22 May, 2018

Catalog of the Scorpions of the World (1758-1998) is now freely available in full text

The Catalog of the Scorpions of the World (1758-1998) was the first publication in 100 years trying to list all scorpion taxa in the world when it was published in 2000. Since then, a lot of changes and new updates have been published, but this book is still an essential source for all researchers working on scorpion taxonomy.

I recently learned that the Catalog of the Scorpions of the World (1758-1998) is now freely available in full text for all in Marshall Digital Scholar. This is great news for the scorpion community.

Catalog of the Scorpions of the World (1758-1998)

Due to the size of the book, each chapter can be downloaded separately.

Fet, Victor, W. David Sissom, Graeme Lowe, and Matt E. Braunwalder. Catalog of the Scorpions of the World (1758-1998). New York Entomological Society, 2000.

18 April, 2018

A new species of Compsobuthus from Somaliland

Frantisek Kovarik recently published an article presenting a new species of Compsobuthus Vachon, 1949 (Buthidae) from Somaliland.

Compsobuthus maidensis Kovarik, 2018

Compsobuthus maidensis sp. n. from Somaliland is described and fully complemented with color photos of specimens, as well as its habitat. Data on the occurrence of the genus Compsobuthus Vachon, 1949 in the Horn of Africa is summarized.

Kovarik F. Scorpions of the Horn of Africa (Arachnida, Scorpiones). Part XVI. Compsobuthus maidensis sp. n. (Buthidae) from Somaliland. Euscorpius. 2018(260):1-11. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

13 April, 2018

A revision of some Italian populations of Euscorpius with five new species

Gioele Tropea published an article in 2017 where he studied several populations of Euscorpius sicanus (C. L. Koch, 1872) (Euscorpiidae) in Italy. I just recently learned about this article, but better late than never.

Tropea's analyses show that Euscorpius sicanus is a species complex and he have done the following taxonomical deccisions:

New species:

Euscorpius altadonnai Tropea, 2017 (Northeastern Sicily and southern Calabria, Italy)
Euscorpius salentinus Tropea, 2017 (Southern Puglia (Salento), Italy)

The following species have been raised to species status from synonymy with Euscorpius sicanus:

Euscorpius calabriae Di Caporiacco, 1950 (Calbria and Basilicata (southern part), Italy)
Euscorpius canestrinii (Fanzago, 1872) (Sardinia, Italy)
Euscorpius garganicus Di Caporiacco, 1950 (Puglia, Molise, Campania and Basilicata, Italy and Pelagosa Island, Croatia)

After Fet et al. (2003), Euscorpius sicanus (C. L. Koch, 1837) was considered a highly polymorphic species, widespread in Italy, North Africa, Malta and Greece, having the characters eb = 5 + eba = 45. In this study, a neotype is designated for E. sicanus. The following forms, synonymized with E. sicanus by Fet et al. (2003), are herein revalidated and elevated to species status: E. calabriae Di Caporiacco, 1950 stat. n.; E. canestrinii (Fanzago, 1872) stat. n.; E. garganicus Di Caporiacco, 1950 stat. n. The latter species is herein recorded for the first time in the Italian regions of Molise and Campania, and in Pelagosa Island, Croatia. Two new species and one new subspecies are described, E. salentinus sp. n. from southern Apulia, E. altadonnai sp. n. from northeastern Sicily and southern Calabria, and E. garganicus molisanus subsp. n. from northeastern Apulia, Molise and southeastern Abruzzo. With these taxonomic changes the number of species in Italy has increased to 18.

Tropea G. Reconsideration of some populations of Euscorpius sicanus complex in Italy (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae). Arachnida - Rivista Aracnologica Italiana. 2017;3(11):2-60.

Thanks to Gioele Tropea for sending me his interesting article!

Family Euscorpiidae

06 April, 2018

Three new species of Gint from Somaliland and a revision of the genus

Frantisek Kovarik and co-workers have published a new article in their ongoing research on the scorpion fauna of the Horn of Africa. This time they have done a revision of the genus Gint Kovarik, Lowe, Pliskova & Stahlavsky, 2013 (Buthidae) and theree new species are described from Somaliland.

Gint amoudensis Kovarik, Lowe, Just, Awale, Elmi & Stahlavsky, 2018

Gint gubanensis Kovarik, Lowe, Just, Awale, Elmi & Stahlavsky, 2018

Gint maidensis Kovarik, Lowe, Just, Awale, Elmi & Stahlavsky, 2018

Additional information is provided on the taxonomy and distribution of the other species in the genus. The following three species are declared nomen dubium because of insufficient descriptions and justifications:

Gint insolitus (Borelli, 1925)
Gint marialuisae Rossi, 2015
Gint monicae Rossi, 2015

The three species are still listed in The Scorpion Files, but are labeled nomen dubium until future research clarify their status.

An identification key for the members of the genus is provided.


We describe herein three new species of Buthidae: Gint amoudensis sp. n., G. gubanensis sp. n., and G. maidensis sp. n. from Somaliland. Additional information is provided on the taxonomy and distribution of other species of the genus Gint, fully complemented with color photos of live and preserved specimens, as well as of their habitat. The hemispermatophores of most Gint species are illustrated and described for the first time. In addition to the analyses of external morphology and hemispermatophores, we also describe the karyotype of four Gint species. The number of chromosomes is different for every one of the analysed species (G. dabakalo 2n=23, G. gaitako 2n=30, G. amoudensis sp. n. 2n=35–36, and G. maidensis sp. n. 2n=34).

Kovarik F, Lowe G, Just P, Awale AI, Elmi HSA, Stahlavsky F. Scorpions of the Horn of Africa (Arachnida: Scorpiones). Part XV. Review of the genus Gint Kovařík et al., 2013, with description of three new species from Somaliland (Scorpiones, Buthidae). Euscorpius. 2018(259):1-41. [Open Access]

Family Buthidae

05 April, 2018

Two new, troglobitc species discovered 3000-5000 meters inside a cave system in Vietnam

The family Pseudochactidae Gromov, 1998 contains several enigmatic genera and species, many of them troglobites living in cave systems in Asia. In a recent article, Wilson Lourenco and co-workers present the discovery of two new, troglobitic species in the genus Vietbocap Lourenço & Pham, 2010 from the Thien Duong cave in Vietnam.

Vietbocap aurantiacus Lourenço, Pham, Tran & Tran, 2018

Vietbocap quinquemilia Lourenço, Pham, Tran & Tran, 2018

The two species were discovered 3000-5000 meters inside the cave system. This is a new record of distance from a cave entrance for scorpions.

Two new species of scorpion belonging to the family Pseudochactidae and to the genus Vietbocap are described based on specimens collected in the Thien Duong cave, which belongs to the Vom cave system, in the Phong Nha–Ke Bang National Park, Quang Binh Province, Vietnam. The previously described species from this cave, Vietbocap thienduongensis Lourenco & Pham, 2012 was collected in the initial section of the cave (1500 to 1800 m from the cave entrance) and proved to be a true troglobitic element. The diagnosis of this species, only known from males, is completed based on females collected at 750 m from the cave entrance. The two new species described here were collected respectively at 3000 and 5000 m from the cave entrance and are also true troglobitic elements, very similar to V. thienduongensis, but showing some clear morphological differences. This observed situation suggests a possible case of speciation within the cave system, the first one ever reported for scorpions. The population found at 5000 m from the entrance of the cave is a total new record of distance from a cave entrance for scorpions.

Lourenco WR, Pham DS, Tran TH, Tran TH. The genus Vietbocap Lourenco & Pham, 2010 in the Thien Duong cave, Vietnam: A possible case of subterranean speciation in scorpions (Scorpiones: Pseudochactidae). C R Biol. 2018. [Subscription required for full text]

Family Pseudochactidae

13 March, 2018

Environmental factors predicting distribution of Androctonus in Morocco

Predicting the occurrence of potential dangerous scorpions in an area may be an important tool in preventing serious sting cases. Moulay Abdelmonaim El Hidan and co-workers have published a study where they have identified environmental factors related to scorpion species occurrence in Morocco (the medical important genus Ancrotonus was chosen), and based on this they have developed scorpion envenomation risk maps for the same areas.

Aim: The objective of this study was to establish environmental factors related to scorpion species occurrence and their current potential geographic distributions in Morocco, to produce a current envenomation risk map and also to assess the human population at risk of envenomation.
Materials and Methods: In this study, 71 georeferenced points for all scorpion species and nine environmental indicators were used to generate species distribution models in Maxent (maximum entropy modeling of species geographic distributions) version 3.3.3k. The models were evaluated by the area under the curve (AUC), using the omission error and the binomial probability. With the data generated by Maxent, distribution and envenomation risk maps were produced using the “ESRI® ArcGIS 10.2.2 for Desktop” software.
Results: The models had high predictive success (AUC >0.95±0.025). Altitude, slope and five bioclimatic attributes were found to play a significant role in determining Androctonus scorpion species distribution. Ecological niche models (ENMs) showed high concordance with the known distribution of the species. Produced risk map identified broad risk areas for Androctonus scorpion envenomation, extending along Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, Souss-Massa-Draa, and some areas of Doukkala-Abda and Oriental regions.
Conclusion: Considering these findings ENMs could be useful to afford important information on distributions of medically important scorpion species as well as producing scorpion envenomation risk maps.

El Hidan MA, Touloun O, Bouazza A, Laaradia MA, Boumezzough A. Androctonus genus species in arid regions: Ecological niche models, geographical distributions, and envenomation risk. Veterinary World. 2018;11(3):286-92. [Open Access]

Thanks to Carlos Turiel for informing me about this article!

08 March, 2018

A review on the scorpionism by the genus Hemiscorpius in Iran

The majority of the literature on scorpionism and medical important scorpions is focused on species on the family Buthidae. But many of the species in the family Hemiscorpiidae can also cause death or serious morbidity. Interestingly, the symptoms of Hemiscorpius Peters, 1861 envenomations are different from the traditional envenomations by buthids. E. g. a sting by the latter will immediately cause pain, while the sting of a Hemiscorpius is usually painless and the patient risk not knowing that a sting has occurred until more serious symptoms occur.

Rouhullah Dehghani and co-workers have now published an interesting review on the scorpionism by Hemiscorpius scorpions in Iran summing up the knowledge on envenomations from these potential dangerous species.

Scorpions are distributed throughout Iran and the genus Hemiscorpius is particularly important in this region. Hemiscorpius lepturus is the most significant species within the genus in the country. Since scorpionism provoked by Hemiscorpius comprises a medical emergency, the present study is focused on this important issue. In order to perform the present work, a review of the medical and health-related literature was carried out in several databases. The current findings indicate that six species of Hemiscorpius are found in 15 states of Iran, mainly in the south and southwest. Deaths caused by stings were reported only for two species. The morphological characteristics and geographical distribution of H. lepturus in Iran, its venom and the toxic compounds, epidemiologic data and clinical manifestations of envenomation as well as treatment for affected people are herein reviewed and described. H. lepturus venom toxicity differs from other Iranian scorpions regarding duration and severity. Scorpionism is an important public health problem in Iran, especially in southwest and south regions and in urban areas. It is more prevalent in children and young people. H. lepturus venom is primarily a cytotoxic agent and has hemolytic, nephrotoxic and to some extent hepatotoxic activity. The use of polyvalent antivenom to prevent scorpion sting symptoms is recommended. A well-planned health education program might be useful in preventing scorpionism.

Dehghani R, Kamiabi F, Mohammadi M. Scorpionism by Hemiscorpius spp. in Iran: a review. J Venom Anim Toxins Incl Trop Dis. 2018;24:8. [Open Access]

Family Hemiscorpiidae