Posts Tagged ‘taxonomy’


A new scorpion species is described from the Inyo Mountains of California (USA). The presence of a strong subaculear spine, along with other characters, places the new species withinWernerius, an incredibly rare genus that until now consisted of only two species. Werneriuinyoensis sp. n. can be most easily distinguished from the other members of the genus by smaller adult size, femur and pedipalp dimensions, and differences in hemispermatophore morphology. Previous studies have suggested that the elusive nature of this genus may be attributed to low densities and sporadic surface activity. Herein, we provide another hypothesis, that Wernerius are primarily subterranean. Mitochondrial sequence data are provided for the holotype.


A new species in the vorhiesi group of Vaejovis C.L. Koch, 1836 (Vaejovidae Thorell, 1876), which appears to be endemic to the Hualapai Mountains near Kingman, Arizona, is described and illustrated. Vaejovis tenuipalpus, n. sp., the 11th species in the vorhiesi group, is compared to morphologically similar species, including V. jonesi Stahnke, 1940, V. lapidicola Stahnke, 1940, V. vorhiesi Stahnke, 1940, and V. deboerae Ayrey, 2009. The new species possesses the most slender pedipalp chelae in the vorhiesi group. New distribution records and a comprehensive distribution map are provided for all Arizona members of the group.


A new scorpion species, Vaejovis halli sp. nov., is described. This relatively small, brown new species is found on Mount Ord in the Mazatzal Mountains along the Mogollon Rim of northern Arizona. The new species appears most similar to V. vorhiesi Stahnke and V. deboerae Ayrey. The most distinguishing characteristic of this new species is the number of inner denticles (ID) found on the pedipalp fingers with six on the movable finger and usually five on the fixed finger, which more closely correlates with Vaejovis species from the mountains of southern Arizona rather than those geographically closer in northern Arizona.



Multivariate analyses of morphological characters provide strong evidence that a highland Vaejovis from the Sierra de los Ajos, a Madrean ‘sky island’ in northern Sonora, Mexico, represents a distinct new species of the V. vorhiesi group. This new species is described and compared to other geographically adjacent species of the V. vorhiesi group, named
V. bandido, and brief notes on ecology are provided. Results from this study provide evidence that multivariate analysis of morphological characters is a powerful tool to delimit small and otherwise cryptic scorpion species.



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A new species of the vorhiesi group of Vaejovis C.L. Koch, 1836, Vaejovis brysoni sp. n., is described from the Santa Catalina Mountains in southern Arizona. Vaejovis deboerae Ayrey also inhabits this mountain range, making this the first documented case of two vorhiesi group species distributed on the same mountain. When compared to all other vorhiesi group species, Vaejovis brysoni sp. n. is distinct based on several combinations of morphological characters and morphometric ratios.


For over 50 years, only four species of montane scorpions in the specious genus Vaejoviswere known from the topographically complex states of Arizona, New Mexico and Sonora. That number has more than doubled over the past six years, with a total of 13 species now known (see Graham et al. 2012), all belonging to the Vaejovis vorhiesi group (Soleglad and Fet 2008). All 13 species have allopatric distributions in Arizona (Sissom et al. 2012), and no records of co-occurrence have been documented. Interestingly, however, several species are distributed across overlapping ecological communities. For example, Vaejovis jonesi Stahnke (1940) inhabits rocky juniper woodlands on the Colorado Plateau, and Vaejovis lapidicola Stahnke (1940) is distributed across pine-oak woodlands along the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau. These ecological communities overlap across the rim of the Mogollon Plateau, yet to date Vaejovisjonesi and Vaejovis lapidicola have not been found syntopically. Vaejovis deboerae Ayrey (2009)was recently described from the high pine-oak forests of the Santa Catalina Mountains in southern Arizona. The type series was collected at an elevation of 2142 m. Other records suggest that Vaejovis deboerae may range as high as 2800 m and as low as 1520 m (Sissom et al. 2012). This vertical distribution encompasses a gradient of ecological communities, ranging from cold pine forest on the high peaks of the Santa Catalina to drier juniper desert scrub in the lower canyons. Recent collecting in the Santa Catalina along the transition zone between desert grassland and pine-oak forest revealed a distinct second species of Vaejovis vorhiesi group scorpion. Here we describe this new species, which represents the first record of two vorhiesigroup species inhabiting the same mountain range.


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A new scorpion species is described from the Spring Mountain Range near Las Vegas, Nevada. The new species appears to be geographically isolated from other closely related species ofUroctonites Williams & Savaryand Pseudouroctonus Stahnke. We tentatively place the new species in Pseudouroctonus and provide detailed descriptions and illustrations of type material. We compare the new species to 17 congeneric taxa, briefly discuss the taxonomic history ofPseudouroctonus, and provide DNA barcodes for two paratypes to assist ongoing research on the systematics of family Vaejovidae.


Low dispersal potential and ecological specialization (stenotopy) are thought to make certain groups of scorpions predisposed to accelerated diversification (Prendini 2005; Bryson et al. 2013a). Scorpions restricted to highland ecosystems are particularly diverse, perhaps resulting from allopatric divergence on small spatial scales (microallopatry, see Fitzpatrick et al. 2008) facilitated by historical changes in geomorphology and climate regimes (Bryson et al. 2013a,2013b). Recently, this hypothesis has been repeatedly supported by the discovery of numerous new scorpion species from isolated mountain ecosystems, especially from the “sky islands” region of the North American aridlands (Graham 2007Ayrey 20092012Graham and Bryson 2010Ayrey and Soleglad 2011Hughes 2011Graham et al. 2012Sissom et al. 2012Ayrey and Webber 2013).

The Spring Mountain Range, located just outside of Las Vegas in southern Nevada, is among the most insular of the sky islands, reaching elevations more than 3, 400 m above the Mojave Desert lowlands. While conducting diurnal surveys for myriapods in the Spring Mountains, we serendipitously discovered yet another new scorpion that appears to be restricted to a sky island ecosystem. After numerous diurnal and nocturnal (using UV light; Stahnke 1972) surveys, we only managed to collect a total of five individuals from mixed pine-oak woodlands in Kyle Canyon, one of the most heavily visited regions in the Spring Mountains. Unfortunately, forest fires ravaged the type locality shortly after we collected the type series and surveys in other areas of the mountains were unsuccessful.

The new species is clearly a member of family Vaejovidae, and is most similar to generaPseudouroctonus and Uroctonites, both of which are stenotypic and contain species endemic to sky island ecosystems in southwestern North America. Interestingly, the Spring Mountains are situated in the middle of a substantial gap between the known distributions of these two genera (Fig. 1), so the new species could prove to be a missing link in our understanding of the biogeography of this group (Bryson et al. 2013a) and the southwestern sky islands. Herein, we tentatively place the new species in Pseudouroctonus, although we predict that the genus is polyphyletic and in need of a thorough systematic revision.

Since the population at the type locality may have been extirpated during recent fires, we provide DNA barcodes (COI) for two specimens (paratypes) to assist colleagues in their ongoing research on the biogeography and systematics of family Vaejovidae. Given that the species went undetected for so long despite occurring in a populated region near one of the most visited cities in the world, we suspect that similar new species may still await discovery in the more remote and less-explored sky islands of southern Nevada and California.

Brief taxonomic history. Of the 22 species and subspecies currently comprising generaPseudouroctonus and Uroctonites (including the new species described herein), sixteen were described by Gertsch and Soleglad (1972). At that time, twelve of these species were placed in genus Uroctonus (now in family Chactidae) and the other four in genus VaejovisStahnke (1974)moved most of the species placed in Uroctonus into genus Vaejovis and created the new genusPseudouroctonus solely for Pseudouroctonus reddelliStockwell (1992) reversed most of Stahnke’s taxonomic acts by moving the species Stahnke placed in Vaejovis intoPseudouroctonus. In their important paper, Williams and Savary (1991) defined the new genusUroctonites comprised of a new species, Uroctonites giulianii, and three Pseudouroctonus species originally defined by Gertsch and Soleglad (1972). Finally, four other species have now been placed in PseudouroctonusPseudouroctonus minimus minimus (Kraepelin, 1911),Pseudouroctonus glimmei Hjelle, 1972, Pseudouroctonus sprousei Francke & Savary, 2006, andPseudouroctonus saavasi Francke (2009). See Soleglad and Fet (2003: 103–104) for a more detailed discussion on the taxonomic history of these interesting scorpions.


The scorpion genus Diplocentrus Peters, 1861, comprising more than 50 species, most of

The scorpion genus Diplocentrus Peters, 1861, comprising more than 50 species, most of which are endemic to Mexico, is the most diverse in the family Diplocentridae Karsch, 1880 (Santibáñez-López et al., 2011). Hoffmann (1931) divided the Mexican species into two groups, the whitei group and the keyserlingi group, based largely on differences in size and coloration. Francke (1977) redefined these groups. The whitei group, renamed the mexicanus group because it included the type species of the genus, comprised species with short cheliceral fingers and the pedipalp femur wider than high. The keyserlingii group comprised species with long cheliceral fingers and the pedipalp femur higher than wide. Several new species of Diplocentrus were since described, but no attempt was made to synthesize the taxonomy of the species assigned to either group or further clarify the validity of the groups. In the present contribution, the species of Diplocentrus with the pedipalp femur higher than wide are reviewed. An operational diagnosis is provided for the keyserlingii group. Diplocentrus formosus Armas and Martín-Frías, 2003, previously synonymized with Diplocentrus tehuano Francke, 1977, is reinstated. Revised, updated diagnoses are provided for all previously described species and three new species, Diplocentrus kraepelini, n. sp., Diplocentrus sagittipalpus, n. sp., and Diplocentrus sissomi, n. sp., are described. The female of Diplocentrus mitlae Francke, 1977, is described for the first time. A dichotomous key is provided for identification of the 10 species in the keyserlingii group.


New book released in July 2010:
Texts and photos : Roland STOCKMANN & Éric YTHIER
Foreword by Victor FET
© 2010
Updated: 09.27.10

I received an email (04.21.10) with photos for confirmation of species from Matt L. in Alb. NM.  We confirmed his pictures to Centruroides sculpturatus (gertschi form) from Sierra County, New Mexico.    We compared the various characters between Centruroides sculpturatus and Centruroides vittatus.

Matt was gracious to allow his pictures on the blog.

Recently(09.26.10), Matt sent sent some comparison photos of the sexes and species. Can you guess which species is which? Comments are welcome.


Description of site:  Provides a scorpion species list, desert biology, zoogeography, systematics, publications, habitat photos and specimen images.

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