Archive for the ‘Scorpions from the Chihuahuan Desert Region’ Category

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Scorpions are among the oldest terrestrial arthropods, which are distributed worldwide, except for Antarctica and some Pacific islands. Scorpion envenomation represents a public health problem in several parts of the world. Mexico harbors the highest diversity of scorpions in the world, including some of the world’s medically important scorpion species. The systematics and diversity of Mexican scorpion fauna has not been revised in the past decade; and due to recent and exhaustive collection efforts as part of different ongoing major revisionary systematic projects, our understanding of this diversity has changed compared with previous assessments. Given the presence of several medically important scorpion species, the study of their venom in the country is also important. In the present contribution, the diversity of scorpion species in Mexico is revised and updated based on several new systematic contributions; 281 different species are recorded. Commentaries on recent venomic, ecological and behavioral studies of Mexican scorpions are also provided. A list containing the most important peptides identified from 16 different species is included. A graphical representation of the different types of components found in these venoms is also revised. A map with hotspots showing the current knowledge on scorpion distribution and areas explored in Mexico is also provided.

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A new species of Vaejovis is described from the Mexican state of Aguascalientes. It is assigned to the “mexicanus” group and compared with similar species from Jalisco, Guanajuato, and San Luis Potosí. A map with their known distributions is provided.




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..

Edit note with format issues…Thanks and will try to correct.



The first rigorous analysis of the phylogeny of the North American vaejovid scorpion subfamily Syntropinae is presented. The analysis is based on 250 morphological characters and 4221 aligned DNA nucleotides from three mitochondrial and two nuclear gene markers, for 145 terminal taxa, representing 47 species in 11 ingroup genera, and 15 species in eight outgroup genera. The monophyly and composition of Syntropinae and its component genera, as proposed by Soleglad and Fet, are tested. The following taxa are demonstrated to be para- or polyphyletic: Smeringurinae; Syntropinae; Vaejovinae; Stahnkeini; Syntropini; Syntropina; Thorelliina; Hoffmannius; Kochius; and Thorellius. The spinose (hooked or toothed) margin of the distal barb of the sclerotized hemi-mating plug is demonstrated to be a unique, unambiguous synapomorphy for Syntropinae, uniting taxa previously assigned to different subfamilies. Results of the analysis demonstrate a novel phylogenetic relationship for the subfamily, comprising six major clades and 11 genera, justify the establishment of six new genera, and they offer new insights about the systematics and historical biogeography of the subfamily, and the information content of morphological character systems.

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Thanks to the Scorpion Files posting the news.  Its been a long time coming to see the results from the Scorpion Lab at AMNH.


The endemic North American vaejovid scorpion subfamily Syntropinae Kraepelin, 1905, is redefined and its component genera revised, based on a simultaneous phylogenetic analysis of 250 morphological characters and 4221 aligned DNA nucleotides from three mitochondrial and two nuclear gene markers. Tribe Stahnkeini Soleglad and Fet, 2006, is removed from Syntropinae. Tribe Paravaejovini Soleglad and Fet, 2008, and subtribe Thorelliina Soleglad and Fet, 2008, are abolished: Paravaejovini Soleglad and Fet, 2008 = Syntropinae Kraepelin, 1905, syn. nov.; Thorelliina Soleglad and Fet, 2008 = Syntropinae Kraepelin, 1905, syn. nov. Eleven genera, six newly described, are recognized within Syntropinae: Balsateres, gen. nov.; Chihuahuanus, gen. nov.; Kochius Soleglad and Fet, 2008; Konetontli, gen. nov.; Kuarapu Francke and Ponce-Saavedra, 2010; Maaykuyak, gen. nov.; Mesomexovis, gen. nov.; Paravaejovis Williams, 1980; Syntropis Kraepelin, 1900; Thorellius Soleglad and Fet, 2008; Vizcaino, gen. nov. Hoffmannius Soleglad and Fet, 2008, is abolished: Hoffmannius Soleglad and Fet, 2008 = Paravaejovis Williams, 1980, syn. nov. Lissovaejovis Ponce-Saavedra and Beutelspacher, 2001 [nomen nudum] = Paravaejovis Williams, 1980, syn. nov. Ten species, formerly placed in Hoffmannius, are transferred to Paravaejovis: Paravaejovis confusus (Stahnke, 1940), comb. nov.; Paravaejovis diazi (Williams, 1970), comb. nov.; Paravaejovis eusthenura (Wood, 1863), comb. nov.; Paravaejovis flavus (Banks, 1900), comb. nov. [nomen dubium]; Paravaejovis galbus (Williams, 1970), comb. nov.; Paravaejovis gravicaudus (Williams, 1970), comb. nov.; Paravaejovis hoffmanni (Williams, 1970), comb. nov.; Paravaejovis puritanus (Gertsch, 1958), comb. nov.; Paravaejovis spinigerus (Wood, 1863), comb. nov.; Paravaejovis waeringi (Williams, 1970), comb. nov. Paravaejovis schwenkmeyeri (Williams, 1970), comb. nov., is removed from synonymy. Four species, formerly placed in Kochius, are transferred to Chihuahuanus, gen. nov.: Chihuahuanus cazieri (Williams, 1968), comb. nov.; Chihuahuanus crassimanus (Pocock, 1898), comb. nov.; Chihuahuanus kovariki (Soleglad and Fet, 2008), comb. nov.; Chihuahuanus russelli (Williams, 1971), comb. nov. Four species, formerly placed in Kochius, Thorellius, or Vaejovis C.L. Koch, 1836, are transferred to Mesomexovis, gen. nov.: Mesomexovis atenango (Francke and González-Santillán, 2007), comb. nov.; Mesomexovis oaxaca (Santibáñez-López and Sissom, 2010), comb. nov.; Mesomexovis occidentalis (Hoffmann, 1931), comb. nov.; Mesomexovis subcristatus (Pocock, 1898), comb. nov. Mesomexovis variegatus (Pocock, 1898), comb. nov., is reinstated to its original rank as species. Four subspecies are newly elevated to species: Kochius barbatus (Williams, 1971), stat. nov.; Kochius cerralvensis (Williams, 1971), stat. nov.; Kochius villosus (Williams, 1971), stat. nov.; Mesomexovis spadix (Hoffmann, 1931), comb. et stat. nov. Three subspecies are synonymized: Vaejovis diazi transmontanus Williams, 1970 = Paravaejovis diazi (Williams, 1970), syn. nov.; Vaejovis bruneus loretoensis Williams, 1971 = Kochius villosus (Williams, 1971), syn. nov.; Vaejovis hoffmanni fuscus Williams, 1970 = Paravaejovis hoffmanni (Williams, 1970), syn. nov




Citation:  Bryson RW Jr, Riddle BR, Graham MR, Smith BT, Prendini L (2013) As Old as the Hills: Montane Scorpions in Southwestern North America Reveal Ancient Associations between Biotic Diversification and Landscape History.


The age of lineages has become a fundamental datum in studies exploring the interaction between geological transformation and biotic diversification. However, phylogeographical studies are often biased towards lineages that are younger than the geological features of the landscapes they inhabit. A temporally deeper historical biogeography framework may be required to address episodes of biotic diversification associated with geologically older landscape changes. Signatures of such associations may be retained in the genomes of ecologically specialized (stenotopic) taxa with limited vagility. In the study presented here, genetic data from montane scorpions in the Vaejovis vorhiesi group, restricted to humid rocky habitats in mountains across southwestern North America, were used to explore the relationship between scorpion diversification and regional geological history.


Strong phylogeographical signal was evident within the vorhiesi group, with 27 geographically cohesive lineages inferred from a mitochondrial phylogeny. A time-calibrated multilocus species tree revealed a pattern of Miocene and Pliocene (the Neogene period) lineage diversification. An estimated 21 out of 26 cladogenetic events probably occurred prior to the onset of the Pleistocene, 2.6 million years ago. The best-fit density-dependent model suggested diversification rate in the vorhiesi group gradually decreased through time.


Scorpions of the vorhiesi group have had a long history in the highlands of southwestern North America. Diversification among these stenotopic scorpions appears to have occurred almost entirely within the Neogene period, and is temporally consistent with the dynamic geological history of the Basin and Range, and Colorado Plateau physiographical provinces. The persistence of separate lineages at small spatial scales suggests that a combination of ecological stenotopy and limited vagility may make these scorpions particularly valuable indicators of geomorphological evolution.journal.pone.0052822.g001



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