Saturday 22 September 2012

Two new species of Pseudoscorpion from China.

Pseudoscorpions, or False Scorpions, are small carnivorous Arachnids resembling Scorpions without the stinging tail. Most species are between two and eight millimeters in length, although the largest can reach 12 mm. The fossil record of Peudoscorpions reaches back 380 million years, to the Late Devonian, when animals essentially similar to the modern forms are preserved.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 1 August 2012, Junfang Hu and Feng Zhang of the College of Life Sciences at Hebei University describe two new species of Pseudoscorpions in the genus Stenohya, (a small genus of Pseudoscorpions from east Asia) from China.

The first new species is named Stenohya pengae, in honour of Ms Yan-qiu Peng, who collected the samples from which the species is described. Mrs Peng collected 18 adult male and 25 adult female specimens, from the leaves of Chinquapin trees in the Damingshan National Nature Reserve, in the heavily forested Daming Mountains in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, at an altitude of 1250 m.

Stenohya pengae is a dark brown Pseudoscorpion with reddish legs and claws. The females are larger than the males, between 3.9 and 5.0 mm in length, compared to 3.3-3.6 mm for the males.

Stenohya pengae, adult male. Hu & Zhang (2012).

Hu & Zhang also examined Pseudoscorpions collected by Fusheng Huang from Gushan Mountain in  Fujian Province in 1975, from which they identified one (female) specimen as not belonging to any previously described species. This specimen is formally described as Stenohya huangi, named after the collector. This is a yellow Pseudoscorpion 4.2 mm in length. 

Stenohya huangi, adult female. Hu & Zhang (2012).

Map showing the known distributions of members of the genus Stenohya in China. Hu & Zhang (2012).

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