28 April, 2016

A new Scorpio species from southern Algeria

Wilson Lourenco and Andrea Rossi have recently described a new species of Scorpio Linnaeus, 1758 (Scorpionidae) from the Tassili N’Ajjer Mountains in South Algeria.

Scorpio tassili Lourenco & Rossi, 2016

In recent publications about the genus Scorpio Linnaeus, 1758, it was suggested that the population previously cited from the Tassili N’Ajjer Mountains in the South of Algeria, could represent a distinct species. Intensive investigation in the collections of the Natural History Museum in Paris, led to the location of the only known specimen collected by F. Bernard in 1949. The present study of this female specimen confirms its position as a new species of Scorpio and, curiously, shows that the Tassili N’Ajjer population seems to have more affinities with S. niger Lourenço & Cloudsley-Thompson, 2012 known from Niger than to S. punicus Fet, 2000, distributed in the high plateaus of Tunisia and North of Algeria. The new species is described here and, as in previous studied cases, the Saharan Massifs prove to be very important endemic centres within the Sahara desert.

Lourenco WR, Rossi A. Confirmation of a new species of Scorpio Linnaeus, 1758 in the Tassili N’Ajjer Mountains, South Algeria (Scorpiones: Scorpionidae). Onychium. 2016;12:11-8.[Open Access]

Family Scorpionidae

27 April, 2016

First report of pectine malformations in the genus Euscorpius

Body malformations and anomalies in scorpions are reported from time to time, but are generally quite rare. One of the most famous cases was Pepe - The two-tailed scorpion (a Centruroides excilicauda with two tails). In a recent article, Miroslav Saric and Jovana Tomic report about malformed pectines in a scorpion in the genus Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 (Euscorpiidae).

Teratology in Scorpions is discussed.

A teratological change in a pectinal organ of Euscorpius cf. carpathicus (C. L. Koch, 1837) from Serbia had been examined using SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopy), and compared to specimens with normally developed pectines. Possible reasons for this anomaly are discussed.

Šarić M, Tomić J. The first record of malformed pectines in genus Euscorpius (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae). Euscorpius. 2016 (221):1-10. [Open Access]

Thanks to Miroslav Saric for informing me about their article!

26 April, 2016

A new species of Pseudouroctonus from northern California, USA

Warren E. Savary and Robert W. Bryson Jr have recently published a new species of Pseudouroctonus Stahnke, 1974 (Vaejovidae) from northern California.

Pseudouroctonus maidu Savary & Bryson Jr, 2016

A new species of vaejovid scorpion from northern California, Pseudouroctonus maidu sp. n., is named and described. This new species appears to be most similar to Pseudouroctonus iviei (Gertsch & Soleglad, 1972) and Pseudouroctonus glimmei (Hjelle, 1972).

Savary WE, Bryson Jr RW. Pseudouroctonus maidu, a new species of scorpion from northern California (Scorpiones, Vaejovidae). ZooKeys. 2016 (584):49-59. [Open Access]

Family Vaejovidae

22 April, 2016

A new species of Buthus from East Africa

Andrea Rossi and Gioele Tropea has recently published a paper discussing the presence of Buthus Leach, 1815 (Buthidae) in East Africa. A new species is described from the Eritrean enclave Karora. The distribution of Buthus in Sudan is also discussed.

Buthus karoraensis Rossi & Tropea, 2016 (Eritrea, but probably also present in Sudan)

The presence of the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 in Sudan is discussed and a new species, Buthus karoraensis sp. n., is described on the base of eight specimens from Karora, an Eritrean enclave within Sudan. Although the new species is almost surely present also in Sudan, actually the only known species remains Buthus brignolii Lourenço, 2003.

Rossi A, Tropea G. On the presence of the genus Buthus Leach, 1815 in Sudan with the description of a new species from the enclave of Karora (Scorpiones: Buthidae). Onychium. 2016;12:3-10.[Open Access]

Thanks to Andrea Rossi for sending me this article!

Family Buthidae

Yet another new species of Euscorpius from southwestern Turkey

Gioele Tropea and co-workers have recently described a new species of Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 (Euscorpiidae) from Mount Honaz in southwestern Turkey, raising the number of Turkish species in the genus to 14.

Euscorpius honazicus Tropea, Yagmur, Karampatsou, Parmakelis & Yesilyurt, 2016

A new species of scorpion, Euscorpius honazicus sp. n., is described from Mount Honaz, in the province of Denizli, in southwestern Turkey, based on morphological and molecular evidence, increasing to 14 the Euscorpius species currently recognized in Turkey.

Tropea G, Yagmur EA, Karampatsou L, Parmakelis A, Yesilyurt F. A New Species of Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 from Mount Honaz in Southwestern Turkey (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae). Euscorpius. 2016 (222):1-14. [Open Access]

Family Euscorpiidae

14 April, 2016

Parthenogenetic reproduction reported for the buthid Pseudolychas ochraceus

Partogenetic reproduction has been reported for several scorpion species, but not all observations have been made under controlled circumstances. Francke (2008) proposed that the parturition of a captive isolated female collected immature in the wild is the minimal evidence required to conclude that a scorpion species is parthenogenetic.

Seiter, Schramm and Barthel have now published a research note demonstrating true parthenogenesis in the South African buthid Pseudolychas ochraceus (Hirst, 1911).

Of all scorpion species described to date, only a small fraction are known to reproduce without fertilization by a male, instead producing offspring by parthenogenesis. Here we show that isolated females of the buthid Pseudolychas ochraceus (Hirst, 1911) are capable of parthenogenetic reproduction and we provide data on the postembryonic growth of this species.

Seiter M, Schramm FD, Barthel A. The South African scorpion Pseudolychas ochraceus (Hirst, 1911) (Scorpiones: Buthidae) can reproduce by parthenogenesis. Journal of Arachnology. 2016; 44: 85-87. [Subscription required for full text]

12 April, 2016

New fossil scorpion discovered from the Petrified Forest of Chemnitz, Germany

As you probably know, scorpions are an old animal group dating back to the mid Silurian period (ca. 430 Ma). Around 131 fossil scorpion species are known so far. Jason Dunlop and co-workers have now discovered a new species based on two well-preserved specimens (together with several fragments) discovered within the early Permian (ca. 291 Ma) Leukersdorf Formation, the upper part of which contains the Petrified Forest of Chemnitz (Saxony, Germany).

Opsieobuthus tungeri Dunlop, Legg, Selden, Fet, Schneider & Røssler, 2016

This article is specially interesting because the authors have tried an appearance in life reconstruction of the new species and also discuss elements of its habitat and biology in the Perm period.

Background: Paleozoic scorpions (Arachnida: Scorpiones) have been widely documented from the Carboniferous Period; which hosts a remarkable assemblage of more than sixty species including both putative stem- and crowngroup fossils. By contrast the succeeding Permian Period is almost completely devoid of records, which are currently restricted to a trace fossil from the early Permian of New Mexico, USA and some limb fragments from the late Permian of the Vologda Region, Russia.
Results: ?Opsieobuthus tungeri sp. nov. from the Petrified Forest of Chemnitz, Germany represents the first complete body fossils of scorpions from the Permian. Explosive volcanism preserved these remarkable specimens in situ as part of the palaeosol horizon and bedrock of the Petrified Forest, immediately beneath the Zeisigwald tuff horizon. This dates to the early Permian (Sakmarian) or ca. 291 Ma. Intriguingly, the specimens were obtained from a palaeosol horizon with a compacted network of different-sized woody roots and thus have been preserved in situ in their likely life position, even within their original burrows. Differences in the structure of the comb-like pectines in the two fossils offer evidence for sexual dimorphism, and permit further inferences about the ecology and perhaps even the reproductive biology of these animals.
Conclusions: As putative members of a Coal Measures genus, these fossils suggest that at least some Carboniferous scorpion lineages extended their range further into the Permian. This contributes towards a picture of scorpion evolution in which both basal and derived (orthostern) forms coexisted for quite some time; probably from the end of the Carboniferous through to at least the mid Triassic.

Dunlop JA, Legg DA, Selden PA, Fet V, Schneider JW, Rossler R. Permian scorpions from the Petrified Forest of Chemnitz, Germany. BMC Evol Biol. 2016;16(1):72. [Open Access]

Thanks to professor Victor Fet for sending me this article!

11 April, 2016

A new species of Grosphus from Madagascar

Late last year, Lourenco & Wilme published a new species in the endemic genus Grosphus Simon, 1880  (Buthidae) from the Ambatovy-Analamay humid forest in Madagascar.

Grosphus voahangyae Lourenço & Wilme 2015

Uplands areas of the central eastern Madagascar are not considered amongst the regions of the island that show high levels of scorpion diversity. Previous surveys conducted in the Ambatovy-Analamay-Torotorofotsy humid forests at around 1000 m, revealed the presence of different species of Grosphus. The detailed study of several individuals of one of these populations indicates the presence of a new species associated with Grosphus hirtus Kraepelin, 1900. This new species, G. voahangyae sp. n., is described in the paper. Some comments on biogeographic aspects linking the new species with both G. madagascariensis (Gervais, 1843) and G. hirtus are also provided.

Lourenco WR, Wilme L. Species of Grosphus Simon, 1880, associated to the group madagascariensis / hirtus (Scorpiones: Buthidae); description of a peculiar new species from the humid eastern forests of Madagascar. Entomologische Mitteilungen aus dem Zoologischen Museum Hamburg. 2015;17(194):207-23.

Thanks to professor Lourenco for sending me this paper!

Family Buthidae

07 April, 2016

A new genus and species from the Mitaraka Massif in French Guiana

Wilson Lourenco has discovered a new genus and species from the Mitaraka Massif in French Guiana.

Spinochactas Lourenco, 2016 (Chactidae)

Spinochactas mitaraka Lourenco, 2016

The biography of the family Chactidae in this regions is also discussed.

A new genus and species, Spinochactas mitaraka gen. n., sp. n. (Chactidae) are described from the Mitaraka Massif in French Guiana, a site located near the borders of French Guiana, Brazil, and Suriname. The description of the new genus and species brings further evidence of the biogeographic pattern of distribution presented by some elements of the family Chactidae endemic to the Tepuys or to the Inselberg formations of South America.

Lourenco WR. Scorpions from the Mitaraka Massif in French Guiana: Description of one new genus and species (Scorpiones: Chactidae). C R Biol. 2016 Mar 16. [Subscription required for full text]

Family Chactidae