Posts Tagged ‘North America’

The suborder Mygalomorphae is generally poorly represented in the cave faunas of the world. The genus Hemirrhagus is endemic to Mexico and has 22 described species. It is the only one with epigean, troglophile and troglobitic species. Lack of urticating setae, loss of eye pigmentation and ocular reduction are interpreted as evolutionary reversals related to their troglobitic habits. From five troglobitic species in the genus, only the male of Hemirrhagus stygius is known. Five new troglobitic species are described with both sexes: Hemirrhagus akheronteus sp. nov., Hemirrhagus billsteelei sp. nov., Hemirrhaugus diablo sp. nov., Hemirrhagus kalebi sp. nov. and Hemirrhagus sprousei sp. nov. The female of Hemirrhagus chilango is described for the first time. Hemirrhagus akheronteus sp. nov. has a group of spinose setae on the opisthosoma; this setal modification was never reported in any other theraphosid spiders. Females of Hemirrhagus kalebi sp. nov. and Hemirrhagus sprousei sp. nov. lay fixed hammock egg sacs, which is an unusual behavior among species in Theraphosinae. Two stridulating setae previously reported only in epigean species are present on some of the new troglobites.

Mendoza, J. I. & Francke, O. F. (2018). Five new cave-dwelling species of Hemirrhagus Simon 1903 (Araneae, Theraphosidae, Theraphosinae), with notes on the generic distribution and novel morphological features.

Zootaxa 4407(4): 451-482. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.4407.4.1.



Morphologically conserved taxa such as scorpions represent a challenge to delimit. We recently discovered populations of scorpions in the genus Kovarikia Soleglad, Fet & Graham, 2014 on two isolated mountain ranges in southern California. We generated genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism data and used Bayes factors species delimitation to compare alternative species delimitation scenarios which variously placed scorpions from the two localities with geographically adjacent species or into separate lineages. We also estimated a time-calibrated phylogeny of Kovarikia and examined and compared the morphology of preserved specimens from across its distribution. Genetic results strongly support the distinction of two new lineages, which we describe and name here. Morphology among the species of Kovarikia was relatively conserved, despite deep genetic divergences, consistent with recent studies of stenotopic scorpions with limited vagility. Phylogeographic structure discovered in several previously described species also suggests additional cryptic species are probably present in the genus.

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Systematic revision of the giant vinegaroons of the Mastigoproctus giganteus complex (Thelyphonida, Thelyphonidae) of North America. (Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, no. 418)



The North American vinegaroon, Mastigoproctus giganteus (Lucas, 1835), is demonstrated to comprise a complex of range-restricted species rather than a single widespread polymorphic species. Seven species are recognized based on morphological characters of the adult males, including the arrangement of spines on the prodorsal margin of the pedipalp trochanter, the position of the epistoma on the carapace, the presence of a stridulatory organ on opposing surfaces of the chelicerae and the pedipalp coxa, the presence of a patch of setae on sternite V, and the shape and macrosculpture of the retrolateral surface of the pedipalp femur. The two currently recognized subspecies are elevated to species: Mastigoproctus mexicanus (Butler, 1872), stat. nov., and Mastigoproctus scabrosus (Pocock, 1902), stat. nov. Mastigoproctus floridanus (Lönnberg, 1897) is revalidated from synonymy with M. giganteus. Redescriptions of M. giganteus and the other three species, based on both sexes, are provided, and three new species described: Mastigoproctus cinteotl, sp. nov., from Tamaulipas, Mexico; Mastigoproctus tohono, sp. nov., from Arizona and Sonora, Mexico; Mastigoproctus vandevenderi, sp. nov., from Sonora, Mexico. The present contribution raises the diversity of the Order Thelyphonida Latreille, 1804, in North America from one species to seven. Three species occur in the United States (one each in Arizona, Texas, and Florida), six species occur in Mexico, and two species occur in both countries.
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Genus Catalinia, gen. nov. (Scorpiones: Vaejovidae) is described from southern California, USA and Baja California, Mexico. The genus is composed of four species formerly placed inPseudouroctonusCatalinia minima (Kraepelin, 1911), comb. nov. (type species), C. andreas (Gertsch et Soleglad, 1972), comb. nov., C. castanea (Gertsch et Soleglad, 1972), comb. nov., and C. thompsoni, comb. nov. (Gertsch et Soleglad, 1972). Major diagnostic characters of Catalinia include a carapace with a very weak anterior indentation, a very stout metasoma with little or no tapering from segment I to V, and a mating plug with two partial bases. Evidence is presented suggesting that Catalinia is closely related to the “apacheanus” species group of Pseudouroctonus.


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Recent syntheses of phylogeographical data from terrestrial animals in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts have revealed a complex history of geologic and climatic vicariance events. We studied the phylogeography of Smeringurus vachoni to see how vicariance events may have impacted a large, endemic rock scorpion. Additionally, we used the phylogeographical data to examine the validity of two subspecies of S. vachoni that were described using unconventional morphological characters. Phylogenetic, network and SAMOVA analyses indicate that S. vachoni consists of 11 clades mostly endemic to isolated desert mountain ranges. Molecular clock estimates suggest that clades diversified between the Miocene and early Pleistocene. Species distribution models predict a contraction of suitable habitat during the last glacial maximum. Landscape interpolations and Migrate-n analyses highlight areas of gene flow across the Colorado River. Smeringurus vachoni does not comprise two subspecies. Instead, the species represents at least 11 mitochondrial clades that probably diversified by vicariance associated with Pleistocene climate changes and formation of ancient lakes along the Colorado River corridor. Gene flow appears to have occurred from west to east across the Colorado River during periodic river avulsions  Thanks to Matt for sending PDF.See at

Medical application in scorpion’s venom?A team of Mexican biotechnology researchers has identified a molecule in scorpion venom that could serve both as an aid in antibiotic delivery and as a bactericide disinfectant

Medical application in scorpion’s venom?


Diplocentrus duende n. sp. is described based on adult males collected from a locality in the Tehuacán–Cuicatlán Valley, Mexico. This species has punctate pedipalp surfaces, a condition present only in four other species of this specious genus. As suggested here, this condition has evolved independently in these species within the “mexicanus” group of Diplocentrus from the rest of the diplocentrids

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Mexican red-kneed tarantulas of the genus Brachypelma are regarded as some of the most desirable invertebrate pets, and although bred in captivity, they continue to be smuggled out of the wild in large numbers. Species are often difficult to identify based solely on morphology, therefore prompt and accurate identification is required for adequate protection. Thus, we explored the applicability of using COI-based DNA barcoding as a complementary identification tool. Brachypelma smithi (F. O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1897) and Brachypelma hamorii Tesmongt, Cleton & Verdez, 1997 are redescribed, and their morphological differences defined. Brachypelma annitha is proposed as a new synonym of B. smithi. The current distribution of red-kneed tarantulas shows that the Balsas River basin may act as a geographical barrier. Morphological and molecular evidence are concordant and together provide robust hypotheses for delimiting Mexican red-kneed tarantula species. DNA barcoding of these tarantulas is further shown to be useful for species-level identification and for potentially preventing black market trade in these spiders. As a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) listing does not protect habitat, or control wildlife management or human interactions with organisms, it is important to support environmental conservation activities to provide an alternative income for local communities and to avoid damage to wildlife populations.

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