29 December, 2010

Life cycle data for Opisthacanthus madagascariensis

Wilson Lourenco and co-workers have recently published a paper with life history data for Opisthacanthus madagascariensis (Hemiscorpiidae) from Madagascar.

Biological observations were made during the 1980s by the senior author on living specimens of Opisthacanthus madagascariensis Kraepelin, 1894. These were collected by French biologists on a field trip in 1980-1981 to the Parc National de Namoroka, Mahajanga Province, Madagascar. The total duration of embryonic development averaged 18 months. The moults necessary to reach the various juvenile instars and adulthood took place at average ages of 13, 101, 204, 327 and 442 days. These developmental periods are significantly longer than those of most medium-sized species of scorpions but are similar to the ones previously observed in other species of the genus Opisthacanthus. Morphometric growth values of the different instars are also similar to those in other known species of Opisthacanthus. A significant allometric growing of pedipalps is observed for some males collected in the field, suggesting the existence of at least one extra instar.

Lourenco WR, Leguin E-A, Cloudsley Thompson JL. The life cycle of the Malagasy scorpion Opisthacanthus madagascariensis Kraepelin, 1894 (Liochelidae). Entomol Mitt Zool Mus Hamburg. 2010;15(183):173-82.

Family Hemiscorpiidae

23 December, 2010

Seasons Greeting

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Peaceful New Year!

Jan Ove Rein
Editor of The Scorpion Files

New Heterometrus from India

Javed and co-workers has recently described a new Heterometrus (Scorpionidae) from India:

Heterometrus telanganaensis Javed, Mirza, Tampal & Lourenco, 2010

The papers also has some information about the new species' natural history.

A distinctive new species of the genus Heterometrus Ehrenberg, 1828 is described from the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Heterometrus telanganaensis sp. nov. differs from all Indian species of the genus in being one of the smallest species with a relatively short metasoma.

Maqsood Javed SM, Mirza ZA, Tampal F, Lourenco WR. A new species of the genus Heterometrus Ehrenberg, 1828 (Scorpiones: Scorpionidae) from India with notes on its natural history. Boletin de la SEA. 2010(47):143-8.

Thanks to Javed for sending me the paper and sharing the picture with The Scorpion Files!

Family Scorpionidae

21 December, 2010

Biochemical analysis of Hemiscorpius lepturus venom

Hemiscorpius lepturus Peters, 1861 (Hemiscorpiidae) is a highly cytotoxic scorpions that has the highest mortality rate among scorpions in Iran. Causing different symptoms than most other scorpions, knowledge about the biochemistry and toxicology of the Hemiscorpius venom is important.

Ramin Seyedian and co-workers have now published an enzymatic analysis of Hemiscorpius lepturus venom that increase the knowledge of the venom composition and how the venom works on the human body. This knowledge is important in the development of better treatment of the sting victims of this dangerous species.

Hemiscorpius lepturus envenomation exhibits various pathological changes in the affected tissues, including skin, blood cells, cardiovascular and central nervous systems. The enzymatic activity and protein component of the venom have not been described previously. In the present study, the electrophoretic profile of H. lepturus venom was determined by SDS-PAGE (12 and 15%), resulting in major protein bands at 3.5–5, 30–35 and 50–60 kDa. The enzymatic activities of the venomwas, for the first time, investigated using various zymography techniques, which showed the gelatinolytic, caseinolytic, and hyaluronidase activities mainly at around 50–60 kDa, 30–40 kDa, and 40–50 kDa, respectively. Among these, the proteolytic activities was almost completely disappeared in the presence of a matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor, 1, 10-phenanthroline. Antigen-antibody interactions between the venom and its Iranian antivenin was observed by Western blotting, and it showed several antigenic proteins in the range of 30–160 kDa. This strong antigen– antibody reaction was also demonstrated through an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The gelatinase activity of the venom was suppressed by Razi institute polyvalent antivenin, suggesting the inhibitory effect of the antivenin against H. lepturus venom protease activities. Prudently, more extensive clinical studies are necessary for validation of its use in envenomed patients.

Seyedian R, Pipelzadeh MH, Jalali A, Kim E, Lee H, Kang C, et al. Enzymatic analysis of Hemiscorpius lepturus scorpion venom using zymography and venom-specific antivenin. Toxicon. 2010 Sep 15;56(4):521-5. [Subscription required for fulltext]

Thanks to Ramin Seyedian for sending me this paper!

17 December, 2010

Water loss in scorpions

Scorpions are known for low metabolic rates and low water loss rates. Previously, we have learned that mesic and/or burrowing species have had lower water loss rates than xeric species due to a life in a "better" microclimate. A new study shows that it ain't necessarily so.

Eran Gefen have now published a very interesting study investigating how the relative importance of respiratory water loss is correlated with species habitat type and activity pattern, using both xeric and mesic and burrowing and non-burrowing species. Also, Gefen's study has an improved experimental design placing the scorpions in a more realistic situation during experiments and thereby getting more realistic data for water loss and metabolic rates.

A summery of the results and conclusions can be seen in the abstract below.

Scorpions exhibit some of the lowest recorded water loss rates compared with those of other terrestrial arthropods of similar body size. Evaporative water loss (EWL) includes cuticular transpiration and respiratory water loss (RWL) from gas exchange surfaces, that is, book lung lamellae. Estimated fractions of cuticular and respiratory losses currently available from the literature show considerable variation, at least partly as a result of differences in methodology. This study reports RWL rates and their relative importance in scorpions from two families (Buthidae and Scorpionidae), including both xeric and mesic species (or subspecies). Two of the included Buthidae were surface-dwelling species, and another inhabits empty burrows of other terrestrial arthropods. This experimental design enabled correlating RWL importance with scorpion phylogeny, habitat type, and/or homing behavior. Buthidae species exhibited significantly lower EWL rates compared with those of Scorpionidae, whereas effects of habitat type and homing behavior were not significant. Resting RWL rates were not significantly affected by scorpion phylogeny, but rates for the xeric species (totaling ∼10% of EWL rates at 30 C) were significantly lower compared with those of mesic species. These lower RWL values
were correlated with significantly lowerH2O/CO2 emission rates in xeric species. The experimental setup and ∼24-h duration of each individual recording allowed estimating the effect of interspecific variation in activity on RWL proportions. The high respiratory losses in active hydrated Scorpio maurus fuscus, totaling 30% of EWL, suggest that behavioral discretion in this species is a more likely mechanism for body water conservation under stressful conditions when compared with the responses of other studied species.

Gefen E. The Relative Importance of Respiratory Water Loss in Scorpions Is Correlated with Species Habitat Type and Activity Pattern. Physiol Biochem Zool. 2010 Nov 19. [Published ahead of print] [Subscription required for fulltext]

Thanks to Dr. Gefen for sending me this paper!

16 December, 2010

A new Butheoloides from Morocco

Wilson Lourenco has described a new species of Butheoloides Hirst, 1925 (Buthidae) from Morocco, bringing the number of species in the genus up to 13:

Butheoloides slimanii Lourenco, 2010

The paper also record Butheoloides monodi Vachon, 1950 from Guinea Bissau for the first time.

A new species belonging to the genus Butheoloides Hirst, 1925 (subgenus Butheoloides Hirst, 1925) (Scorpiones, Buthidae) is described from the northern range of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. With the description of Butheoloides (Butheoloides) slimanii sp. n., the total number of species known from Morocco is
raised to four. Butheoloides (Butheoloides) monodi Vachon, 1950 is also recorded from Guinea Bissau for the first time.

Lourenco WR. A new species of Butheoloides Hirst, 1925 from Morocco (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Entomol Mitt Zool Mus Hamburg. 2010;15(183):183-9.

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for sending me this paper!

Family Buthidae

A remarkable new genus and species of Pseudochactidae from Vietnam

New scorpion taxa are discovered regularly, but sometimes really fantastic discoveries are made. This is one of them! Lourenco & Pham have recently described a remarkable new troglobitic genus and species from the Tien Son Cave in Vietnam. The new taxa belongs to the enigmatic family Pseudochactidae Gromov, 1998, which now has three genera with three species from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Laos and Vietnam. There is not a consensus within the scorpion community on the phylogenetic position of this family, but there is an agreement that this family has a basal status among recent scorpions.

Vietbocap Lourenco & Pham, 2010
Vietbocap canhi Lourenco & Pham, 2010

This is the first true troglobite (loss of eyes and pigmentation and living in caves) reported for this family.

A new genus and species of scorpion belonging to the family Pseudochactidae are described based on four specimens collected in the Tien Son cave at the Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park, Quang Binh Province, Vietnam. The new species represents a true troglobitic element, the first one known for the family Pseudochactidae. This represents the third known record of a pseudochactid, and the first from Vietnam.

Lourenco WR, Pham D-S. A remarkable new cave scorpion of the family Pseudochactidae Gromov (Chelicerata, Scorpiones) from Vietnam. ZooKeys. 2010;71:1-13. [Free fulltext, but article not available online yet]

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for sending me this paper!

Family Pseudochactidae

15 December, 2010

First record of Orthochirus from Turkey

Ersen Yagmur has recently published a paper reporting the first occurrence of the genus Orthochirus Karsch, 1891 (Buthidae) from Turkey. The species found was O. zagrosensis Kovarik, 2004, which previously has been reported only from Iran.

The above raises the number of Turkish genera and species to 11 and 23.

This study reports the first record of a genus and a species for the Turkish scorpion fauna. The scorpion Orthochirus zagrosensis Kovařík, 2004 is recorded from Hakkari Province. Body measurements and geographical distribution of the species are provided.

Yagmur EA. First record of Orthochirus Karsch, 1891 (Scorpiones, Buthidae) from Turkey. Anadolu Doga Bilimleri Dergisi. 2010;1(1):15-9. [Free fulltext]

Thanks to Ersen for sending me this paper!

14 December, 2010

Scorpion fluorescence - a way to avoid moonlight?

Scorpions fluorescence under UV-light. This is a great phenomenon for scorpion scientists and enthusiasts wanting to find and study scorpions, but its function has not been known so far. Suggested functions have been uv-light detection, mate identification, species identification, luring of prey, light amplification and that the fluorescence has no fuction at all.

Carl Kloock has written several papers on scorpion fluorescence (previous blog post), and in his latest paper (authored together with Abraham Kubli and Ricco Reynolds) it is concluded that their experimental data support the hypothesis that scorpion fluorescence serves as a means for the detection of UV-light at very low levels. Further, it is suggested that the UV-light acts as a cue for moonlight avoidance (fluorescence is a way to detect the presence of uv-light which is correlated to a moonlit night and this cause the scorpions to stay hidden in their hidings).

This is the first experimental evidence for a potential function for scorpion fluorescence, but further studies are necessary before final conclusion can be made on this phenomenon.

The hypothesis that fluorescence in scorpions functions in the detection of ultraviolet light was tested. We reduced the fluorescence of scorpions by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light on a 16:8 h light:dark cycle and compared their activity levels and light environment choices to unmodified scorpions in simple arenas that were half in shadow and half exposed to light. Three different lighting conditions were tested: infrared (IR) light only, IR + ultraviolet light and IR + white light. Treatments were illuminated by infrared light for videotaping. Activity level was measured by the number of transitions from the exposed to shadowed regions, and choice was measured by the percentage of time spent in the shadowed portion of the arena. Under IR + ultraviolet light, fluorescent scorpions reduced their activity levels and the variance in habitat choice increased, compared with reduced-fluorescence scorpions. There were no differences between fluorescent and non-fluorescent scorpions in the IR only condition or in the IR + white light condition. This is interpreted as evidence that fluorescence aids in the detection of and response to ultraviolet light, and possible implications of this result in natural habitats are discussed. This is the first experimental demonstration of a possible function for scorpion fluorescence.

Kloock CT, Kubli A, Reynolds R. Ultraviolet light detection: A function of scorpion fluorescence. Journal of Arachnology. 2010;38(3):441-5. [Subscription required for fulltext, but free fulltext after 12 months]

13 December, 2010

Scorpion stings in children in Tunisia

As mentioned in a previous posting, children are more vulnerable to scorpion stings than adults. Bahloul and co-workers have now published an extensive study of scorpion envenomation among 685 children in Tunisia.

The most dangerous species in the study area were Androctonus australis and "Buthus occitanus" [The former Buthus occitanus and subspecies in North Africa has been split into new several new species and it is not possible for me to say which species that may be the one(s) involved in serious envenomations in Tunisa].

Our objective was to characterize both epidemiologically and clinically manifestations after severe scorpion envenomation and to define simple factors indicative of poor prognosis in children. We performed a retrospective study over 13 years (1990–2002) in the medical intensive care unit (ICU) of a university hospital (Sfax-Tunisia). The diagnosis of scorpion envenomation was based on a history of scorpion sting. The medical records of 685 children aged less than 16 years who were admitted for a scorpion sting were analyzed. There were 558 patients (81.5%) in the grade III group (with cardiogenic shock and/or pulmonary edema or severe neurological manifestation [coma and/or convulsion]) and 127 patients (18.5%) in the grade II group (with systemic manifestations). In this study, 434 patients (63.4%) had a pulmonary edema, and 80 patients had a cardiogenic shock; neurological manifestations were observed in 580 patients (84.7%), 555 patients (81%) developed systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), and 552 patients (80.6%) developed multi-organ failure. By the end of the stay in the ICU, evolution was marked by the death in 61 patients (8.9%). A multivariate analysis found the following factors to be correlated with a poor outcome: coma with Glasgow coma score ≤ 8/15 (odds ratio [OR] = 1.3), pulmonary edema (OR = 2.3), and cardiogenic shock (OR = 1.7). In addition, a significant association was found between the development of SIRS and heart failure. Moreover, a temperature > 39°C was associated with the presence of pulmonary edema, with a sensitivity at 20.6%, a specificity at 94.4%, and a positive predictive value at 91.7%. Finally, blood sugar levels above 15 mmol/L were significantly associated with a heart failure. In children admitted for severe scorpion envenomation, coma with Glasgow coma score ≤ edema, and cardiogenic shock were associated with a poor outcome. The presence of SIRS, a temperature > 39°C, and blood sugar levels above 15 mmol/L were associated with heart failure. 8/15, pulmonary

Bahloul M, Chabchoub I, Chaari A, Chtara K, Kallel H, Dammak H, et al. Scorpion envenomation among children: clinical manifestations and outcome (analysis of 685 cases). Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2010 Nov;83(5):1084-92. [Subscription required for fulltext]

10 December, 2010

Mesobuthus eupeus - a species complex?

Mesobuthus eupeus (C. L. Koch, 1839) is the most widely dispersed species in the genus Mesobuthus and even one of the most widespread species within the family Buthidae. It has been reported from eastern and central parts of Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, southern Russia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Central Asia, southern Mongolia and northern China. Several subspecies have been described with varying degrees of morphological variations.

Omid Mirshamsi and co-workers have now published a paper on the phylogenetic relationships of Mesobuthus eupeus based on genetic analysis of 59 specimens. The resulting data indicate two distinct lineages within the species, suggesting that it may be a species complex consiting of at least two species. More studies are necessary though, before any taxonomic decisions can be made.

In this study, the first molecular phylogenetic analysis of Mesobuthus eupeus in Iran is presented based on sequence data of a ∼ 700-base-pair fragment of cytochrome C oxidase, subunit I. Phylogenetic relationships were inferred using parsimony, maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference. The results support monophyly of M. eupeus, but there is a clear divergence between northern and southern clades. The northern clade includes four subspecies – M. e. eupeus, M. e. philippovitschi, M. e. afghanus and M. e. thersites; whereas the southern clade is comprised of two others – M. e. phillipsi and M. e. kirmanensis. Accordingly, possible scenarios for the evolution and phylogeographic structure of M. eupeus based on the geological history of the Iranian Plateau were proposed. The observation of two distinct lineages supports the proposal that M. eupeus might be a species complex composed of species with highly similar morphological features.

Mirshamsi O, Sari A, Elahi E, Hosseinie S. Phylogenetic relationships of Mesobuthus eupeus (C.L. Koch, 1839) inferred from COI sequences (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Journal of Natural History. 2010;44(47):2851-72.

Thanks to Dr. Mirshamsi for sending me this paper!

Family Buthidae

Description of the female of Oiclus nanus

Teruel & Chazal described very recently Oiclus nanus Teruel & Chazal, 2010 (Scorpionidae) from Guadeloupe, Lesser Antilles. In the current paper, the adult female is described for the first time.

The adult female of Oiclus nanus Teruel et Chazal, 2010 is herein described for the first time, on the basis of a topotypic specimen. Taxonomic diagnosis of this species endemic from Guadeloupe is emended, and the comparison to its closest relative is also improved.

Teruel R, Chazal L. On the adult female of Oiclus nanus Teruel et Chazal, 2010 (Scorpiones: Scorpionidae: Diplocentrinae). Euscorpius. 2010(106):1-6. [Free fulltext]

Family Scorpionidae

09 December, 2010

Three cases of Euscorpius sting in Italy

I always tell peoples that contact me after finding Euscorpius in their homes and holliday houses in France, Italy and Greece that no species in this genus are harmless. This info is based on own experiences and the general opinion among scorpion experts, but there is very little in the literature adressing the consequences of stings from this genus.

M. Dutto and co-workers have now published three case reports of Euscorpius sting from northwestern Italy. Fortunately, this study confirms the general notion that Euscorpius mainly causes local effects like pain, skin discoloration and swelling, and that symptoms rapidly dissipate. Other symptoms may have a psychological etiology because of patient's fear and agitation from the sting.

One important caution from the authors however, is that patients where the involved scorpion has not been identified should be observed for a time. Non-native scorpions to Italy/Europe (either introduced as stowaways or kept as pets) may have been involved, and these may cause more serious symptoms.

In the period between June 2008 and August 2009, three cases of stings of Euscorpius scorpions indigenous to Italy were treated at two different emergency departments (ED) in hospitals of the Piedmont region, northwest Italy: Santa Croce e Carle General Hospital in Cuneo, and Santissima Annunziata Hospital in Savigliano. Scorpion stings in Italy are rare and not well documented in the literature; this situation may raise doubts among medical personnel as to how such lesions are best treated. Analysis of the incidents confirms that the venom of Euscorpius do not provokes systemic poisoning in humans and in these cases even dermatological reactions were not significant.

Dutto M, Dutto L, Scaglione N, Bertero M. Euscorpius (Scorpiones, Euscorpiidae): three cases of stings in northwestern Italy. Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins Including Tropical Diseases. 2010;16(4):659-63. [Free fulltext]

02 December, 2010

Scorpion eating bats

Even though scorpions are notorious predators with a venomous sting, they also are prey for other predators including several vertebrate predators like reptiles, birds and mammals. Marc Holderied and co-workers have published an interesting study showing how the Hemprich's long-eared bat (Otonycteris hemprichii) prey on scorpions in Israel.

Interestingly, the bats didn't differ between potent species like Leiurus quinquestriatus and more harmless species like Scorpio maurus, and stings didn't change the bat's behavior and caused no sign of poisoning.

Over 70% of the droppings of the gleaning bat Otonycteris hemprichii can contain scorpion fragments. Yet, some scorpions found in its desert habitat possess venom of the highest known toxicity, rendering them a very dangerous prey. In this study, we describe how O. hemprichii catches and handles scorpions, quantify its flight and echolocation behaviour in the field, investigate what sensory modality it uses to detect scorpions, and test whether it selects scorpions according to their size or toxicity. We confirmed that O. hemprichi is a whispering bat (approx. 80 dB peSPL) with short, multi-harmonic calls. In a flight room we also confirmed that O. hemprichii detects scorpions by their walking noises. Amplitudes of such noises were measured and they reach the flying bat at or below the level of echoes of the loess substrate. Bats dropped straight onto moving scorpions and were stung frequently even straight in their face. Stings did not change the bats’ behaviour and caused no signs of poisoning. Scorpions were eaten including poison gland and stinger. Bats showed no preference neither for any of the scorpion species nor their size suggesting they are generalist predators with regard to scorpions.

Holderied M, Korine C, Moritz T. Hemprich's long-eared bat (Otonycteris hemprichii) as a predator of scorpions: whispering echolocation, passive gleaning and prey selection. J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2010. Ahead of Print Nov 18. DOI: 10.1007/s00359-010-0608-3. [Subscription required for fulltext]

30 November, 2010

Four new Vaejovis from Mexico

Carlos Santibanez-Lopez and Oscar Francke has published a new paper on new and poorly known species in the mexicanus group of Vaejovis (Vaejovidae):

Vaejovis darwini Santibanez-Lopez & Francke, 2010
Vaejovis dzahui Santibanez-Lopez & Francke, 2010
Vaejovis prendinii Santibanez-Lopez & Francke, 2010
Vaejovis zapoteca Santibanez-Lopez & Francke, 2010

The paper has an identification key for the species in the mexicanus genus group.

Four new species belonging to the mexicanus group of the genus Vaejovis C.L. Koch 1836 from Oaxaca, Mexico are described. The number of species of this group for the state is raised to seven. The males of V. franckei and V. setosus are described for the first time. A key to Oaxacan species of the mexicanus group is provided.

Santibanez-Lopez CE, Francke OF. New and poorly known species of the mexicanus group of the genus Vaejovis (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae) from Oaxaca, Mexico. Journal of Arachnology. 2010;38:555-71. [Subscription required for fulltext, but free fulltext after one year

Thanks to Carlos Santibanez-Lopez for sending me this paper!

Family Vaejovidae

24 November, 2010

A new Chaerilus from Indonesia

Lourenco and Duhem are continuing their investigations into the Chaerilus fauna of Asia. In a recent paper they describe a new species from the island of Halmahera in Indonesia:

Chaerilus spinatus Lourenco & Duhem, 2010 (Chaerilidae)

A new species belonging to the genus Chaerilus Simon, 1877, Chaerilus spinatus sp. n. is described from the island of Halmahera, Indonesia. Chaerilus celebensis Pocock, 1894, originally described from Luwu, Celebes (Sulawesi) Island, is confirmed as a distinct species and as a possible endemic element to the Celebes. Two species of Chaerilus are at present known to Halmahera, the second one being Chaerilus telnovi Lourenco, 2009.

Lourenco WR, Duhem B. One more new species of Chaerilus Simon, 1877 (Scorpiones, Chaerilidae) from the island of Halmahera, Indonesia. Acta Arachnologica. 2010;59(1):25-30. [Free fultext]

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for sending me this paper!

Family Chaerilidae

17 November, 2010

News on rare Colombian scorpions

Rolando Teruel and Cesar Roncallo have published a new paper with news on rare and poorly known taxa from Colombia.

One of the main results are that Tityus erikae Lourenco, 1999 is synonymized with Tityus tayrona Lourenco, 1991.

The results of the study of new samples of scorpions from Colombia are presented. Tityus erikaeTityus tayrona Lourenço, 1991, and the adult female of Tarsoporosus macuira Teruel et Roncallo, 2007 is described for the first time. Also, new locality records and supplementary information on morphological variability (including some diagnosis updates) are given for Centruroides margaritatus (Gervais, 1841), Rhopalurus caribensis Teruel et Roncallo, 2008, Tityus tayrona, and Tarsoporosus macuira. Lourenço, 1999 is demonstrated to be a junior synonym of

Teruel R, Roncallo CA. Rare or poorly known scorpions from Colombia. IV. Additions, synonymies and new records (Scorpiones: Buthidae, Scorpionidae). Euscorpius. 2010(105):1-15. [Free fulltext]

Family Buthidae

12 November, 2010

Review on Teuthraustes and a new species

Lourenco & Duhem have published an discussion on the biogeography of the South American genus Teuthraustes Simon, 1878 (Chactidae). In addition, a new species is described from Brazil:

Teuthraustes braziliensis Lourenco & Duhem, 2010

A new species of scorpion, Teuthraustes braziliensis sp. n. (Scorpiones, Chactidae), is described from the State of Amazonas, Brazil. This is the second species of the genus to be collected in the lowlands of SouthAmerica, and the third record of a scorpion of the genus Teuthraustes to be recorded from Brazilian Amazonia. The total number of species of Teuthraustes is now raised to 21. The patterns of distribution of the genus are commented upon, and its geographical distribution is also enlarged.

Lourenço WR, Duhem B. The geographical pattern of distribution of the genus Teuthraustes Simon (Scorpiones, Chactidae) in South America and description of a new species. Comptes Rendus - Biologies. 2010;In Press. DOI:10.1016/j.crvi.2010.09.005. [Subscription required for fulltext]

Family Chactidae

04 November, 2010

Scorpion stings in Children - Treatment

Rajniti Prasad and co-workers have recently published a study on scorpion envenomation in children in India and the factors affecting the outcome. It is well known that children are at greater risk of developing severe cardiac, respiratory and neurological complications as compared to adults.

The current study present a management protocol for scorpion sting enevomation.

The most dangerous scorpion in India is Hottentotta tamulus (previously known as Mesobuthus tamulus) in the family Buthidae.

Objective To identify and correlate various factors affecting the outcome of children with scorpion sting envenomation treated with prazosin in a tertiary care hospital. Methods The study included 90 children admitted with scorpion sting envenomation over a period of four and half year. Grading of severity was done on the basis of local or systemic involvement, and management protocol was followed as per hospital guidelines. All cases with envenomation were given prazosin at a dose of 30 μg/kg/ dose;first repeat dose at 3 h followed by every 6 h till recovery. Patients with acute pulmonary edema (APE) were treated as per standard protocol. Results All patients had perspiration and cold extremities. Most of them had sting over extremities except two,having over the trunk. Shock was present in 48(53.3%), whereas myocarditis, encephalopathy, pulmonary edema and priapism were present in 38(42.2%), 32(35.5%), 34(37.8%), and
28(31.1%) children, respectively. Eight (8.9%) children had died. The mean value of blood pressure, sodium and potassium among survivors and non-survivors was insignificant. Mortality was significantly higher in children presented after 6 h of bite. Patients, who had metaboloic acidosis, tachpnea, myocarditis, APE, encephalopathy and priapism had significantly higher mortality (p<0.05).

Prasad R, Mishra OP, Pandey N, Singh TB. Scorpion Sting Envenomation in Children: Factors Affecting the Outcome. Indian J Pediatr. 2010 Oct 13 [ePub ahead of print]. [Subscription required for fulltext]

Redescription of Scorpiops margerisonae from China

Zhi-Young Di and the late Ming-Sheng Zhu has published a redescription of Scorpiops margerisonae Kovarik, 2000 from China. The paper also described the female of the species for the first time.

Scorpiops margerisonae Kovařík, 2000 (Euscorpiidae: Scorpiopinae), from China (Xizang) is redescribed; its female is reported and depicted here for the first time.

Di Z-Y, Zhu MS. Redescription of Scorpiops margerisonae Kovarik, 2000, with the first record of its female, from China (Xizang) (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae: Scorpiopinae). Euscorpius. 2010(104):1-9. [Free fultext]

Family Euscorpiidae

28 October, 2010

The female reproductive system in scorpions - a review

For those interested in the the reproductive system of scorpions, professor Warburg has now published a partial review on the reproductive system of female scorpions.

The female scorpion ovariuterus was examined in 10 scorpion species belonging to five families: Buthidae, Vaejovidae, Scorpionidae, Urodacidae, and Diplocentridae. Two main patterns of development are known in scorpions: (1) The apoikogenic type with an ovariuterus containing yolkrich eggs housed in follicles. This type is found in many scorpion taxa (largely buthids). A peculiar case of apoikogenic ovariuterus is a ‘‘beaded’’ ovariuterus where most of the ova’s embryogenesis takes place inside the ovariuterus rather than on pedicels situated on the external wall of the ovariuterus as in most buthids. This type is found in a few scorpion species. (2) The katoikogenic type with an ovariuterus where the embryo develops in a diverticulum composed of four parts: a stalk (pedicel), a thickened collar, a conical portion containing the ovum, and an appendix containing the oral feeding apparatus where the embryos’ chelicerae grip a ‘‘teat’’-like structure, described in four families: Hemiscorpiidae, Scorpionidae, Urodacidae, and Diplocentridae. There are three kinds of diverticulae: small rudimentary finger-like diverticulae, embryonic (ED) large projections, and postpartum diverticulae (PPD) empty diverticulae, which are remnants after parturition. The subject is reviewed and its bearing on reproduction in scorpions are discussed.

Warburg MR. Reproductive system of female scorpion: A partial review. Anat Rec. 2010;293(10):1738-54. [Subscription required for fulltext]

20 October, 2010

A two-tailed Euscorpius

Two tailed scorpions have been known since ancient times, but this anomaly is rare. In a short note Lourenco & Hypolite report about a juvenile Euscorpius flavicaudis (Euscorpiidae) with complete duplication of the metasoma and telson.

Lourenco WR, Hypolite F. A new case of duplication of the metasoma and telson in the scorpion Euscorpius flavicaudis (DeGeer, 1778) (Euscorpiidae). Euscorpius. 2010(102):1-2. [Free fultext]

Two new Hottentotta species from Oman

Graeme Lowe is continuing his study of the scorpion fauna of the Middle East. This time he reports of two new species of Hottentotta (Buthidae) from northern Oman:

Hottentotta pellucidus Lowe, 2010
Hottentotta saxinatans Lowe, 2010

Two new endemic species of Hottentotta Birula, 1908, are described from the Al Hajar Mountains of northern Oman: H. pellucidus sp. nov., from the Shir Plateau of Jabal Bani Jabir in the eastern Al Hajar, characterized by: medium size, uniform yellow color, dense cover of long and short macrosetae on pedipalps, legs and metasoma, only two macrosetae on tergite posterior margins, and slender male pedipalp chelae with very weakly scalloped fingers; and H. saxinatans sp. nov., from Jabal Akhdar in the western Al Hajar, characterized by: medium size, uniform yellow color with faint fuscosity on metasomal carinae, nearly bare body and appendages with few short macrosetae, and slender male pedipalp chelae with unscalloped fingers. Both are lapidicolous or lithophilic scorpions, inhabiting very rocky terrain. Their disjunct distribution in high altitude refugia suggests that they are relict species, descendents of a more widespread fauna adapted to temperate climates in the Pleistocene or post-glacial times.

Lowe G. Two new species of Hottentotta Birula, 1908 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from northern Oman. Euscorpius. 2010(103):1-23. [Free fulltext]

Family Buthidae

04 October, 2010

More on the genera Hadrurus and Hoffmannihadrurus

Michael Soleglad and Victor Fet have recently published a paper with further observations on the genera Hadrurus Thorell, 1876 and Hoffmannihadrurus Fet & Soleglad, 2004 (both Caraboctonidae).

Multiple populations of Hadrurus pinteri from Baja California Sur, Mexico have been examined. It is demonstrated that the southern populations of this species have a larger number of accessory trichobothria (neobothriotaxy) than the northern populations, numbers exceeding the maximum currently recorded for the genus. Examination of carapace and chela coloration and its patterns show a close affinity between H. pinteri and the dark phase of H. concolorous. A new morphometric ratio of the carapace is defined that distinguishes Hadrurus from Hoffmannihadrurus, further supporting the monophyly of the latter genus.

Soleglad ME, Fet V. Further observations on scorpion genera Hadrurus and Hoffmannihadrurus (Scorpiones, Caraboctonidae). ZooKeys. 2010;59:1-13. [Free fultext]

Thanks to Victor Fet for sending me this paper!

Family Caraboctonidae

Observations on Calchas gruberi from Greece

Iasmi Stathi and co-workers have studied Calchas (Iuridae) materials from the Greek island Megisti (= Kastelorizo). Fet, Soleglad & Kovarik (2009) described two new Calchas in addition to the previous known species Calchas nordmanni Birula, 1899 from Turkish populations, but did not conclude on the the Greek populations (on Megisti and Samos). Stathi and co-workers now conclude that the Megisti populations belongs to Calchas gruberi Fet, Soleglad & Kovarik, 2009 and that C. nordmanni is not present in the Greek fauna.

Interestingly, the Megisti populations of C. gruberi is significantly larger than specimens from Turkey.

A series of Calchas specimens from the Greek island of Megisti (= Kastelorizo) was examined. It is shown by detailed analysis of several key diagnostic characters that this population from Megisti Island belongs to C. gruberi Fet, Soleglad et Kovařík, 2009. Therefore, C. nordmanni Birula, 1899 is not present in Greek fauna. The population of C. gruberi from Megisti comprises the largest specimens so far reported.

Stathi I, Fet V, Soleglad ME. Etudes on iurids, IV. Observations on Calchas gruberi from Megisti Island, Greece (Scorpiones: Iuridae). Euscorpius. 2010(101):1-9. [Free fulltext]

Family Iuridae

01 October, 2010

Scorpion stings in Turkey - An epidemiological study

Cesaretli & Ozkan have published an interesting epidemiological study on scorpion stings in Turkey between 1995 and 2004.

The most important health-threatening scorpions found in Turkey are; Androctonus crassicauda, Leiurus quinquestriatus, Mesobuthus gibbosus and M. eupeus species, all of which belong to the Buthidae family. The epidemiological and clinical findings of scorpion stings in Turkey were evaluated between the years 1995 and 2004 based on data recorded in the National Poison Information Center (NPIC). A total of 930 cases were recorded. The cases mostly occurred in the month of July. The gender distribution was 50.22% female and 45.48% male. It was shown that the 20-29 age group presented more scorpion stings. Most of the stings occurred in Central Anatolia and Marmara regions of Turkey. Patients at the hospital showed signs of localized (pain, hyperemia, edema and numbness) and systemic effects (hyperthermia, nausea and vomiting, tachycardia, shivering and lethargy) but no lethality was notified. According to records, 33% of the poisoned patients were treated with antivenin in healthcare facilities.

Cesaretli Y, Ozkan O. Scorpion stings in Turkey: Epidemiological and clinical aspects between the years 1995 and 2004. Rev Inst Med Trop Sao Paulo. 2010 Jul-Aug;52(4):215-20. [Free fulltext]

New Vaejovis from Mexico

Matthew Graham and Robert Bryson Jr. have described a new species of Vaejovis from the Sierra Madre Occidental, Meixco in the latest issue of Journal of Arachnology:

Vaejovis montanus Graham & Bryson, 2010 (Vaejovidae)

A new species of montane scorpion is described from the Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico. The species is morphologically similar to scorpions distributed throughout the ‘‘sky island’’ region of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico and is a member of the ‘‘vorhiesi’’ subgroup of the Vaejovis ‘‘mexicanus’’ group. The morphology of the new species is compared to that of ‘‘vorhiesi’’ subgroup taxa, and biogeographic hypotheses about the diversification of this group are provided.

Graham MR, Bryson Jr RW. Vaejovis montanus (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae), a new species from the Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico. Journal of Arachnology. 2010;38(2):285-93. [Fulltext not yet available on the homepage]

Family Vaejovidae

22 September, 2010

Evolution of Scorpion Genitalia - A new book chapter

Alfredo Peretti has recently authored a chapter in the book "The Evolution of Primary Sexual Characters in Animals" published by Oxford University Press. The title of the chapter is "An Ancient Indirect Sex Model: Single and Mixed Patterns in the Evolution of Scorpion Genitalia".

Information about the book can be found on the publisher's website.

Peretti AV. An Ancient Indirect Sex Model: Single and Mixed Patterns in the Evolution of Scorpion Genitalia. In: Còrdoba-Aguilar A, Leonard JL, editors. The Evolution of primary sexual characters in animals. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2010. p. 218-48.

Thanks to Dr. Peretti for sending me information about this book chapter!

21 September, 2010

A new Compsobuthus from UAE

Wilson Lourenco and co-workers have looked into some of the Compsobuthus species from the Middle East and have described a new species from United Arab Emirates:

Compsobuthus birulai Lourenco, Leguin & Duhem, 2010 (Buthidae)

A better description is presented for Compsobuthus acutecarinatus (Simon, 1882) and C. maindroni (Kraepelin, 1900). The distribution of C. acutecarinatus is confined to Yemen and parts of Oman and previous reported findings from Africa are probably misidentifications. Compsobuthus maindroni is limited to Oman and parts om UAE. Previous proposed distribution on East Africa is probably based on misidentifications.

Two species of the genus Compsobuthus Vachon, 1949, C. acutecarinatus (Simon) and C. maindroni (Kraepelin), have been the subject of several publications in the last three decades. Nevertheless, same doubts remain about their precise identity and range of geographic distribution. We give here precise re-diagnoses in the light of the type material now clearly identified. The holotype at C. acutecarinatus is properly illustrated and measured. A lectotype is designated for C. maindroni, from the large syntype series. A new species of Compsobuthus is also described from United Arab Emirates.

Lourenço WR, Leguin EA, Duhem B. Notes on the type material of Compsobuthus acutecarinatus (Simon, 1882) and C. maindroni (Kraepelin, 1900), and description of a new species from United Arab Emirates. Zoology in the Middle East. 2010;50:119-26.

Family Buthidae

15 September, 2010

A Centruroides eating a terrestrial mollusc

Giraldo Alayon Gracia and Luis de Armas have published a short note with an observation of a specimen of Centruroides nitidus (Thorell, 1876) (Buthidae) preying on a terrestrial mollusc of the species Liguus virgineus (Linnaeus, 1767).

A similar observation have been published from South Africa (Opisthophthalmus carinatus), and this new observation confirms that scorpions are indeed predators that will catch a lot of different prey types.

A young specimen of the terrestrial mollusc Liguus virgineus (Linnaeus, 1767) was preyed upon by the buthid scorpion Centruroldes nitidus (Thorell, 1876). The field observation took place in the municipality of Banica, Elias Pitia province, Dominican Republic.

Garcia GA, de Armas LF. Liguus virgineus (Gastropoda: Orthalicidae) depredado por Centruroides nitidus (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Boletin de la SEA. 2010(46):394.

Contribution to the knowledge of Tityus obturus from Puerto Rico

Rolando Teruel and Alejandro Sanchez have published a paper where they present important information on the taxonomy of Tityus obturus (Karsch, 1879) (Buthidae), an endemic scorpion from Puerto Rico.

Unfortunately, I do not read Spanish so this message is based on the English abstract.

In the present paper, important information on the taxonomy, morphological variability, eoology and geographical distribution of Tityus obtusus (Karsch, 1879) is presented. This scorpion is defines as endemic from, and widely distributed in Puerto Rico, including Vieques Island (first record). Furthermore, some aspects of the systematics of this species are briefly discussed.

Teruel R, Sanchez AJ. Contribucion al conocimiento de Centruroides obtusus (Karsch 1879), escorpion endemico de Puerto Rico (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Boletin de la SEA. 2010(46):467-73.

Family Buthidae

10 September, 2010

Observations on newborn Opisthacanthus maculatus from Madagascar

Luc Ross has published a study on the post-birth behavior of newborn Opisthacanthus maculatus Lourenco & Goodman, 2006 (Hemiscorpiidae).

Observational data on the early development and post-birth behavior of a single litter of the Malagasy endemic scorpion, Opisthacanthus maculatus Lourenço & Goodman, 2006 (Liochelidae) is reported for the first time. A single female gave birth to a litter of 11 offspring during a 10 hour period of parturition. The young
molted to the second-instar within a 14 day period. After an additional 10—12 day period, the young dispersed from the maternal female. This is the first report of post-birth behavior for a Malagasy endemic Opisthacanthus species.

Ross LK. Observations on newborn Opisthacanthus maculatus Lourenco & Goodman, 2006 (Scorpiones, Liochelidae) from Madagascar. Revista Iberica de Arachnologia. 2010;18:123-7.

Family Hemiscorpiidae

30 August, 2010

Two new species of Vachoniolus from Oman

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

Vachoniolus batinahensis Lowe, 2010
Vachoniolus gallagheri Lowe, 2010

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

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

The paper has an identification key for the genus.

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

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

Family Buthidae

26 August, 2010

Revision of the granulatus group of Urophonius with a new species

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to Gerard Dupre for sending me this paper!

Family Bothriuridae

25 August, 2010

Parthenogenesis confirmed for Tityus stigmurus

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

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

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

Thanks to Luc Ross for sending me this paper!

Family Buthidae

17 August, 2010

Chaerilus borneensis restored as species

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

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

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

Family Chaerilidae

New taxonomical data on Centruroides limpidus

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

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

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

Family Buthidae

13 August, 2010

First report of Centruroides tapachulaensis from Guatemala

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

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

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

Family Buthidae

09 August, 2010

New species of Isometrus from Vietnam

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

Isometrus deharvengi Lourenco & Duhem, 2010

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

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

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

Family Buthidae

06 August, 2010

New species biography in SF - Grosphus grandidieri

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

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

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

Species biographies in The Scorpion Files

04 August, 2010

Bird eating scorpion

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

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

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

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

03 August, 2010

Cleaning behavior in scorpions

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

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

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

30 July, 2010

A new Razianus from China

A new species in the genus Razianus Farzanpay, 1987 (Buthidae) has been described in a recent paper by Wilson Lourenco, Dong Sun and the late Ming-Sheng Zhu.

Razianus xinjianganus Lourenco, Sun & Zhu, 2010

This is the first record of Razianus in China.

Razianus xinjianganus sp . nov. , a new record genus and new species of buthid scorpion from China is described on the basis of one female collected in the Kaxgar of Xinjiang. The new species shows affinities with the genera Compsobuthus Vachon , 1949 , Sassanidotus Farzanpay , 1987 and Razianus. Several characteristics , however, place it closer to Razianus , consequently it is our decision to include it in t his last genus. The specimen is part of t he material collected or obtained by t he late Prof . Clas Naumann during the 1970s.

Lourenco WR, Sun D, Zhu M-S. Razianus xinjianganus sp. nov.: A new record genus and new species of (Scorpiones, Buthidae) from China. Journal of Hebei University (Natural Science Edition). 2010;30(3):307-18.

Thanks to professor Wilson Lourenco for sending me this paper!

Family Buthidae

28 July, 2010

New vaejovid genus and species from Mexico

Mexico has a high scorpion diversity and many areas of the country have not yet been properly surveyed for scorpions. Oscar Francke and Javier Ponce-Saavedra now report about a new genus and species in the family Vaejovidae from Michoaca in Mexico.

Kuarapu Francke & Ponce-Saavedra, 2010
Kuarapu purhepecha Francke & Ponce-Saavedra, 2010

This small scorpion is only 2-3 cm long. "Kuarapu" means "scorpion" in the language of the local Tarascan Indians. The species names can be translated as "Tarascan scorpion", as "Purhepecha" is the term used by the Tarascan Indians to refer to themself.

Kuarapu purhepecha, gen. n., sp. n., from Municipio La Huacana, Michoacán, is described from eight adult specimens, four males and four females. It appears most closely related to Serradigitus Stahnke (tribe Stahnkeini Soleglad & Fet, 2006), sharing the serrated pedipalp finger dentition and the placement of trichobothria ib-it near the middle of the fixed finger. The characters that separate it from the four genera currently recognized in the tribe Stahnkeini are the presence of a retrobarbate mating plug in the spermatophore (smooth in other Stahnkeini), the presence of sensory pegs on the basal teeth of the pectines of females, and five distal spinules ventrally on telotarsus III (two on other Stahnkeini). Members of the tribe Syntropini Kraepelin, 1905 do not have serrated pedipalp finger dentition, and trichobothria ib-it are adjacent to the basal inner denticle.

Francke OF, Ponce-Saavedra J. A new genus and species of scorpion (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae) from Michoacan, Mexico. Boletin de la SEA. 2010 (46):51-7.

Thanks to Oscar Francke for sending me this paper!

Family Vaejovidae

27 July, 2010

New scorpion book

Roland Stockmann and Eric Ythier have now published their new scorpion book "Scorpions of the World.

I have not obtained the book yet, so I can not comment more now. I will publish a small review of the book in the blog after I receive the book.

More information about the book and how to order can be found on The Scorpions of the World Homepage.

26 July, 2010

Redescription of the enigmatic Troglotayosicus humiculum

Jose Ochoa, Ricardo Botero-Trujillo and Lorenzo Prendini have published a redescription of Troglotayosicus humiculum Botero-Trujillo & Francke, 2009 (Troglotayosicidae) after finding more specimens of this rare, troglomorphic species in Colombia.

The phylogenetic status of the genus Troglotayosicus Lourenco, 1981 and the family Troglotayosicidae Lourenco, 1998 is also discussed.

The endemic Colombian troglomorphic scorpion, Troglotayosicus humiculum Botero-Trujillo and Francke, 2009, previously known only from the juvenile holotype, is redescribed based on newly collected adults of both sexes. New data on basitarsal spination, telotarsal setation, and carination of the metasoma and pedipalps, together with the first description of the hemispermatophore and a revised interpretation of the trichobothria, are provided, along with brief discussions of the ecology and distribution of the species.

Ochoa JA, Botero-Trujillo R, Prendini L. On the Troglomorphic Scorpion Troglotayosicus humiculum (Scorpiones, Troglotayosicidae), with First Description of the Adults. American Museum Novitates. 2010 Jun(3691):1-19. [free fulltext]

Family Troglotayosicidae

A new Buthacus from India

Amod Zambre and Wilson Lourenco have described a new species of Buthacus (Buthidae) from India.

Buthacus agarwali Zambre & Lourenco, 2010

This is the first record of Buthacus from India and the easternmost limit of the genus.

The species seems to be endemic to arid sand dunes. During day time, B. agarwali create shallow depressions in the sand where it lies with the body partly covered with sand.

The genus Buthacus Birula, 1908 is reported for the first time from the Republic of India and a new species described based on specimens collected in the Thar Desert in western India. This record represents the easternmost known area for the genus.

Zambre AM, Lourenco WR. A new species of Buthacus Birula, 1908 (Scorpiones, Buthidae) from India. Boletin de la SEA. 2010 (46):115-9.

Thanks to Amod Zambre for sending me this paper!

Family Buthidae

Mingsheng Zhu - RIP

I'm sorry to announce the recent death of the Chinese arachnologist Professor Mingsheng Zhu a few weeks ago. Professor Zhu worked extensively on spiders, scorpions and other arachnids from East Asia and published over 70 papers in this field.

A list of publications by Professor Mingsheng Zhu at Hebei University homepage


Jan Ove Rein
Editor of The Scorpion Files

23 July, 2010

Six new Hadruroides from Peru

Jose Ochoa and Lorenzo Prendini have recently published six new species in the genus Hadruroides (Caraboctonidae*) from Peru:

Hadruroides chinchaysuyu Ochoa & Prendini, 2010*
H. geckoi Ochoa & Prendini, 2010*
H. graceae Ochoa & Prendini, 2010*
H. juanchararroi Ochoa & Prendini, 2010*
H. tishqu Ochoa & Prendini, 2010*
H. vichayitos Ochoa & Prendini, 2010*

*The authors prefer to use the Prendni & Wheeler system for higher scorpion taxonomy and have listed Hadruroides as a member of the family Iuridae.

The authors have included an indentification key for Hadruroides in Peru.

We review the taxonomy of the Hadruroides Pocock, 1893 (Iuridae: Caraboctoninae), scorpions of Peru, describe six new species from the north of the country, and report new records of other poorly known species. The description of these species raises to 16 the number of described species in the genus, 13 of which occur in Peru. Four species inhabit dry forest in northern Peru: H. charcasus (Karsch, 1879); H. chinchaysuyu, n. sp.; H. geckoi, n. sp.; H. leopardus Pocock, 1900. Three species occur in inter-Andean valleys along the Cordillera: H. bustamantei Ochoa and Chaparro, 2008; H. carinatus Pocock, 1900; H. mauryi Francke and Soleglad, 1980. Six species inhabit desert along the Pacific coast: H. aguilari Francke and Soleglad, 1980; H. graceae, n. sp.; H. juanchaparroi, n. sp.; H. lunatus (L. Koch, 1867); H. tishqu, n. sp.; H. vichayitos, n. sp. Most species of Hadruroides have restricted distributions, except H. charcasus and H. lunatus, which are apparently more widely distributed. We consider it necessary to reassess all previous records of the latter two species, because we suspect several are based on misidentifications.

Ochoa JA, Prendini L. The Genus Hadruroides Pocock, 1893 (Scorpiones: Iuridae), in Peru: New Records and Descriptions of Six New Species. American Museum Novitates. 2010 Jun(3687):1-56. [Free fulltext]

Family Caraboctonidae

Two new Parabuthus from Namibia

The summer holliday is over and its time again for some news from the scorpion world.

Lorenzo Prendini and Lauren Esposito have conducted a reanalysis of Parabuthus phylogeny and described two new species from Namibia:

Parabuthus glabrimanus Prendini & Esposito, 2010 (Buthidae)
Parabuthus setiventer Prendini & Esposito, 2010 (Buthidae)

Revised diagnosis for the related species Parabuthus gracilis Lamoral, 1979 and P. nanus Lamoral, 1979 are also presented.

Two new thick-tail scorpions in the genus Parabuthus Pocock, 1890 are described from the gravel plains of the Central Namib Desert, Namibia: Parabuthus glabrimanus sp. nov.; Parabuthus setiventer sp. nov. The two new species occupy discrete distributional ranges, allopatric with the closely related species Parabuthus gracilis Lamoral, 1979 and Parabuthus nanus Lamoral, 1979. The distributions of the four species are mapped and a key provided for their identification. Revised diagnoses are provided for P. gracilis and P. nanus. The two new species are added to a previously published morphological character matrix for Parabuthus species and their phylogenetic positions determined in a reanalysis of Parabuthus phylogeny. Parabuthus setiventer sp. nov. is found to be the sister species of P. nanus, whereas P. glabrimanus sp. nov. is sister to a monophyletic group comprising P. gracilis, P. nanus, and P. setiventer sp. nov. The discovery of two new scorpion species endemic to the Central Namib gravel plains contributes to a growing body of evidence that this barren and desolate region is a hotspot of arachnid species richness and endemism.

Prendini L, Esposito LA. A reanalysis of Parabuthus (Scorpiones: Buthidae) phylogeny with descriptions of two new Parabuthus species endemic to the Central Namib gravel plains, Namibia. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 2010;159(3):673-710. [Subscription required for fulltext] NB! Fulltext is now freely available from The Scorpion Systematics Research Group homepage.

Family Buthidae

24 June, 2010

Scorpions of Iran - Part VI - with a new Hottentotta

Part VI of a major review of the scorpions of Iran has been published in issue 99 of the journal Euscorpius.

The paper list 10 species (five new records) in three families from the Lorestan Province and their distribution. A new species in the genus Hottentotta is described:

Hottentotta lorestanus Navidpour, Nayebzadeh, Soleglad, Fet, Kovarik & Kayedi, 2010 (Buthidae)

An identification key for the species in the province is given. Good color photos are presented for the Hottentotta species and also some habitat pictures.

Ten species of scorpions belonging to three families are reported from the Lorestan Province of Iran. Of these, five species are recorded from the province for the first time: Hottentotta zagrosensis Kovařík, 1997; Mesobuthus eupeus phillipsii (Pocock, 1889); Orthochirus iranus Kovařík, 2004; Razianus zarudnyi (Birula, 1903) ; and Scorpio maurus townsendi (Pocock, 1900). One new species is described, Hottentotta lorestanus sp. n.; it can be easily distinguished from the other four species of the genus known from Iran by its coloration; it is the only Iranian species which has the entire pedipalps yellow and the metasomal segments I to IV greenish gray. Also presented is a key to all species of scorpions found in the province.

Navidpour S, Nayebzadeh HH, Soleglad ME, Fet V, Kovarik F, Kayedi MH. Scorpions of Iran (Arachnida, Scorpiones). Part VI. Lorestan Province. Euscorpius. 2010(99):1-23. [Fulltext freely available]

Family Buthidae
Family Scorpionidae
Family Hemiscorpiidae

23 June, 2010

A sting accident caused by Rhopalurus agamemmon

Reuber Albuquerque Brandao and Renata Dias Francoso have published a paper describing a sting accident involving Rhopalurus agamemmon (Koch, 1839) (Buthidae).

The paper is in Portuguese, but with an English abstract.

Accidents caused by scorpions are a serious public health problem in Brazil. Rhopalurus agamemnon is a large scorpion found in the Cerrado (savanna) biome, and it is very abundant in many localities in central Brazil. The species inhabits open savanna environments, and is common inside termite mounds. However, it disappears from places where the native vegetation has been removed. The accidents reported present moderate symptoms of envenoming, but are based on questionable identifications. Here, we present a report on an accident that was certainly caused by Rhopalurus agamemnon. We conclude that the few reports available do not make it possible to evaluate the severity of such accidents and the possible risk to public health from this scorpion.

Brandao RA, Francoso RD. Acidente por Rhopalurus agamemnon (Koch, 1839) (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Rev Soc Bras Med Trop. 2010 Jun;43(3):342-4. [Free fulltext - The paper is at the end of the page under the Case Report section]

Family Buthidae

15 June, 2010

A new Buthoscorpio from India

A new species in the rare and little known genus Buthoscorpio Werner, 1936 has been described from India by Javed et al.:

Buthoscorpio rayalensis Javed, Rao, Mirza, Sanap & Tampal, 2010 (Buthidae)

In the same paper, the author discuss the status of B. jinnahii Amir, Kamaluddin & Jabbar, 2005 and B. rahmatii Amir, Kamaluddin & Jabbar, 2005 (they were originally described in the non-valid genus Stenochirus by the authors). A study of the descriptions of these two species shows that they can not belong to the genus Buthoscorpio. The two taxa are now Buthidae incertae sedis and are not included in the total number species of Buthidae in The Scorpion Files.

A new species of scorpion, Buthoscorpio rayalensis sp. nov., is described from Andhra Pradesh, India. The new species of scorpion can be differentiated from its congeners in having the following set of morphological characters: anterior edge of carapace exhibiting very broad subtle indentation with a conspicuous epistome present medially, median eyes situated anteriorly in the ratio 1:3.1, interocular area smooth, patella anteriorly smooth and rounded, mesosomal tergites smooth, pectines 17–17, and arrangement of lateral eyes. Stenochirus jinnahii Amir, Kama-luddin et Jabbar, 2005 and S. rahmatii Amir, Kamaluddin et Jabbar, 2005 are considered Buthidae incertae sedis as their generic allocation has been erroneous.

Maqsood Javed SM, Thulsi Rao K, Mirza ZA, Sanap RV, Tampal F. A new species of scorpion of the genus Buthoscorpio Werner, 1936 (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Andhra Pradesh, India. Euscorpius. 2010(98):1-11. [free fulltext]

Family Buthidae

14 June, 2010

Locomotion and orientation in Mesobuthus gibbosus

Dimitris Kaltsas and Moysis Mylonas have recently published an interesting study of the locomotory activity and orientation of the European buthid Mesobuthus gibbosus (Buthidae).

This study explores the locomotory activity of Mesobuthus gibbosus on Koufonisi Island (central Aegean). We measured orientation of movement, shelter selection and abiotic factors that influence locomotive activity throughout the circadian and lunar cycles. Our results show M. gibbosus is a highly active and negatively phototactic species with sexually dimorphic patterns of movements that are related to maternal protective behaviour. Male scorpions disperse more widely, apparently as a function of mate search, and exhibit much more opportunistic locomotive behaviour. The locomotory activity of the population was influenced by moon phase (negative phototropic) and air temperature, did not differ intersexually, and was directed towards a dry stone-wall where shelter was readily available.

Kaltsas D, Mylonas M. Locomotory activity and orientation of Mesobuthus gibbosus (Scorpiones: Buthidae) in central Aegean archipelago. Journal of Natural History. 2010;44(23):1445-59. [Subscription required for fulltext]

Thanks to Dr. Dimitris Kaltsas for sending me this paper!

Family Buthidae