29 April, 2014

A new genus in Vaejovidae from California, USA

The new genus Kovarikia is related to Pseudouroctonus and Uroctonites.
Michael Soleglad, Victor Fet and Matthew Graham recently published a new genus from southern California, USA in the family Vaejovidae.

Kovarikia Soleglad, Fet & Graham, 2014

The new genus was created to cover three species previously belonging til Pseudouroctonus Stahnke, 1974 that shared unique characteristics justifying the creation of a new genus.The new members of the genus are (transferred from Pseudouroctonus):

 Kovarikia angelena (Gertsch & Soleglad, 197)
 Kovarikia bogerti (Gertsch & Soleglad, 1972)
 Kovarikia williamsi (Gertsch & Soleglad, 1972)

The paper has an identification key for the new genus.

Genus Kovarikia, gen. nov. (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae) is described from southern California, USA. The genus is composed of three species previously placed in Pseudouroctonus: Kovarikia williamsi (Gertsch et Soleglad, 1972), comb. nov. (type species), K. bogerti (Gertsch et Soleglad, 1972), comb. nov., and K. angelena (Gertsch et Soleglad, 1972), comb. nov. Major diagnostic characters of Kovarikia are its unique neobothriotaxy found on the ventral surface of the pedipalp chelae, the occurrence of a secondary lamellar hook on the hemispermatophore, a crescent-shaped mating plug barb, the presence of a secondary exteromedian (EMc) carina on the pedipalp patella, and a swollen telson vesicle with anterior vesicular ridges.

Soleglad ME, Fet V, Graham M. Kovarikia, a new scorpion genus from California, USA (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae). Euscorpius. 2014 (185):1-22. [Free full text]

Family Vaejovidae

23 April, 2014

New Euscorpius species from Southern Turkey

A new species of Euscorpius has been discovered in southern Antalya.
After the research on the different Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 (Euscorpiidae) populations in Europe was intensified, new species have been popping up all over. In a recent paper, Gioele Tropea and co-workers describe a new species from the Antalya Province, in southern Turkey.

Euscorpius gocmeni Tropea, Yagmur & Yesilyurt, 2014

A new scorpion species, Euscorpius gocmeni sp. n., is described based on specimens collected from the Antalya Province (Akseki District) in southern Turkey. It is characterized by a high trichobothrial count (Pv = 11–13, et = 7–8, em = 4, and eb = 4), a high pectinal teeth count (Dp = 10–12 in males, 8–9 in females), medium-small size, and light to medium brown reddish color.

Tropea G, Yagmur EA, Yesilyurt F. A New Species of Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 from the Antalya Province, Southern Turkey (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae). Euscorpius. 2014 (184):1-13. [Free full text]

Thanks to Gioele Tropea for sending me their paper.

Family Euscorpiidae

11 April, 2014

More on scorpion fluorescence

Is scorpion fluorescence just an evolutionary accident or a genius adaption to scorpion life?

The mystery of scorpion fluorescence under UV-light have been under research in the last decade. Theories range from having no behavioral purpose to causing scorpions to be "living eyes". I have written several posts on the blog in the last couple of years on these theories.

This time Douglas Gaffin and Tristan Barker present a study on how scorpions react to different levels of UV irradiance. The study demonstrates that scorpions respond differently to different UV levels experienced during normal activity time and that locomotor activity was strongest when at UV irradiance levels that corresponded to sunset (the time scorpions move to the threshold of their burrows).

This study does indicate that scorpions are able to detect UV-levels, but more research is needed to demonstrate whether scorpion fluorescence has an adaptive function in UV-detection.

Scorpions are nocturnal arachnids that fluoresce a bright cyan-green when exposed to UV light. Although the function of this fluorescence remains unknown, some authors have suggested that it may aid the scorpions’ light detection. Taking advantage of scorpions’ negatively phototactic behavior, we tested the responses of desert grassland scorpions, Paruroctonus utahensis (Williams 1968), to 395 nm UV light at irradiances corresponding to an hour before sunset (0.15 mW/ cm2), sunset (0.01 mW/cm2), and moonlight (0.0001 mW/cm2), as well as no light. We found that animals showed the strongest responses to UV light levels equivalent to sunset. The animals moved more quickly and sporadically under the higher light levels. In addition, animals were less likely to complete a trial under highest light conditions, suggesting that UV light may inhibit normal scorpion locomotion. Finally, this study resulted in several methodological refinements, including automated tracking of the subjects’ movements that should prove useful in future behavioral studies of scorpion phototactic behavior.

Barker TN, Gaffin DD. Comparison of scorpion behavioral responses to UV under sunset and nighttime irradiances. Journal of Arachnology. 2014;42(1):111-8. [Free Open Access Article]

10 April, 2014

New Vaejovis from Mexico

Gerardo Contreras-Félix and Oscar Francke have recently published a new species of Vaejovis C. L. Koch, 1837 (Vaejovidae) from Michoacan, Mexico.

Vaejovis coalcoman Contreras-Félix & Francke, 2014

Vaejovis coalcoman sp. n. from Sierra de Coalcomán, in the northwestern part of the state of Michoacán, Mexico, is described. It belongs to the “mexicanus” group and it is compared with related species from the states of Jalisco and Guanajuato. A map with the known distribution of the related taxa is provided.

Contreras-Félix GA, Francke OF. Description of a new species of Vaejovis from Michoacán, Mexico (Arachnida: Scorpiones: Vaejovidae). Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad. 2014;85:24-30. [Free full text]

Thanks to Oscar Francke for sending me their paper!

Family Vaejovidae

09 April, 2014

Two new Euscorpius species of Euboea Island in Greece

The new species Euscorpius birulai is only found in a cave on the Greek island of Euboea.
Victor Fet and co-workers are continuing their work on the Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 (Euscorpiidae) fauna of Europa. The Greek fauna is specially little known and phylogenetical analysis confirm the presence of unknown species on many islands in the Greek archipelago.

Two new species are described from the Euboea Island (Greece).

Euscorpius birulai Fet, Soleglad, Parmakelis, Kotsakiozi & Stathi, 2014

Euscorpius mylonasi Fet, Soleglad, Parmakelis, Kotsakiozi & Stathi, 2014

E. birulai is only known from Agia Triada Cave on Euboea Island. The species shows no cave adaptions.

We describe two new species of the genus Euscorpius from Euboea Island, Greece: E. birulai sp. n. (Agia Triada Cave) and E. mylonasi sp. n. (Mt. Dirfi). The cave species E. birulai sp. n is morphologically close to E. koschewnikowi Birula, 1900 from Mt. Athos, Greece. Species-level divergence of E. mylonasi sp. n.is also confirmed by multiple DNA markers. According to DNA adata, an undescribed species population from the nearby Skyros island is closely related to E. mylonasi sp. n.

Fet V, Soleglad ME, Parmakelis A, Kotsakiozi P, Stathi I. Two new species of Euscorpius from Euboea Island, Greece (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae). Arthropoda Selecta. 2014;23(2):111-26.

Thanks to professor Victor Fet for sending me their paper!

Family Euscorpiidae

08 April, 2014

Two new species of Brachistosternus from Chile

Andres Ojanguren Affilastro & Jaime Pizarro-Araya have recently published a paper describing two new species of Brachistosternus Pocock, 1893 (Bothriuridae) from the Coastal desert of Taltal in Chile.

Brachistosternus barrigai Ojanguren Affilastro & Pizarro-Araya, 2014
Brachistosternus paposo Ojanguren Affilastro & Pizarro-Araya, 2014

Brachistosternus paposo n. sp. and Brachistosternus barrigai n. sp. are described from Paposo, in the coastal transitional desert of northern Chile. Brachistosternus paposo n. sp. is closely related to Brachistosternus roigalsinai Ojanguren Affilastro 2002, and B. barrigai n. sp. is closely related with Brachistosternus kamanchaca Ojanguren-Affilastro, Mattoni & Prendini 2007.

Ojanguren Affilastro AA, Pizarro-Araya J. Two new scorpion species from Paposo, in the Coastal desert of Taltal, Chile (Scorpiones, Bothriuridae, Brachistosternus). Zootaxa. 2014;3785(3):400-18. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Andres Ojanguren-Affilastro for sending me their paper!

Family Bothriuridae

01 April, 2014

A new Vaejovis from Arizona, USA

Vaejovis grahami is no April fools prank, but a new species from Arizona.
Richard Ayrey and Michael Soleglad have recently described a new species of Vaejovis Thorell, 1876 (Vaejovidae) from southern Arizona, USA.

Vaejovis grahami

A new scorpion species, Vaejovis grahami sp. nov. is described. This small, dark brown species is found in the Santa Rita Mountains, Santa Cruz County, Arizona, USA. It is most similar to V. vorhiesi Stahnke and V. deboerae Ayrey. The pedipalp fixed finger usually has 5 inner denticles (ID) and the movable finger has 6, like in most other southern Arizona Vaejovis.

Ayrey RF, Soleglad ME. New Species of Vaejovis from the Santa Rita Mountains, Southern Arizona (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae). Euscorpius. 2014 (183):1-13 [Free full text]

Family Vaejovidae