Archive for December, 2014



The scorpion genus Alacran Francke, 1982, endemic to eastern Mexico, was created to accommodate Alacran tartarusFrancke, 1982. This remarkable troglobiotic species is adapted for life in some of the world’s deepest caves, 720–916 m below the surface in the Sistema Huautla of the state of Oaxaca (the deepest records at which a scorpion has been found). A second species, Alacran chamuco Francke, 2009, was later described from Te Cimutaá, also in Oaxaca. In the present contribution, we describe a third species, Alacran triquimera, sp. nov., recently discovered in a cave system in the state of Puebla, and test the monophyly and internal relationships of Alacran, based on a cladistic analysis of 10 terminal taxa (including seven species representing all four genera of Typhlochactidae) and 151 informative morphological characters, building on a previously published matrix. The single most parsimonious tree obtained, supports the monophyly of Alacran and the following relationships among its component species: (A. chamuco (A. tartarus + A. triquimera, sp. nov.)). The phylogenetic relationships among the three species of Alacran are consistent with the biogeographical history of the caves they inhabit. Based on the geological history of the Sierra Madre del Sur and the likely similar speleogenesis of the Tres Quimeras, Sistema Huautla and Te Cimutaá caves, we propose a vicariance hypothesis to account for the disjunct distribution of the three species of Alacran, whereby an initially more widespread, panmictic ancestral population speciated into three geographically isolated taxa following fragmentation of the southern Sierra Madre del Sur.

Source from the Scorpion Files and CSIRO Publishing.  See URL at

The scorpion genus Diplocentrus Peters, 1861, endemic to North and Central America, is the most diverse in family Diplocentridae
Karsch, 1880. There is considerable morphological variation among the species of Diplocentrus. It is necessary to test the monophyly and
phylogenetic position of Diplocentrus in order to revise its diagnosis and taxonomic limits. The present contribution provides a phylogenetic
analysis of 29 species of Diplocentrus, five exemplar species representing the three putatively most closely related diplocentrid genera,
and an exemplar of a more distantly related diplocentrid genus. The analysis was based on 95 morphological characters and 4202 aligned
nucleotides from DNA sequences of five markers in the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes. Separate and simultaneous parsimony analyses
of the morphological and DNA sequence data were conducted with equal weighting and six implied weighting regimes. The nuclear
and mitochondrial DNA datasets were also analyzed separately and simultaneously with Bayesian inference. The resulting topologies
recovered the monophyly of Diplocentrus, with the exception of two neobothriotaxic species from central Mexico, for which a new genus
Kolotl Santibáñez-López et al., 2014, is justified. The keyserlingii group, as previously defined, was not monophyletic due to the placement
of two species in the mexicanus group; the rest of its component species were monophyletic, however. A third clade was recovered that has
not been previously recognized: the zacatecanus group, comprising four species from northern Mexico and the southwestern U.S.A. New
insights are provided concerning relationships among Diplocentrus and the diplocentrid genera Bioculus Stahnke, 1968 and Didymocentrus
Kraepelin, 1905, the phylogenetic positions of which were previously ambiguous..

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