometrus flavimanus (Pocock) are reported for the first time from Kerala, and an illustrated key to the genera and checklist of scorpion species of Kerala are provided. Currently, 22 species belonging to nine genera of scorpions are known from the state.

Reference:
Aswathi K, Sureshan PM. Additions to the scorpion fauna (Arachnida: Scorpiones) of Kerala, India, with an illustrated key to the genera. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 2017;9(2):9844–50. [Open Access]

Thanks to Dr. Aswathi for sending me their article!

24 March, 2017

A new species of troglomorphic, forest leaf litter-dwelling scorpion from Columbia


For some reason I'm a fan of small, troglomorphic scorpions like the European Belisarius Simon, 1870 (Troglotayosicidae), which I was lucky to keep in captivity some years ago. Another fascinating genus in this category is Troglotayosicus Lourenço, 1981 (Troglotayosicidae), in which all species are missing the median eyes. Ricardo Botero-Trujillo and co-workers have recently described a new species in this genus from Columbia.

Troglotayosicus meijdeni Botero-Trujillo, Gonzalez-Gomez, Valenzuela-Rojas & Garcia, 2017

The number of species in the genus is now raised to four, but only T. vachoni Lourenço, 1981is a true troglobitic species. The other species are inhabitants of the leaf litter layer in montane regions in Andes.

Abstract:
We describe a new scorpion species in the troglomorphic genus Troglotayosicus Lourenço, 1981 from Colombia. Troglotayosicus meijdeni sp. nov. inhabits the forest leaf litter at Rivera municipality, on the western slope of the Eastern Andes. The male of the new species remains unknown; however, this species can be distinguished from other species in the genus by the female (and juvenile) morphology. The type locality of T. meijdeni sp. nov. represents the northernmost known record for a population of Troglotayosicus, further extending the known limits of distribution of this genus, and shedding more light on the distributional range of this group of scorpions in northwestern South America. With this description, the number of known species of Troglotayosicus is raised to four; three of them are endogean species living in forested areas in the Andean region of Colombia, whereas one is a hypogean species from a cave in Ecuadorian Amazonia.

Reference:
Botero-Trujillo R, Gonzalez-Gomez JC, Valenzuela-Rojes JC, Garcia LF. A new species in the troglomorphic scorpion genus Troglotayosicus from Colombia, representing the northernmost known record for the genus (Scorpiones, Troglotayosicidae). Zootaxa. 2017;4244(4):568-82. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Ricardo Botero-Trujillo for sending me their article!

Family Troglotayosicidae

23 March, 2017

Habitat selection in two Vaejovis species from Arizona


Some scorpions dig burrows, some hide in cracks and crevices in rock walls, other just hide under stones and other suitable surface objects. The reason for a species' retreat choice may be affected by temperature- or climatic preferences, predator pressure, prey availability and similar.

Becker and Brown published a study in December on the factors affecting retreat sites in two species of Vaejovis C. L. Koch, 1836 (Vaejovidae) (V. cashi Graham 2007 and V. electrum Hughes 2011) in Arizona, USA.

The main conclusion is that both Vaejovis cashi and V. electrum selected larger retreat sites that had more stable thermal profiles. Se abstract for more conclusions from this study.

Abstract:
Sky island scorpions shelter under rocks and other surface debris, but, as with other scorpions, it is unclear whether these species select retreat sites randomly. Furthermore, little is known about the thermal preferences of scorpions, and no research has been done to identify whether reproductive condition might influence retreat site selection. The objectives were to (1) identify physical or thermal characteristics for retreat sites occupied by two sky island scorpions (Vaejovis cashi Graham 2007 and V. electrum Hughes 2011) and those not occupied; (2) determine whether retreat site selection differs between the two study species; and (3) identify whether thermal selection differs between species and between gravid and non-gravid females of the same species. Within each scorpion's habitat, maximum dimensions of rocks along a transect line were measured and compared to occupied rocks to determine whether retreat site selection occurred randomly. Temperature loggers were placed under a subset of occupied and unoccupied rocks for 48 hours to compare the thermal characteristics of these rocks. Thermal gradient trials were conducted before parturition and after dispersal of young in order to identify whether gravidity influences thermal preference. Vaejovis cashi and V. electrum both selected larger retreat sites that had more stable thermal profiles. Neither species appeared to have thermal preferences influenced by reproductive condition. However, while thermal selection did not differ among non-gravid individuals, gravid V. electrum selected warmer temperatures than its gravid congener. Sky island scorpions appear to select large retreat sites to maintain thermal stability, although biotic factors (e.g., competition) could also be involved in this choice. Future studies should focus on identifying the various biotic or abiotic factors that could influence retreat site selection in scorpions, as well as determining whether reproductive condition affects thermal selection in other arachnids.

Reference:
Becker JE, Brown CA. Reliable Refuge: Two Sky Island Scorpion Species Select Larger, Thermally Stable Retreat Sites. PLoS One. 2016;11(12):e0168105. [Open Access]

Thanks to Matt Simon for informing me about this article!