Friday 9 August 2013

A new species of Scorpion from Ecuador.

Scorpions are distinctive predatory Arachnids, with an instantly recognizable bodyform. They have eight walking legs plus a pair of grasping claws and a long, flexible tail ending in a venomous stinger; some species are capable of killing a human being with their sting, though the majority are comparatively harmless. They are found on every continent, though many islands, including the British Isles and New Zealand, do not have natural populations of Scorpions (though introduced Scorpions, escaped from the pet trade, are becoming more common in these places). The fossil record of Scorpions dates back to the Silurian, 430 million years ago.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 5 June 2013, Wilson Lourenço of the Département Systématique et Evolution at the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle in Paris and Eric Ythier of SynTech Research describe a new species of Scorpion from Pichincha Province in the Ecuadorian Andes. 

The new species is placed in the genus Tityus and given the specific name crassicauda, which refers to the enlarged segments of its tail. Tityus crassicauda is a medium sized Scorpio, 50-52 mm in length. It is reddish brown in colour with darker areas, and has thicker, flatter tail segments than related species.

Tityus crassicauda, male specimen. Lourenço & Ythier (2013).

Vegetation in the area of the Andes where Tityus crassicauda was found living. Lourenço & Ythier (2013).

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